What white people need to know, and do, after Ferguson

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-11-30 19:13Z by Steven

What white people need to know, and do, after Ferguson

The Washington Post

Sally Kohn

Benefiting from white privilege is automatic. Defending white privilege is a choice.

In the days before the grand jury’s decision in Ferguson, when Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon decided to impose a pre-emptive state of emergency, a white relative posted on my Facebook page, “Better to be prepared for the worse, than to have racially charged riot. [sic] At that point, no one cares what your political view points are, who you married or what God you pray too, only that you are White and you are Wrong.” This essay is for my cousin and every other white person who is well meaning but somehow feels hopelessly polarized in a racially polarized debate. It doesn’t have to be that way.

When black people are protesting in Ferguson and across America, they’re not protesting against white people. Maybe this seems obvious, but it’s worth stating. In fact, in the case of Ferguson, the protests weren’t (primarily) about one white cop. Black communities are ultimately protesting systems of injustice and inequality that structurally help white people while systematically harming black people. Just because you’re white and therefore generally benefit from those systems doesn’t mean you inherently support those systems — or need to defend them. Benefiting from white privilege is automatic. Defending white privilege is a choice.

Privilege is like oxygen: You don’t realize it’s there until it’s gone. As white folks, we can’t know what it’s like to go through life without racial privilege because we literally haven’t. You may have heard stories about black friends being monitored in department stores or seen the research that black names on resumes get half as many job interviews as white names on the same resumes. Maybe you know that a black man or boy is killed every 28 hours in America by police or vigilantes. Maybe you’ve read the studies on implicit “shooter bias” — how we’re all more likely to pull a simulated trigger on unarmed black men than unarmed white men — and maybe you know that even the most egalitarian Americans harbor unconscious negative attitudes about black people. The studies and the stories are overwhelming. Just this week, police shot and killed a black 12-year-old for holding a BB gun

Read the entire article here.

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Big interview – Jayne Olorunda on racism still needing to be tackled in NI

Posted in Audio, Autobiography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2014-11-30 18:20Z by Steven

Big interview – Jayne Olorunda on racism still needing to be tackled in NI

The Stephen Nolan Radio Show
BBC Radio Ulster

Stephen Noland, Host

Jayne Olorunda was just 2 years old when her Nigerian born father Max was killed by an IRA bomb that was being transported on a train he was travelling on. Jayne has written a book about her experiences growing up here. “Legacy” explores her own mother’s childhood in Strabane, and the prejudices she experienced when she married Jayne’s dad.

It also looks at Jayne’s own personal battle with an eating disorder and the racism she has encountered growing up in Northern Ireland. Jayne began by telling us how her parents met.

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The Census Is Still Trying To Find The Best Way To Track Race In America

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2014-11-30 00:12Z by Steven

The Census Is Still Trying To Find The Best Way To Track Race In America

New York, New York

Ben Casselman, Chief Economics Writer

At FiveThirtyEight, we use census data all the time to track demographic and social trends, from the aging of the U.S. population to the decline in marriage and shifts in immigration patterns. But the census not only reveals societal changes, it responds to them. This week, we’re examining three changes the Census Bureau is considering for its 2020 questionnaire. In the first two installments, we looked at the proposed changes to the way the census counts people of Arab ancestry and same-sex couples. Here, in our final article: The bureau ponders a new way of asking about Hispanic ethnicity.

Nancy López considers herself Latina — more specifically, Dominican. But she knows that when she walks down the street, many strangers see her as something else: a black woman.

“Race is not one-dimensional,” said López, a sociologist at the University of New Mexico and co-director of the school’s Institute for the Study of Race and Social Justice. “It’s multidimensional.”

The census has struggled to capture that complexity for its entire history, from 19th-century battles over how to count free black Americans to more modern efforts to categorize the U.S.’s growing mixed-race population. Now as it prepares for its 2020 population count, the Census Bureau is considering its biggest change in decades: combining its questions about race and ethnicity into a single, all-encompassing question. López could still, as she did in 2010, mark herself as black and Latina. But she could also select just one category – an option many U.S. Hispanics have said better reflects their self-identity.

That may seem like an academic distinction, but there are significant real-world implications, too. The government uses census data to help draw congressional boundaries, protect voting rights and allocate federal grant dollars. Researchers use it to track discrimination and social trends. And advocacy groups use it to secure political influence.

“Census taking,” said Tanya Hernández, a Fordham University law professor who studies discrimination, “is inherently a political act.”…

Read the entire article here.

