Tanya K. Hernández, “Multiracials and Civil Rights: Mixed-Race Stories of Discrimination”

Posted in Law, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States, Videos on 2018-12-18 02:22Z by Steven

Tanya K. Hernández, “Multiracials and Civil Rights: Mixed-Race Stories of Discrimination”

Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America
Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
2018-12-06 (Recorded on 2018-10-25)

Tanya K. Hernández, Archibald R. Murray Professor of Law
Fordham University School of Law, New York New York

In her new book “Multiracials and Civil Rights: Mixed-Race Stories of Discrimination,” Professor Tanya Katerí Hernández explores the question of how to pursue racial equality in a growing multiracial world. The growth of a mixed-race population has led some commentators to proclaim that multiracial discrimination is distinct in nature from the racial discrimination that non-multiracial persons experience, and that as a consequence a whole new approach to civil rights law is required. Hernández describes her own experience as an Afro-Latina mixed-race person and then shares how she tracked down the court case narratives of multiracial discrimination and the story of racial privilege they revealed. The stories she uncovered are especially timely. Coming at a time when explicit racism is resurfacing, Hernández’s look at multiracial discrimination cases is essential for fortifying the focus of civil rights law on racial privilege and the lingering legacy of bias against non-whites, and has much to teach us about how to move towards a more egalitarian society.

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White Lies: Ijeoma Oluo On Privilege, Power, And Race

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2018-12-18 01:56Z by Steven

White Lies: Ijeoma Oluo On Privilege, Power, And Race

The Sun Interview
The Sun
December 2018

Mark Leviton
Nevada City, California

516 - Ijeoma Oluo - Leviton

“Race has always been a prominent part of my life,” Ijeoma Oluo writes in her new book So You Want to Talk about Race. “I have never been able to escape the fact that I am a black woman in a white-supremacist country.”

Oluo was born in 1980 in Denton, Texas. Her father, a Nigerian college professor and politician, returned to his native country when she was three and never came back to the U.S. She and her brother, Ahamefule (often called Aham), had no contact with him growing up. Their mother, a white woman from the Midwest, raised them by herself in Seattle

..Oluo is an editor-at-large for the online magazine The Establishment. In her blog on Medium.com she often covers serious subject matter — white supremacy, representations of race in the media, the U.S. crisis of mass incarceration and police violence — but her approach is personal and down-to-earth; she’s rarely without a rueful joke or a post about what her two sons said at breakfast. In 2015 she self-published The Badass Feminist Coloring Book, a project that developed from her habit of sketching famous feminists to relieve stress. She hit the New York Times best-seller list earlier this year with So You Want to Talk about Race. Though she realizes that most of her readers will be white, she says she wrote the book to help people of color make themselves heard. Her website is ijeomaoluo.com.

I met with Oluo at her favorite independent Seattle coffeehouse, which also serves as an informal community center and work space. We sat at a small table and struggled to talk over the sound of the coffee grinder and the not-so-quiet background music before moving to a bench across the street. It was a beautiful spring day, and despite her sometimes dire message, Oluo’s energy and humor never flagged.

Leviton: You believe that if you’re white in America, you’re racist, and if you’re a male in America, you’re sexist. Are you saying I can’t transcend my received culture no matter what kind of a person I am?

Oluo: I don’t think you can escape it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t fight racism or patriarchy. You can fight the racism in society even while you fight the racism inside you. It’s like fighting a cancer inside you: you’re not “pro-cancer” because you have it.

There’s no way to avoid absorbing our American culture, which was designed to benefit white males. We absorb American racism in ways we’re not fully aware of. You can’t undo a lifetime of experience in a few years of work. While you are struggling against racism, the culture keeps reinforcing it, telling you who is “normal” and who isn’t, who deserves to be seen and who is made invisible. Racism is alive.

I want to move people away from thinking of racism as a feeling of hatred, because it’s rare to find someone who blatantly hates people of color. But the impact of racial bias isn’t lessened because it’s not blatant. If someone denies me a job because I’m “not the right fit,” without realizing that their idea of the right fit is almost always a white person, it doesn’t hurt me any less than if I’m told, “I won’t hire you because you’re black.” Racism is not necessarily an intention or a feeling. It is a system that produces predictable results.

In this country there are large racial divides in everything from infant mortality, to how much you earn, to your chances of being arrested or incarcerated. This is not because a bunch of white people wake up every day and decide to oppress people of color; it’s not just the actions of individuals with hate in their hearts. We cannot understand American racism unless we recognize it as a system that was built to run — and that still runs — on principles of oppression and domination. Four hundred years of history doesn’t go back into the toothpaste tube…

Leviton: You were always a high achiever in school. You didn’t have disciplinary problems.

