Obama sharpens his message on race

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-07-02 01:26Z by Steven

Obama sharpens his message on race

The Hill
Washington, D.C.
2015-07-01

Mike Lillis

President Obama is taking a more aggressive approach to the issue of race, repeatedly offering sharp commentary as he confronts America’s oldest, deepest divide.

Black lawmakers, Obama’s strongest allies on Capitol Hill, have cheered the president’s newfound willingness to address race head-on.

But they also see a nation that’s still plagued by inequality, discrimination and, in some cases, overt racism — first black president or none…

Read the entire article here.

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The Social Construction of Race

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Slavery, Social Science, United States on 2015-07-01 20:55Z by Steven

The Social Construction of Race

Jacobin
2015-06-25

Brian Jones

Race is a social fiction imposed by the powerful on those they wish to control.

The first friend I ever had was a little boy named Matt. We were maybe four or five years old. Matt came to me one day with a very serious look on his face and gave me a little talking-to. He explained to me: “Brian, you’re brown. And I’m peach.”

I don’t remember saying anything back, but I think in my mind I was like “Okay. . . ? Well these Legos aren’t going to build themselves.”

Matt was trying to do me a favor. He was trying to introduce me to the very bizarre and peculiar rules that we all know as grownups — very important things to understand. If you didn’t understand them, you’d find American life and society very strange. You’d do things you shouldn’t do, go places you shouldn’t go. You’d mess up if you didn’t understand the particular rules that govern the ideology of race in the United States.

Sometimes when you go outside of the American context you begin to appreciate how particular and unique these rules are. I remember reading about a (probably apocryphal) interview with the former dictator of Haiti, Papa Doc Duvalier, who referred to the “white majority population” of Haiti. The American journalist interviewing him didn’t understand, so they had to define to each other what makes somebody white or black. The American journalist explained that in the US, one metaphorical drop of black blood designates someone as black. And Duvalier replied, “Well, that’s our definition of white.”

The whole idea of this talk — if you take away nothing else — is this: the whole thing is made up. That’s it. And you can make it up different ways; and people have and do. And it changes. And it has nothing to do with biology or genetics. There’s a study of several decades of census records that found that twice as many people who call themselves white have recent African ancestry as people who call themselves black.

This is not just a matter of folksy beliefs, or prejudice, or wrong ideas, though those things are all in the mix. This is a matter of law…

Read the entire article here.

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Race Policy and Multiracial Americans

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Campus Life, Family/Parenting, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Latino Studies, Law, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2015-07-01 15:09Z by Steven

Race Policy and Multiracial Americans

Policy Press (Available in North America from University of Chicago Press)
2016-01-13
226 pages
234 x 156 mm
Hardback ISBN: 9781447316459
Paperback ISBN: 9781447316503

Edited by:

Kathleen Odell Korgen, Professor of Sociology
William Paterson University, Wayne, New Jersey

Race Policy and Multiracial Americans is the first book to look at the impact of multiracial people on race policies—where they lag behind the growing numbers of multiracial people in the U.S. and how they can be used to promote racial justice for multiracial Americans. Using a critical mixed race perspective, it covers such questions as: Which policies aimed at combating racial discrimination should cover multiracial Americans? Should all (or some) multiracial Americans benefit from affirmative action programmes? How can we better understand the education and health needs of multiracial Americans? This much-needed book is essential reading for sociology, political science and public policy students, policy makers, and anyone interested in race relations and social justice.

