Tag Archives: race

RACE: Are We So Different? (A Homework Assignment)

RACE Are We So Do Different?With MLK Day quickly approaching, I’m hoping you’ll be motivated to take a few minutes of your year and consider spending some time thinking about our nations history and our current society as it relates to race. The American Anthropological Association has put together a really neat website, Understanding Race, that creatively addresses the issue of race. It’s a great learning experience to spend a half hour browsing the site.
It’s Sunday, and unfortunately most of us tend to see MLK Day as just another day off of school or work. I wish it came with the same anticipation as Christmas or even Halloween. So, take a few minutes after my short post, and take a look at the website, Understanding Race.

(ht. Racialicious)

let’s talk about race

From Reappropriate:

[referring to argument’s that say if someone didn’t intended to be racist, then it is not racist]
These types of responses emphasize the majority-centric view that most people have towards racism. When intent reigns supreme, then the problem with racism is not about the victim of the racist action, but the perpetrator and their intent. This outlook on racism only benefits the oppressor, who no longer has to consider the victims of his oppression. Not surprisingly, it is the same people who belong to the majority who perpetuate this self-interested treatment of racism.

Racism does not occur in a bubble, but exists as an ongoing history of racism in America. When Michael Richards made his “fork up the ass” joke at the Laugh Factory, the racism was not that Richards actually wanted to find a Black person and stick a fork up his ass, but because this paralleled a racist American history that included numerous instances of popularized lynchings. The fork metaphor (i.e., equating a Black person with a food item) futher referenced the characterization of lynchings as Bar-B-Q’s.

Similarly, Rosie O’Donnell’s use of “ching-chong”-ery occurred amidst a history of oppression against Asian Americans and Chinese Americans in this country, which had already included use of “ching chong” as a form of degrading and dehumanizing Chinese people.

You should definitly read the rest of this blog post at Reappropriate.

I do think we do make too big a deal of situation’s like Rosie and Michael Richard’s making insane and racist statements. Let me be clear, I believe these issues and situations are big deals and need to be addressed. I’m also grateful in an odd way, for such big celebrities to do such racist things, because unfortunately, it seems like that’s the only way most common folk end up talking about these things.

So, I think we need to make less a deal of racist comments by celebrities, and start making a big deal of the comments, jokes, and structural injustices around us that discriminate on race or gender.

Video Links (Warning, many use inappropriate and racist language):

Why I would have voted for Ford

Let me start by saying briefly that I did not vote for Ford or Corker in the Tennessee Senate race. I think the bi-partisan government is horrible for the people of this country and given the opportunity I’ve decided not to vote for Republicans or Democrats.

I don’t watch TV so I didn’t see much of the smear campaign that occured back and forth between Ford and Corker before the election. From what I’ve heard though, both the gentleman seem like pretty poor candidates. But if I had to choose between the two, I would have voted Ford. And here’s why: Because he is black.*

“But, what if he’s not as good of a candidate? Race shouldn’t matter anymore! Isn’t that reverse discrimination?”
Those are just some of the things you might be thinking in response, and you might be right (I haven’t totally settled my mind on this).
The reality is media, I’m beginning to realize, is ten times more powerful then our government and senators. The reality is that even if Ford wasn’t the best candidate, A hundred more young black youth will rise up behind him with aspirations to be a senator. One reason I believe there are so many great athelete’s of color, is that sports was one of the first places young children saw heroes that looked like them.
With Nancy Pelosi becoming the first female speaker of the house, thousands more young girls will grow up with aspirations to be politicians, and they’ll be darn good ones too.

If 2008 brings us a President that is not a white male, I think it will be one of the best steps in our history. And if they don’t do the best job in the whole world (can you do much worse?), so what? The impact it would have on the youth of this country would change our world. I truly believe that.

*Harold Ford, Jr. is actually mixed race, but for the purposes of this discussion, I’m going with the word that most people, including the youth that I am concerned about will describe him as: black.

Do you recognize this man?

Do you recognize this man?

You probably don’t, and that’s a good thing. You see if you do recognize him, your recognizing a doctored image of him, Harold Ford Jr., a Congressman in Tennessee. The photo above is one that was sent Republican Party to dissuade folks from voting for him. The problem with the photo is this:

doctored up

The photo on the left is a real photo of Ford, the photo in the middle has the color removed, and the photo on the right is the one the Republican Party used in their letter.

I don’t need to go into the ramifications of the motivation behind this. There are still some inherent problems in the south, still some deep racism ingrained in many here in Tennessee.

River City Mud Bugle » TN GOP Uses Doctored Ford Photo for Fundraising Drive

But when they bring in race, what they’re saying is it doesn’t matter whether Ford is better or not. Don’t vote for him because of his race, which goes against everything that Americans have been taught.

