Within this context [of the failed policy of Eugenics], it becomes clear that the issues involved in Loving extended beyond its current popular understanding as a tribute to romance.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-06-14 17:58Z by Steven

Within this context [of the failed policy of eugenics], it becomes clear that the issues involved in Loving extended beyond its current popular understanding as a tribute to romance. Indeed, for a case heralded for being about the boundless nature of love, there is surprisingly little discussion about this in the Loving decision apart from the appellants’ surname and rather dry assertions that marriage is a civil right.

Osagie K. Obasogie, “Was Loving v. Virginia Really About Love?,” The Atlantic, June 12, 2017. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/loving-v-virginia-marks-its-fiftieth-anniversary/529929/.

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Was Loving v. Virginia Really About Love?

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2017-06-13 15:13Z by Steven

Was Loving v. Virginia Really About Love?

The Atlantic
2017-06-12

Osagie K. Obasogie, Haas Distinguished Chair and Professor of Bioethics
University of California, Berkeley


J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Fifty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down state laws banning interracial marriage, but the issues involved in the case extended beyond its current popular understanding as a tribute to romance.

Interracial marriage is at a historic high. According to a recent Pew Research Center report, couples with different racial backgrounds made up one in six new marriages in 2015—a stark change from previous eras when even looking at someone across the color line with a hint of romance could be a matter of life or death. This radical shift is largely attributed to the Supreme Court’s decision in Loving v. Virginia, which marks its 50th anniversary on June 12. In Loving, the Court struck down state laws banning interracial marriage, holding that such restrictions are unconstitutional.

Loving is widely praised as a case about law ceding to the power of love in the face of astonishing harassment and bigotry endured by interracial couples. The redemptive trope coming out of the Loving decision that love conquers all has also influenced other social movements, such as those leading to Obergefell v. Hodges—the 2015 Supreme Court decision recognizing same-sex marriage.

The 1967 Loving decision therefore is often celebrated as an affirmation of love that made America a better and more progressive society. There’s just one problem.

Love is not what the case was really about…

Read the entire article here.

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And it has been damaging to have Barack Obama, a black man speaking from the authoritative platform of the presidency, reinforce the widely held belief that racial inequality in the United States is, in large measure, the direct responsibility of black folk.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-12-23 01:33Z by Steven

I worried that it was possible for the symbolic and inspirational aspects of having a black president more than offset by the damages that could be done by the messages delivered by a black president. And it has been damaging to have Barack Obama, a black man speaking from the authoritative platform of the presidency, reinforce the widely held belief that racial inequality in the United States is, in large measure, the direct responsibility of black folk. This has been the deal breaker for me: not merely a silence on white physical and emotional violence directed against black Americans, but the denial of the centrality of American racism in explaining sustained black-white disparity.

William A. Darity, “How Barack Obama Failed Black Americans,” The Atlantic, December 22, 2016. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/12/how-barack-obama-failed-black-americans/511358/.

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How Barack Obama Failed Black Americans

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Economics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-12-22 21:15Z by Steven

How Barack Obama Failed Black Americans

The Atlantic
2016-12-22

William A. Darity, Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies, and Economics; Director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity
Duke University

The country’s first black president never pursued policies bold enough to close the racial wealth gap.

Born in 1953, I am a child of the waning years of legal segregation in the United States. My parents, on the other hand, spent about 40 years of their lives under Jim Crow, and all of my grandparents lived most of their lives under official American apartheid. At the time of Barack Obama’s election to the presidency in 2008, my mother and all four of my grandparents were deceased. But my father was alive and well—and absolutely thrilled to have lived to see the election of a black man as president of the United States. Usually deeply cynical about American politics and politicians, my dad could not comprehend my deep reservations about Barack Obama’s leadership. Indeed, he viewed any criticism of Obama as bringing aid and comfort to white supremacists.

My father hardly was alone among black Americans, across all generations. The near complete unanimity of passionate black American admiration for Obama carried with it an absolute resistance to hearing any complaints about the black president. And, indeed, there was much to admire: an exceptional resume, an attractive family with a black wife who is his professional and intellectual equal, handsome and greying toward distinguished maturity, a strategically wise moderate progressive political position, and a place as the—sometimes self-professed—messianic fulfillment of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. For many black Americans, the ascent of Barack Obama to the presidency was equivalent to the moment of jubilee.

