Welcome to the 16th Erase Racism Carnival!
Angry Black Woman: Ask the Angry Black Woman!
ABW invites her readership to ask her anything about racism, and they do, in a comment thread that’s long and fascinating enough so you might want to pour yourself a cup of coffee before you sit down to read it. What’s even more impressive than the variety of questions asked is how perceptive and well-put the answers are.
Feline Formal Shorts: Race Relations 101
Not just one post but a whole series of posts, explaining the basics. The above link leads to the whole series so far, which (so far) includes “What Can I Do?,” “Let’s Start With Hair,” “Colorblindness,” and “What If I Screw Up?” This should all be required reading for well-meaning white folks who want to be anti-racist allies (uh, that is to say, me).
C.N. Le: The Downside of Diversity
The blogger, a sociology professor, discusses how progressives should react to a recent study which found that the most diverse communities in the US are also the most suspicious and least public-spirited communities. As is often the case, Audre Lourde points the way.
(And while we’re reading C.N. Le on the subject of diversity, read this post about an interesting multicultural college program that is successfully increasing graduation rates, especially among minority students.)
…and so the white Leftists who think they are down because they have got the courage to lamentably declare, “We’ve got White Privilege,” it would be more accurate and truthful to say instead, “We are beneficiaries of racism,” or “We participate in a racialized system of oppression.”
And when you’re done reading the above post, you may also want to read this related post at Black Looks.
Too Sense: Pipes Dreams
This post discusses some of the ugly anti-Arab racism revealed in the objections to a new “Arabic-language and culture school being opened in Brooklyn.” Daniel Pipes, predictably, is among the Arab-bashers.
would not let Raed Jarrar board his flight at John F. Kennedy Airport until he agreed to cover his t-shirt, which read “We Will Not Be Silent” in English and Arabic script. According to the complaint, Harris told Jarrar that it is impermissible to wear an Arabic shirt to an airport and equated it to a “person wearing a t-shirt at a bank stating, ‘I am a robber.’ “
1 is A, 2 is B: The English Beat
Interesting discussion of a now-obscure Brit ska band, and how racial politics interacted with the skinhead and ska scene at that point in history.
Anti Racist Parent: Ten “Do”s And “Don’t”s For Transracially Adoptive Parents
You know, this may be the only really great blog post I’ve ever read that begins by praising the TV show “Different Strokes.”
Jessie The K: Disability Rights Critique Of “Colorblindness” As A Saying
I can’t believe that in all the countless times I’ve objected to the “colorblind” ideology, this take on it has never once occurred to me.
The entire process of eliminating what makes the story sacred is what makes Haley’s version a desecration. Two Bad Boys is the cultural equivalent of retelling the Easter Story and leaving out the crucifixion. It’s that insensitive.
All About Race: “Glamour” editor “decides that natural black hair has no place in America’s” corporate offices.
More criticism of the “Glamour” editor’s comments:
I am old enough to have experienced the “pleasure” of the thermal hot comb — you rested it over the gas flame of the stove to heat it up. Then the pressing oil was carefully applied to your hair and that comb sizzled through the kinks till it was bone straight, hissing as you prayed the comb didn’t touch your scalp. This is what black women did to emulate straight hair.
Part of the reason we don’t call our groups white is that we don’t even realize that these groups are catering to us. Part of being white means not having to think about whiteness and the opportunities it grants. In fact, even thinking about whiteness makes many of whites uncomfortable, which is why the reaction to BET is so strong.
La Tertulia: Xenoglossophobia (fear of foreign languages)
After a friend was “chided at her own son’s birth party for speaking to him in Spanish,” the blogger put out a call for similar stories. After reading this post, all I can say is: Oy, there are a lot of xenoglossophobic jerks out there.
Angry Black Woman: Preview of Interview With Novelist David Anthony Durham
Anti-racist fans of the fantasy genre will be really damn eager to read Durham’s new novel after reading this post. Anyway, I am.
ImmigrationProf Blog: Immigration Raids Will Not Be Scaled Back For 2010 Census
This is a switch from past policy, and is almost certain to lead to an undercounting of immigrants, many of whom are people of color.