Oluo: Yes, I was well suited for Western education. I scored high on standardized tests — which are very prejudiced in many ways. While I was growing up, my mom was going to college, and because she couldn’t afford day care, she would sneak my brother and me into her big auditorium classes. My father was a college professor; he didn’t raise us, but I was aware of that heritage. So education was always something I loved.

But there were costs. One was that my blackness was erased. People could accept that I was talented and smart only if they saw me as less black. I had teachers who would insist I was “mixed,” not black. Many people told me I didn’t “act black” — I guess because doing well in school and loving to read were not “black” behaviors to them. And in many ways that robbed me of my sense of community and identity. I was often used as an example to other black students: “Why can’t you be more like Ijeoma?” I became a reason to withhold sympathy from other black students: “She gets it. Why can’t you?”

I grew up in Seattle, and I talk like someone who grew up in Seattle. I was raised by a white single mom. I have a lighter skin tone than many black people. And I was treated as if I were fundamentally better than my black peers, because I looked and sounded whiter. I grew up feeling very isolated as a result. I was the only black kid in the advanced programs up to seventh grade. In high school there was one other black kid. Today my son is in an advanced school program, and there’s only one other black kid in there with him. So my son has to carry that burden of representing black students…

Read the entire interview here.

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Walter F. White: The NAACP’s Ambassador for Racial Justice

Posted in Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Social Justice, United States on 2018-12-03 04:26Z by Steven

Walter F. White: The NAACP’s Ambassador for Racial Justice

West Virginia University Press
January 2019
468 pages
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-946684-62-2
eBook ISBN: 978-1-946684-63-9

Robert L. Zangrando, Professor Emeritus of History
University of Akron

Ronald L. Lewis, Stuart and Joyce Robbins Chair and Professor Emeritus of History
West Virginia University

Walter F. White of Atlanta, Georgia, joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1918 as an assistant to Executive Secretary James Weldon Johnson. When Johnson retired in 1929, White replaced him as head of the NAACP, a position he maintained until his death in 1955. During his long tenure, White was in the vanguard of the struggle for interracial justice. His reputation went into decline, however, in the era of grassroots activism that followed his death. White’s disagreements with the US Left, and his ambiguous racial background—he was of mixed heritage, could “pass” as white, and divorced a black woman to marry a white woman—fueled ambivalence about his legacy.

In this comprehensive biography, Zangrando and Lewis seek to provide a reassessment of White within the context of his own time, revising critical interpretations of his career. White was a promoter of and a participant in the Harlem Renaissance, a daily fixture in the halls of Congress lobbying for civil rights legislation, and a powerful figure with access to the administrations of Roosevelt (via Eleanor) and Truman. As executive secretary of the NAACP, White fought incessantly to desegregate the American military and pushed to ensure equal employment opportunities. On the international stage, White advocated for people of color in a decolonized world and for economic development aid to nations like India and Haiti, bridging the civil rights struggles at home and abroad.

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In 2008, there was hope. In 2018, there is hurt. This is America’s state of hate.

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science, United States on 2018-11-27 03:05Z by Steven

In 2008, there was hope. In 2018, there is hurt. This is America’s state of hate.

Cable News Network (CNN)
2018-11-26

By Mallory Simon and Sara Sidner, CNN

(CNN) On Election Night in 2008, Americans gathered in Grant Park, Chicago. They cried tears of joy knowing Barack Obama would become the first black president.

For millions of Americans, Obama lifted the nation. For white supremacists, he lit a powder keg.

His election supercharged the divisions that have existed since the country’s birth.

The hate created two Americas. Two realities. Split-screen reactions to the same events, that continued and were exacerbated with President Trump’s victory and time in office…

Read the entire article here.

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Ways of Grace: Stories of Activism, Adversity, and How Sports Can Bring Us Together

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Justice on 2018-11-27 02:33Z by Steven

Ways of Grace: Stories of Activism, Adversity, and How Sports Can Bring Us Together

Amistad (an imprint of HarperCollins)
2017-06-27
256 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9780062354525
Paperback ISBN: 9780062354532
EPUB ISBN: 9780062354549

James Blake, with Carol Taylor

Inspired by Arthur Ashe’s bestselling memoir Days of Grace, a collection of positive, uplifting stories of seemingly small acts of grace from across the sports world that have helped to bridge cultural and racial divides.

Like many people of color, James Blake has experienced the effects of racism firsthand—publicly—first at the U.S. Open, and then in front of his hotel on a busy Manhattan street, where he was tackled and handcuffed by a police officer in a case of “mistaken identity.” Though rage would have been justified, Blake faced both incidents with dignity and aplomb.