An extraordinarily disciplined individual, Barack Obama preempted the smallest hint of scandal by admitting that he had smoked pot during his youth. He even crafted a narrative of a rise from adversity—growing up successfully by the efforts of a single parent despite a missing father—albeit a white single mother with a Ph.D. whose own parents were affluent residents of Hawaii. With every drop of respectability in place, his somewhat icy intellect coupled with his enthusiasm for basketball and for black music across a half century of styles, he was an inordinately appealing candidate, with an ideal combination of the cool and the rational…

Read the entire article here.

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The Problem With Obama’s Faith in White America

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2016-12-20 19:38Z by Steven

The Problem With Obama’s Faith in White America

The Atlantic
2016-12-13

Tressie McMillan Cottom, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Virginia Commonwealth University

The president’s optimism about race blinded him to the pervasiveness and stubborn persistence of racism.

I screamed a lot while reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’s My President Was Black. When I was done reading and screaming, I cried.

The last time I felt this far removed from this president was when I first worked so hard to elect him.

In 2007, the very idea of a President Barack Obama was ridiculous to me. I was and am southern, god bless. I am black. I come from black people who are southerners even when they were New Yorkers for a spell. We are the black American story of enslavement, rural migration, urban displacement, resistance, boostrapping, mobility, and class fragility. In this milieu we, as a friend once described it, know our whites. To know our whites is to understand the psychology of white people and the elasticity of whiteness. It is to be intimate with some white persons but to critically withhold faith in white people categorically. It is to anticipate white people’s emotions and fears and grievances because their issues are singularly our problem. To know our whites is to survive without letting bitterness rot your soul…

Read the entire article here.

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My President Was Black

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-12-13 20:07Z by Steven

My President Was Black

The Atlantic
January/February 2017

Ta-Nehisi Coates, National Correspondent


Ian Allen

A history of the first African American White House—and of what came next

“They’re a rotten crowd,” I shouted across the lawn. “You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

I. “Love Will Make You Do Wrong”

In the waning days of President Barack Obama’s administration, he and his wife, Michelle, hosted a farewell party, the full import of which no one could then grasp. It was late October, Friday the 21st, and the president had spent many of the previous weeks, as he would spend the two subsequent weeks, campaigning for the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. Things were looking up. Polls in the crucial states of Virginia and Pennsylvania showed Clinton with solid advantages. The formidable GOP strongholds of Georgia and Texas were said to be under threat. The moment seemed to buoy Obama. He had been light on his feet in these last few weeks, cracking jokes at the expense of Republican opponents and laughing off hecklers. At a rally in Orlando on October 28, he greeted a student who would be introducing him by dancing toward her and then noting that the song playing over the loudspeakers—the Gap Band’sOutstanding”—was older than she was. “This is classic!” he said. Then he flashed the smile that had launched America’s first black presidency, and started dancing again. Three months still remained before Inauguration Day, but staffers had already begun to count down the days. They did this with a mix of pride and longing—like college seniors in early May. They had no sense of the world they were graduating into. None of us did…

…This would not happen again, and everyone knew it. It was not just that there might never be another African American president of the United States. It was the feeling that this particular black family, the Obamas, represented the best of black people, the ultimate credit to the race, incomparable in elegance and bearing. “There are no more,” the comedian Sinbad joked back in 2010. “There are no black men raised in Kansas and Hawaii. That’s the last one. Y’all better treat this one right. The next one gonna be from Cleveland. He gonna wear a perm. Then you gonna see what it’s really like.” Throughout their residency, the Obamas had refrained from showing America “what it’s really like,” and had instead followed the first lady’s motto, “When they go low, we go high.” This was the ideal—black and graceful under fire—saluted that evening. The president was lionized as “our crown jewel.” The first lady was praised as the woman “who put the O in Obama.”

Barack Obama’s victories in 2008 and 2012 were dismissed by some of his critics as merely symbolic for African Americans. But there is nothing “mere” about symbols. The power embedded in the word nigger is also symbolic. Burning crosses do not literally raise the black poverty rate, and the Confederate flag does not directly expand the wealth gap…

Read the entire article here.

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The New American Face

Posted in Anthropology, Arts, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, United States on 2016-11-21 21:28Z by Steven

The New American Face

The Atlantic
2016-11-21

James Hamblin, Senior Editor


The least and most attractive male faces, based on statistical models.

Leaders are stoking human tendencies toward tribalism—but this instinct can be overcome more easily than once thought.

Since the election of Donald Trump, President Barack Obama has shifted into a prophylactic stance. He is warning that the world is complex, not a simple collection of binaries where things are either completely fantastic or the absolute worst.