On the other hand, I can’t shake the feeling that only white people don’t see color because well, they don’t have to. When you’re the majority and part of the race that dictates what’s “normal”, race isn’t much of an issue to you personally. That’s not to say that I’ve lived my life solely through the lens of being Hispanic (because let’s face it: in Miami, I’m in the majority and it’s white Anglos who are minorities), but I am well aware that, outside of South Florida, in person, that is what jumps out first, and that is what “marks” me, far and above anything else.
How does this translate in a medium like the Internet?
AngryBlackBitch: The Vick Investigation, Dog Fighting, And The Loss of a Teachable Moment
A Bitch, speaking as a mentor for black youth, criticizes the knee-jerk defenses of Vick that she’s seen from some civil rights workers.
At the risk of bringing on an inundation of hate mail and hate comments, I must say what I feel: Don’t Do It. Don’t relax your daughter’s hair. Please, please, please, for the love of follicles, Just Don’t Do It.
…It is not right to have an entire class of people allowed in, brought in, to work without the right to stand up for proper working conditions. I know it is not right for Americans to pretend not to care about a person’s immigration status when that person is working for less than minimum wage in sometimes deplorable conditions to produce cheap food. And I don’t buy the argument that “you’re here illegally so I as a citizen can avert my eyes and turn my back when you fall prey to gangs or abusive employers.” No. I am my brother’s keeper, period.
All About Race: The Racial Reset Button
Carmen D. issues a challenge to those who want to “move on” past racial issues.
Recently, I’ve been asked both directly and in roundabout ways, “When do we get to press the racial reset button?” The people who’ve asked this question seem to feel tired of dealing with racial issues and in particular are frustrated by the level of “black anger” they encounter. [...] I think it’s a fair question and one that I’ve been thinking about for some time. And I have come to the conclusion that I, too, would like to hit the “racial reset button.”
Based on two years’ observation at a Texas middle school, the Ohio University study found that teachers’ class-and-race-based assumptions of black femininity made them more likely to discourage behaviors and characteristics that lead to class involvement and educational success.
Marketing Whore: Some Interesting African-American Media History
Marketing Whore provides links to “A 1963 interview with Leonard Evans, founder of 1953′s the National Negro Network, titled ‘Why Do We Need a Negro Sunday Supplement?’”
Zuky: Angry Asian Gathering
A really interesting analysis of where Kai thinks anti-racism activism (particularly in the Asian-American community) should be going, using a recent panel discussion as a bouncing-off point. Here’s a sample, but Kai covers a lot of ground, so I hope you’ll click through and read the whole thing:
I think that outrage and protest occupy an important place within media activism, especially when your community is more or less shut out from most all other avenues of expression in mainstream culture, marginalized, mocked, disrespected, and misrepresented in the popular imagination. But I think that outrage and protest gain even more power when they occur within an overarching media movement that incorporates the additional elements and dimensions that I’ve mentioned. For example, it seems to me that a major reason Beau Sia’s open letter got through to O’Donnell and elicited an apology is that it was an act of positive cultural production, an act of artistry and humanism, not a narrowly-conceived ideological condemnation.
Rachel’s Tavern: Researching Race
Rachel discusses how academic methodology and academic culture effect the study of race and racism.
Interesting story in TIME on the large number of South Asian-owned hotels that have popped up along America’s historic Route 66: No-Tell Motels. Members of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association now own 37% of the U.S. hotel industry. Unfortunately, the trend has prompted a xenophobic, racist response from competitors, with AMERICAN OWNED signs popping up outside motels around the country. Let me translate that for you… what they mean to say is, “NOT IMMIGRANT OWNED” … or dare I say it, “WHITE OWNED.”
And then head over to Resist Racism and read a very similar post about covert racism in the dry cleaning industry.
Vox Ex Machina: Nobel Peace Prize Winner Mistaken For Beggar, Thrown Out Of Hotel
Vox writes, “This is why arguments like ‘Pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ are kind of counterproductive in the face of racism. Even when people have the right combination of determination, luck and ability and actually manage it, they can still get screwed by racism.”