KnoxNews: Election

“They have darkened Harold Ford’s image to make a racist statement,” Tuke said after reviewing the mailing. “It’s obviously altered.”

Tuke and Jerry Maynard, who is black and the deputy director of the state Democratic Party, said the text of Davis’ letter also contains “code word” references to race.

What are your thoughts?

I am African: Is it accomplishing it’s goals or just offensive?

I heard about and read some commentary concerning a recent ad campaign I thought I should share with you.

Mixed Media Watch – tracking media representations of mixed people

I was surprised to learn that supermodel Iman is behind those “I Am African” ads fetauring Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker and other, mostly white, celebs in faux tribal makeup. As Global Ambassador for Keep A Child Alive, an organization that provides medication to African children with HIV/AIDS, she created the campaign to call attention to the plight of those who cannot afford lifesaving drugs. She states on keepachildalive.org that “each and everyone of us contains DNA that can be traced back to our African ancestors.” So this is why we should care about the issue? What aboout compassion, empathy and commitment to social justice?

Hair, deception, entitlement and more

First, just watch the clip:

Question #1: Did you find anything wrong with what you just saw? (Answer it in the comment section below, preferrably before you continue reading).

I can’t remember when the fact that this occurs was first pointed out to me, that many black women have had the experience of people asking about their hair and then touching it without permission. I’ve had dreadlocks and funky goatees and people have asked about it, but I would certainly be weirded out if they just reached out and touched or pulled on my facial hair!

A couple things to point out here. First, the deceptive idea about hair. At some point one learns that some women use hair extensions, ‘weave’ and straightening or curling irons to do their hair. An even deeper secret is that most women in their 30’s (even some late twenty’s) are already greying and regularly dye their hair to cover up that fact. And then there are plenty out their who wear wigs, hair plugs, and all kinds of other things. When I first learned of some of these things it saddened me that we live in a culture that does not embrace ones natural beauty, whether it be cultural or age differences. So, along these lines, why is it that a black women is often confronted about her hair, when it is no more curious then the thousands of women dying their hair to met our “youthful” cultural standards. “So do you dye your hair?” (I ask as I comb through to take a close look at the roots)

Second, there is the issue of entitlement also needs to be dealt with here. Commenter, gatamala, puts it well on Mixed Media Watch’s post about the video:

I think it is a sense of entitlement/ownership masked in “curiousity”. It is dehumanizing to have someone poke/prod/pull to ostensibly check you out. I guess some people can’t put the auction block of the mind away.

Finally, there is the issue of us. Does seeing things like this, hearing people rise up and say something about it, or just letting it fall by the wayside change things? How do we make this world a better, more caring, more informed, more loving, and more real place for all of us?

Race and the Media: It’s not just a Katrina thing.

Some of you might have been paying attention during the Hurricane Katrina coverage and hopefully at least considered the idea that our media is sometimes biased in the way that it covers news stories.

Mixed Media Watch, one of my new favorite blogs, has posted on some recent coverage of two murders written about in the Washington Post:

I just read an interesting column by the ombudsman of The Washington Post, attempting to shed some light on how the paper handled two equally horrific murder cases. A reader had written in to note that the murder of the white man, Alan Senitt (pictured), landed on the front page of the paper, while the murder of the black man, Chris Crowder, only made the front of the Metro section. The reader asked:

“Can you think of a reason why the white man would get front-page treatment while the black man wouldn’t? Why does the white man merit a photo with the story but the black man doesn’t? Did geography and skin color have any impact on where these two stories were placed in the newspaper? I don’t see anything about the Senitt story that would merit front-page treatment over that of Crowder.”

Read the response and the rest of the story…

What’s your take on this one? Is it normal and your tired of raising concern about it? Is this the first time you’ve considered something like this? Are you busy validating the justification in your mind and writing this one off?

A new favorite podcast: Addicted to Race

The women of New Demographic and bloggers of Mixed Media Watch, have a podcast that I find extremely interesting: Addicted to Race.
Jen and Carmen co-host the show which discusses our obsession with race and provides thoughtful commentary on many race-related issues in our society. They discuss big news events as well as personal stories and I appreciate their balance in it all as well.

It bothers me to no end when folks try to ignore racism or try to belittle the effects of race. “Race” is only a social construct one might argue, but regardless it has a profound affect on the way people view one another and they way they are treated in our world.

I don’t necessarily agree with Jen and Carmen’s perspective all the time on the show, but who am I to argue with them. It’s good to learn and try to understand a different perspective.

I’m going to need to chime in and ask them a few questions sometime. I was pretty shocked at the lack of discussion of race at the event I went to last weekend, so I’ll be discussing that later.

For now, take a moment and listen to the latest episode of Addicted To Race.