Obama sees, rather, an ecosystem, a global community where borders are increasingly illusory, where prosperity for one economy means prosperity for others. Still this is a difficult concept to impart even to competitive students or coworkers, much less a population of seven billion. Recounting how he explained the election outcome to his daughters, Obama said in The New Yorker this week, “This is not mathematics; this is biology and chemistry. These are living organisms, and it’s messy.”

If biology is messy, neurobiology is a dumpster filled with smaller dumpsters, all ablaze. We are competitive by nature, as a matter of survival, and this tendency is easily goaded into hate…

Read the entire article here.

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African Americans are a hybrid people, he is nowhere near the first black man of mixed ancestry to protest against racism.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-09-01 00:53Z by Steven

There is nothing unusual in this. There is no tension, no hypocrisy, no contradiction, between [Colin] Kaepernick being a black person of unusual status, fame, and financial success and his demand that the United States treat black people equally. African Americans are a hybrid people, he is nowhere near the first black man of mixed ancestry to protest against racism. Du Bois had white ancestors, Frederick Douglass believed that his father was the white man who owned his body, Malcolm X, with his red hair and light skin, was asked by a student why he identified as black upon his visit to Ghana. There is also the current president of the United States.

Adam Serwer, “Colin Kaepernick’s True Sin,” The Atlantic, August 30, 2016. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/08/kaepernicks-true-sin/498122/.

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Colin Kaepernick’s True Sin

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States on 2016-09-01 00:19Z by Steven

Colin Kaepernick’s True Sin

The Atlantic
2016-08-30

Adam Serwer, Senior Editor

The San Francisco quarterback has been attacked for refusing to stand for the Star Spangled Banner—and for daring to criticize the system in which he thrived.

It was in early childhood when W.E.B. Du Bois––scholar, activist, and black radical––first noticed The Veil that separated him from his white classmates in the mostly white town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He and his classmates were exchanging “visiting cards,” invitations to visit one another’s homes, when a white girl refused his.

“Then it dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil. I had thereafter no desire to tear down that veil, to creep through; I held all beyond it in common contempt, and lived above it in a region of blue sky and great wandering shadows,” Du Bois wrote in his acclaimed essay collection, The Souls of Black Folk. “That sky was bluest when I could beat my mates at examination-time, or beat them at a foot-race, or even beat their stringy heads.”

Du Bois’s upbringing as a black child was, in some ways blessed, particularly for the time. He received a good education, he had white teachers who believed in his potential. Yet despite growing up in a white town, far from the bloody, violent turmoil of the post-emancipation South, he learned from childhood that he was different, that a wall yet lay between himself and the other white children. We cannot know who Du Bois might have been had he been raised in a mostly black town or gone to a mostly black school. What we do know is that growing up around white people, with opportunities other blacks did not have, did not make white supremacy invisible to him––on the contrary,the intimacy of his early relationships with whites helped shape who he was.

Ever since 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick declared that he would refuse to stand for the national anthem, to refuse “to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” particularly in the form of police brutality, he has drawn personal and bitter responses accusing him of disrespecting the country, police officers, and military service members. Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for president campaigning on a slogan implying America has ceased to be great and whose broadsides against “political correctness” delight his fans, urged Kaepernick to leave the country for expressing the incorrect political views…

Read the entire article here.

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The average Afro-Cuban on the street today will often name being Cuban first, and black, mulatto, or white second.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-08-02 20:24Z by Steven

In Cuba since the 1960s, revolutionary ideology has emphasized a national unity that transcends race and discouraged racial identification. The average Afro-Cuban on the street today will often name being Cuban first, and black, mulatto, or white second. Cuba’s national racial identity is confounded by the fact that there is no accurate way to measure its demographics, especially when using the blurring mixed-race category of “mulatto,” which in Cuba is interchangeable with the term “mestizo,” a self-selected label easily applicable to more than half the island. While the National Office of Statistics stated in 2012 that Cuba is 36 percent nonwhite, Morales claims a more accurate figure is between 60 and 70 percent, largely because many Cubans suffer an internalized racism that makes them publicly deny blackness. I observed this subtle negation one night along the seaside Malecón when a roving guitarista approached the dark-skinned Afro-Cuban poet, hip-hop writer, and activist Carmen Gonzalez Chacon, and tried to flatter his way into 5 pesos by serenading the “beautiful mulatta.” She quickly corrected his misidentification.

Erik Gleibermann, “Where Hip Hop Fits in Cuba’s Anti-Racist Curriculum,” The Atlantic, August 1, 2016. http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/08/where-hip-hop-fits-in-cubas-anti-racist-curriculum.

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