In Ways of Grace he reflects on his experiences and explores those of other sports stars and public figures who have not only overcome adversity, but have used them to unite rather than divide, including:

  • Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, a Pakistani Muslim and Amir Hadad, an Israeli Jew, who despite the conflicts of their countries, paired together in the 2002 Wimbledon men’s doubles draw.
  • Muhammad Ali, who transcended racism with a magnetic personality and a breathtaking mastery of boxing that was unparalleled.
  • Nelson Mandela, who spent twenty-seven years in prison for his commitment to social reform, peace, and equality yet never gave up his battle to end apartheid—a struggle that led to his eventual freedom and his nation’s transition to black majority rule.
  • Groundbreaking tennis legend Arthur Ashe, who was a model of courage, elegance, and poise on the court and off; a gifted player who triumphed in the all-white world of professional tennis, and became one of his generation’s greatest players.

Weaving together these and other poignant and unforgettable stories, Blake reveals how, through seemingly small acts of grace, we can confront hatred, bigotry, and injustice with virtue—and use it to propel ourselves to greater heights.

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What it took to finally confront my family about race and politics

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United States on 2018-11-21 21:18Z by Steven

What it took to finally confront my family about race and politics

The Guardian
2018-11-21

Sarah Menkedick

‘It is not about politics. It is about saying, ‘This is my life, and this is what I care about.’
‘It is not about politics. It is about saying, ‘This is my life, and this is what I care about.’ Illustration: Grace Helmer

As the mother of a mixed-race daughter, I was troubled by my white relatives’ views. Why was I terrified to speak up?

My four-year-old daughter has recently started to notice skin color. “Mommy,” she points out when we take a shower, “your skin is white, and my skin is brown, and Papi’s skin is brown!” With a four-year-old’s mania for classification, she lines up our arms in order of deepening darkness. She counts: “Two browns, and one white!”

The other day in the car when I said a curse word, she asked me why, and I said it was because Donald Trump was taking children away from their mothers at the border. “Why?” she asked. I tried to distill immigration down to a child’s logic: “Because where they live is not safe. So they come here to have a safer life. But some people get mad that they come here. They don’t want them here.”

“And he takes their kids away?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

Her lip trembled. I once made the mistake of reading a library book about a hippo that lost its mother and she cried so hard I finally had to bust out a hidden stash of M&Ms.

I reiterated that some people don’t want these families here, and want to punish them. She did what she does with any situation that is incomprehensible: she just kept asking why, assuming there has to be an explanation that will make sense to her. Finally I said, “Because they have brown skin, like you and Papi. Donald Trump doesn’t like brown skin.”

“He doesn’t like brown skin?” she asked. I nodded.

“He doesn’t like me?” she asked…

Read the entire article here.

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Stop using mixed race people as symbols of interracial unity to ease your white guilt

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Europe, Media Archive, Social Justice on 2018-11-13 03:16Z by Steven

Stop using mixed race people as symbols of interracial unity to ease your white guilt

Friktion
2018-05-09

Sophie Buzak-Achiam


Illustration: Mette Clante

Dutch beer company Heineken has recently faced backlash for its “lighter is better” ad, where a bartender with light skinned Latino appearance slides a beer past three dark skinned Black people towards an Eurasian woman, with whom he shares a wink, before the slogan “sometimes lighter is better” appears. As a mixed race person, who might be racialised in a similar way to the exotic yet safely light skinned woman in the ad, this ad struck a well-known chord. Spending a good half of my life in a white Danish environment, I have often found my ambiguous racial appearance used by white people as a symbol of a conforming, non-threatening otherness. Although still seen as a person of color, I also embody a whiteness that can make me come across as safe mediator to ease racial tensions and white guilt.

Considering the overwhelming whiteness in European advertisement in general, I don’t believe it to be a coincidence that Heineken, as a white owned company, chooses to use people of color and racially ambiguous people as the stars of this ad. In representing the “lighter is better” demographic, the two lighter skinned actors become pawns to the white system which uses them to mask its racism, that becomes perhaps more subtle with the acceptance of some people of color…

Read the entire article here.

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Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science on 2018-11-05 19:42Z by Steven

Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code

Polity
May 2019
172 pages
138 x 216 mm / 5 x 9 in
Hardback ISBN: 9781509526390
Paperback ISBN: 9781509526406
Open eBook ISBN: 9781509526437

Ruha Benjamin, Assistant Professor of African American Studies
Princeton University

From everyday apps to complex algorithms, Ruha Benjamin cuts through tech-industry hype to understand how emerging technologies can reinforce white supremacy and deepen social inequity.