Black Amazon: The Devil’s Curly Hair
There’s no way I can sum up this post: It’s too complex and multilayered. And there’s no way I can leave it out of this Carnival, because it’s too good and too interesting. It’s about sex, and more specifically about the intersection of race, sexuality, sexism, the pressures to be chaste and the pressures to NOT be chaste, and it’s named after a line from The Simpsons Movie. If that’s not enough to get you to go read it…
It’s true that there is simply no way the Democratic Party is likely to lose Black and Latino votes to the Republicans any time soon. Also, many good arguments have been put forward in the netroots about the inherent problems of single-issue advocacy. Yet it weakens the progressive electoral coalition if allies in minority communities feel like they’re the only ones who care about topics like these, the only ones who will talk about the rank injustice going on under the sanction of law, because they lose capacity to be able to engage on other topics. It’s also crucial to think long term about strengthening ties for the benefit of the next generations of progressives, to make sure that the racial disconnect and all its attendant resentments won’t be kicked down the line, like the bill for Bush’s tax cuts.
The above quote is just a sample; there’s some good analysis there. I also liked this, from the comments: “We go nowhere if we think the white male middle class demographic can be the core of progressive politics.”
Growing up, I tried to ignore such racially charged, derogatory comments, but on occasion I realized some people were just a product of their environment. And sometimes, I would get to know these people and eventually, befriend them. It wasn’t that I necessarily wanted them as friends. It was more selfish; I needed to know that people weren’t inherently cruel and callous and that they could change their attitude.
Daisy’s Dead Air: Medical Apartheid
Daisy provides an overview of some of the work of Harriet Washington, who has researched the history of medical abuse of African-Americans, from slavery to recent times. Daisy argues that this is one major reason many African-Americans “are tremendously skeptical of the medical establishment.”
(Reappropriate is offline right now, but I’m including this link anyway, since with luck it’ll come back online soon. Meanwhile, here’s a quote:)
A lesser publicized but equally weighty concern over this film, however, is its prominent use of yellowface for Rob Schneider’s (surprisingly) uncredited role as the minister who weds Chuck and Larry. [...] Bearing a stereotypical mushroom cut, bucked teeth, jaundiced skin, and glasses reminscent of Mickey Rooney’s Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Schneider plays up the ‘r/l’ slurs and stilted “Chingrish” typically used to mock recent Asian immigrants.
Lindsay Lohan avoids felony charges, and any serious jail time, in part because the judge took into account her unstable upbringing. This makes total sense, since all the blacks and Latinos flooding our prison system had such wonderful home-lives.
Slant Truth: Please Stop Playing The “Free Speech” Card!
Because being criticized is not a violation of your free speech rights.
Too bad social progress isn’t actually made by big dance numbers. That would be a lot more fun than court cases and hashing things out with people you disagree with.
Oh hold on to your pants white folks! They’ll be jihadis running rampant in New York city and in our public schools!! Oh sweet Jesus! Imagine it! These Arab and non-Arab children actually learning about another (or their own) culture! And learning another language besides English! Another language besides English! Oh the humanity!
Sepia Mutiny: Mo’ Harold and Kumar
Okay, maybe this really isn’t one of the best posts I’ve read this month, but I just loved that movie (despite the sexism) and finding out there’ll be a sequel made me happy.
I hope I can be forgiven for linking to a couple of posts that have appeared on “Alas” in the last month.
One reason whites aren’t cool, hip or trendy is that we are always in style. Cool whiteness is usually coded as the All American or Preppy style and it is epitomized by thin white people with blond hair and blue eyes. Perhaps hyperwhiteness, whatever that is, is not cool. I have heard people on occasion pejoratively say–”That’s so white.” But what is most striking to me is that in American culture there are always white celebrities and pop culture icons who get to define the trends. There are a few token blacks, Latinos, and Asians as pop culture makers, but whiteness always gets a place at the cool kids table.
Alas, A Blog: White Lies
This political cartoon by me is, I think, better than most of my cartoons.
A word about the pictures: The paintings illustrating this Erase Racism festival are from artist Robert Shetterly’s series Americans Who Tell The Truth. Clicking on each image will bring you to a page with a larger version of the image, as well as some biographical information about the person depicted. Curtsy: All About Race.
Thanks for reading this far! I hope you enjoyed this edition of the Erase Racism Carnival, and that you may have even discovered a couple of bloggers you hadn’t previously been aware of.
Thanks to everyone who sent in submissions and suggestions; thanks to the “Erase Racism” organizers and the 15 previous hosts, who have provided me with so much reading for nearly a year and a half now; and mostly, thanks to all the bloggers who continue to write in opposition to racism.
(Edited to add: Not counting the many posts that have been lost to various causes over the years, this is post number 3,000 to appear on “Alas, a Blog.” Just thought I’d mention.)