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In Northern Ireland, a Wave of Immigrants Is Met With Fists

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2014-11-29 23:42Z by Steven

In Northern Ireland, a Wave of Immigrants Is Met With Fists

The New York Times

Douglas Dalby

BELFAST, Northern Ireland — More than 16 years after the Good Friday peace deal brought real hope that Protestants and Roman Catholics could live together in relative harmony, Northern Ireland is being racked by another wave of violence.

But this time it is not driven by the sectarian divide, but by animosity toward a fast-growing population of immigrants — adding one more challenge as Europe struggles to cope with the combination of intense economic strain and rapid demographic change.

“This is a society that always prides itself on being very friendly, but it is becoming less and less welcoming, particularly to certain types of people,” said Jayne Olorunda, 36, whose father was Nigerian, and though she grew up in Northern Ireland said her color has always marked her as an outsider.

The expanding problem appears to be partly racial and partly directed at immigrants of all backgrounds at a time when open borders in the European Union have led more legal migrants to Britain and Ireland in search of work. At the same time, war and economic deprivation have driven waves of legal and illegal migrants toward Europe from Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The more recent immigrants from Eastern Europe and parts of Africa tell stories similar to those of people from China, India and Pakistan who have lived here for decades…

…The new wave of immigrants has certainly not brought safety in numbers.

“It’s my home, but I don’t feel like a very welcome resident,” said Ms. Olorunda, whose broad accent is pure Northern Ireland.

“When more people began to arrive I was excited at first,” she said, “but then the attacks began to move from verbal to physical and I began to think this isn’t a good thing, after all.”

Ms. Olorunda said she has endured a lifetime of racism and stays in Northern Ireland mainly to look after her mother, who she said never recovered from the loss of her husband. He died in 1980 when an Irish Republican Army bomb exploded on a train…

Read the entire article here.

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COLA Seminar Probes Shifting Identity of ‘Whiteness’ in America

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Religion, United States, Virginia on 2014-11-29 01:34Z by Steven

COLA Seminar Probes Shifting Identity of ‘Whiteness’ in America

University of Virginia
College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Anne Bromley, Associate
UVA Today

The category of “white” as the majority race against which other groups have been described in the United States might seem well-defined, but it has been anything but that throughout American history.

In the past decade, scholars digging into primary sources have found that at certain times, some ethnic groups that one might think of as being “white” today – including Irish or Scotch-Irish, Italian, Jewish and Polish – were not considered to be white like Anglo-Saxon whites at various times and places. These attitudes led to economic and social conditions often enforced by law.

In her first-year seminar, or COLA, “Whiteness: A Racial Category,” assistant professor of religious studies Jalane Schmidt aims to show how whiteness, not just blackness, has been a shifting category and has served to exclude or include certain ethnic groups or races over time and in different parts of the country. Legal and social conditions defining who was considered black or white also demonstrate that being white has not been a hard-and-fast identity…

…“Whiteness is the elephant in the room that needs to be examined,” Schmidt said. “We’re used to studying racism as the exclusion of ‘others.’ But we’re not used to framing racism as, in part, an anxious effort (legal, social, cultural, etc.) to protect and prop up the perennially unstable racial category known as whiteness.”…

…Instead of fighting injustices under which both groups suffered, the Irish chose to join the privileged category, and this happened with other ethnic groups, too, Schmidt said. Just as children who go to a different school when their families move have to learn what the social scene is like, new immigrants in America had to learn a new set of social codes eventually, she said, giving up Gaelic language and ceasing to mix with black people.

The class is also studying how the definition of “white” changed over time in Virginia. Thomas Jefferson defined “the American” as “Anglo Saxon” and had a low opinion of the Scotch-Irish settlers of Appalachia, whose proximity to Indians, he wrote, had allegedly rendered them “wild,” Schmidt said.

A recent guest speaker to the class, Cinder Stanton, former head historian at Monticello, talked about her research on slavery at Jefferson’s plantation home and on the progeny of Jefferson and the slave Sally Hemings, the topics of her book, “Those Who Labor for My Happiness.” The descendants who defined themselves as black knew about and embraced their heritage. Those who passed as white, however, such as Eston and Julia Hemings, left behind their mixed ancestry and changed their name; their white descendants didn’t know they were related to Jefferson and Hemings until they found out from Stanton during her fieldwork…

Read the entire article here.