Far from a sinister story of racist programmers scheming on the dark web, Benjamin argues that automation has the potential to hide, speed, and even deepen discrimination, while appearing neutral and even benevolent when compared to racism of a previous era. Presenting the concept of the “New Jim Code,” she shows how a range of discriminatory designs encode inequity: by explicitly amplifying racial hierarchies, by ignoring but thereby replicating social divisions, or by aiming to fix racial bias but ultimately doing quite the opposite. Moreover, she makes a compelling case for race itself as a kind of tool – a technology designed to stratify and sanctify social injustice that is part of the architecture of everyday life.

This illuminating guide into the world of biased bots, altruistic algorithms, and their many entanglements provides conceptual tools to decode tech promises with sociologically informed skepticism. In doing so, it challenges us to question not only the technologies we are sold, but also the ones we manufacture ourselves.

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Why ‘The Hate U Give’ Is Not a Black Lives Matter Movie

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Social Justice, United States on 2018-11-01 02:14Z by Steven

Why ‘The Hate U Give’ Is Not a Black Lives Matter Movie

Los Angeles Sentinel
2018-10-18

Melina Abdullah, Professor of Pan-African Studies
California State University, Los Angeles

Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Cofounder of Black Lives Matter and founder of Dignity and Power Now
Los Angeles, California

Some are touting ‘The Hate U Give,’ as “the first Black Lives Matter movie.” Red flags should have gone up the moment we learned that Fox, recently acquired by Disney, was behind the film with a massive public relations budget, footing the bill for hundreds of advance screenings with celebrity guests, marketing swag, and heavy media saturation – especially in Black markets. We might also wonder about the choice to have Audrey Wells, a White screenwriter whose credits include “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “The Truth About Cats and Dogs,” adapt an urban Black novel for the screen. Angie ThomasNew York Times bestseller on which the film is based swapped out the book cover that originally pictured a chocolate-colored Afroed girl, for the light-skinned young actress, Amandla Stenberg, who plays the lead, Starr Carter, in the film. Stenberg’s braids hang long as she holds a placard that reads “The Hate U Give,” a reference to Tupac’s THUG LIFE acronym (The Hate U Give Little Infants F*cks Everyone). Tupac, Hip Hop icon, poet, and son of a Black Panther, was intentional with his language. THUG LIFE, tattooed across his mid-section, was a scathing critique of the White-supremacist-capitalist system that treats Black and poor children with contempt, depriving them of resources, and ultimately causing the whole of society to suffer the consequences. The film betrays that analysis by entrenching old tropes. “The Hate U Give” makes Black people primarily responsible for their own oppression. The film asks viewers not to challenge a policing system that kills Black people at least every 28 hours, but to focus exclusively on “Black-on-Black crime,” even when unarmed Black boys are killed by White cops…

Read the entire article here.

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The Hate U Give’s Amandla Stenberg on bringing Black Lives Matter to the box office

Posted in Arts, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2018-11-01 01:44Z by Steven

The Hate U Give’s Amandla Stenberg on bringing Black Lives Matter to the box office

The Guardian
2018-10-19

Steve Rose

Amandla Stenberg in The Hate U Give

Stenberg is the star of a new adaptation of the YA novel phenomenon. The actor, and the film’s director, discuss cinema’s new generation of resistance

Any resemblance between The Hate U Give and your average teen movie evaporates about 20 minutes in, when 16-year-old Starr Carter, played by Amandla Stenberg, witnesses a police officer shoot dead her friend Khalil at point-blank range. By this stage, Starr’s father has already given her The Talk, the time-honoured ritual where African-American parents instruct their children how to behave if stopped by the police: be polite, stay calm, put your hands where they can see them. When their car is pulled over, Starr follows the drill. Khalil reaches for a hairbrush. The police officer thinks it’s a gun. That’s all it takes.

The Hate U Give is fictional, but barely. To see the stricken expression on Stenberg’s face during the shooting scene is to recall Diamond Reynolds, partner of Philando Castile, who livestreamed the aftermath of Castile’s 2016 police shooting from the passenger seat while he bled to death beside her. The victims’ names have almost become a mantra: Castile, Freddie Gray, Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland – all young African Americans killed by law enforcement, each an avoidable tragedy.

“I learned really early on what it feels like to be black in an environment in which no one looks like you,” she says, “And I learned how to be very intentional of how I presented myself in order to fit in.” Code-switching – that capacity to alter your behaviour according to the company you’re in – is something that people of colour are especially familiar with, she continues. “Because you have the cognisance that if you are completely transparent about who you are in a space that doesn’t accept you for who you are, it’ll be detrimental to your ability to succeed. That’s just a fact of growing up in a country that is still based on white institutions,” she says. It can work both ways, Stenberg points out: her mother is African American and her father is Danish. “He was one of the only white people in our neighbourhood, so what I was experiencing at school, he was experiencing at home.”…

Read the entire article here.

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