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Michael Brown and the deadly effects of colorism

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-11-29 00:37Z by Steven

Michael Brown and the deadly effects of colorism

Newsworks: WHYY News
The Philadelphia Experiment
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Solomon Jones

The outcry triggered by the killings of unarmed men by police officers — from Michael Brown’s shooting death in Ferguson, Mo., to the choking death of Eric Garner in Staten Island, NY — has largely focused on the victims’ skin color.

But little has been said about the fact that the men killed by police are not just African American. They are often dark skinned. That deep, ebony complexion, and all that it symbolizes, is significant, said Dr. Yaba Blay, co-director and assistant teaching professor of Africana Studies at Drexel University.

For dark-skinned black men, Blay said, “The unquestionable state of their blackness invokes fear in others. We haven’t seen racially ambiguous men gunned down by police.”

Complex prejudice

Such violence is just one consequence of what academics call colorism — the prejudging of others based on complexion…

Read the entire article here.

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Dorothy Roberts, “Fatal Invention: The New Biopolitics of Race.”

Posted in Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Videos on 2014-11-28 23:08Z by Steven

Dorothy Roberts, “Fatal Invention: The New Biopolitics of Race.”

McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario, L8S4L9, Canada

Public Lecture: Dorothy Roberts, George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology at UPenn, came to McMaster University on October 23, 2014 to give a lecture titled “Fatal Invention: The New Biopolitics of Race.”

In her talk, Roberts examined the myth of the biological concept of race – revived by purportedly cutting-edge science, race-specific drugs, genetic testing, and DNA databases – continues to undermine a just society and promote inequality in a supposedly “post-racial” era.

Presented by the Bourns Lectureship in Bioethics and the McMaster Centre for Scholarship in the Public Interest.

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A Profound Documentary, Little White Lie Follows a Woman’s Search for Her Identify

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2014-11-28 21:47Z by Steven

A Profound Documentary, Little White Lie Follows a Woman’s Search for Her Identify

The Village Voice
New York, New York

Diana Clarke

In Woodstock, New York, at the end of the 20th century, Lacey Schwartz was raised in an affluent Jewish household where something was slightly off. Darker-skinned than her mother and father, Schwartz fielded probing questions about her race from a young age, but refused to entertain the possibility that she was not the biological offspring of her two white parents. When Lacey was in high school, her parents’ marriage collapsed, and so did the veneer of her identity. Schwartz’s subsequent investigation resulted in this profound and engaging documentary

Read the entire review here.

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Waiting For Saskatchewan

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Canada, Media Archive, Poetry on 2014-11-28 19:28Z by Steven

Waiting For Saskatchewan

Turnstone Press
96 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-0888011008

Fred Wah

Winner of the Governor General’s Award for Poetry 1985

Wah interprets memory—a journey to China and Japan, his father’s experience as a Chinese immigrant in small Canadian towns, images from childhood—to locate the influence of genealogy. The procession of narrative reveals Wah’s own attempts to find “the relief of exotic identity.”

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‘Dear White People’: A Mixed-Race Perspective

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States on 2014-11-28 19:00Z by Steven

‘Dear White People’: A Mixed-Race Perspective

Pacific Citizen: Then National Newspaper of the JACL
Los Angeles, California

Christine Munteanu, Assistant Program Director
Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)

Last week, I watched a film called “Dear White People,” which follows the experiences of four black students at a predominately white, fictional Ivy League university. It was refreshing to see a movie that focused on the experiences of people of color, rather than the mainstream movies I usually watch that are almost exclusively about white people. Even though I know very little about black identity struggles specifically, as a person of color, there were many moments that I found relatable, familiar and funny.

I enjoyed the film overall, but as a mixed-race Japanese American, I was bothered by the portrayal of a biracial black character named Samantha White. Sam is the outspoken, radical leader of the Black Student Union’s protests against discriminatory university policies. She hosts a controversial campus radio show that speaks to the black experience, is well-versed in the history of civil rights and is the new head of an all-black residence hall.

The film follows Sam’s struggle with her identity as a biracial black woman. The fact that she is half-white is highlighted throughout the film as the reason she feels the need to “overcompensate” through her activism as a way to prove her blackness. Sam’s white boyfriend, Gabe, whom Sam repeatedly pushes away as she organizes protests and implements new policies in her residence hall, tells Sam that she is denying her true self by being so militant — after all, he knows she secretly listens to Taylor Swift. Meanwhile, Sam’s white father (literally, Mr. White) is suffering from health issues, adding a sense of urgency to Sam’s feeling that she must “choose a side.”…

Read the entire review here.

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