Contents

  • Introduction ~ Kathleen Odell Korgen
  • Multiracial Americans throughout the History of the U.S. ~ Tyrone Nagai
  • National and Local Structures of Inequality: Multiracial Groups’ Profiles Across the United States ~ Mary E. Campbell and Jessica M. Barron
  • Latinos and Multiracial America ~ Raúl Quiñones Rosado
  • The Connections among Racial Identity, Social Class, and Public Policy? ~ Nikki Khanna
  • Multiracial Americans and Racial Discrimination ~ Tina Fernandes Botts
  • “Should All (or Some) Multiracial Americans Benefit from Affirmative Action Programs?”~ Daniel N. Lipson
  • Multiracial Students and Educational Policy ~ Rhina Fernandes Williams and E. Namisi Chilungu
  • Multiracial Americans in College ~ Marc P. Johnston and Kristen A. Renn
  • Multiracial Americans, Health Patterns, and Health Policy: Assessment and Recommendations for Ways Forward ~ Jenifer L. Bratter and Chirsta Mason
  • Racial Identity Among Multiracial Prisoners in the Color-Blind Era ~ Gennifer Furst and Kathleen Odell Korgen
  • “Multiraciality and the Racial Order: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”~ Hephzibah V. Strmic-Pawl and David L. Brunsma
  • Multiracial Identity and Monoracial Conflict: Toward a New Social Justice framework ~ Andrew Jolivette
  • Conclusion: Policies for a Racially Just Society ~ Kathleen Odell Korgen
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How a long-dead white supremacist still threatens the future of Virginia’s Indian tribes

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States, Virginia on 2015-07-01 14:45Z by Steven

How a long-dead white supremacist still threatens the future of Virginia’s Indian tribes

The Washington Post
2015-07-01

Joe Heim, Staff Writer


Walter A. Plecker’s goal as Virginia’s registrar of vital statistics was to ban race-mixing. He declared there were no true Indians left because of marriages with blacks. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Virginia’s Indian tribes have faced numerous obstacles in their decades-old quest for federal recognition. But one person has long stood in their way — and he’s been dead for 68 years.

Walter Plecker — a physician, eugenicist and avowed white supremacist — ran Virginia’s Bureau of Vital Statistics with single-minded resolve over 34 years in the first half of the 20th century.

Though he died in 1947, Plecker’s shadow still lingers over the state, a vestige of a vicious era when racist practices were an integral part of government policy and Virginia officials ruthlessly enforced laws created to protect what they considered a master white race.

For Virginia’s Indians, the policies championed by Plecker threatened their very existence, nearly wiping out the tribes who greeted the country’s first English settlers and who claim Pocahontas as an ancestor. This month, the legacy of those laws could again help sabotage an effort by the Pamunkey people to become the state’s first federally recognized tribe.

Obsessed with the idea of white superiority, Plecker championed legislation that would codify the idea that people with one drop of “Negro” blood could not be classified as white. His efforts led the Virginia legislature to pass the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, a law that criminalized interracial marriage and also required that every birth in the state be recorded by race with the only options being “White” and “Colored.”

Plecker was proud of the law and his role in creating it. It was, he said, “the most perfect expression of the white ideal, and the most important eugenical effort that has been made in 4,000 years.

The act didn’t just make blacks in Virginia second-class citizens — it also erased any acknowledgment of Indians, whom Plecker claimed no longer truly existed in the commonwealth. With a stroke of a pen, Virginia was on a path to eliminating the identity of the Pamunkey, the Mattaponi, the Chickahominy, the Monacan, the Rappahannock, the Nansemond and the rest of Virginia’s tribes…

Read the entire article here.

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How Race Is Conjured

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2015-06-29 22:20Z by Steven

How Race Is Conjured

Jacobin
2015-06-29

Karen E. Fields, Independent Scholar

Barbara J. Fields, Professor of History
Columbia University, New York, New York

The fiction of race hides the real source of racism and inequity in America today.

In the three years since Trayvon Martin was killed, the realities of police racism and violence, of segregation from schools to swimming pools, and of the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow have returned to mainstream discussions. And now as Confederate flags disappear in the wake of the murders in Charleston, racism is once again at the center of the popular consciousness.

There is a window, then, for the US left to push a deeper and broader conversation about the implications of racism and to build working-class organizations that fight for social justice for all.

But that opportunity will only be open to the degree we can overcome the ideological legacy of the last three decades. Since the 1980s, structural inequality has been increasingly replaced by personal responsibility as the main explanation for gross inequality. At the same time, attention to persistent and structural racism faded, supplanted by a focus on race and “race relations.”

This could not have been possible without the enshrinement of race as a natural category, the spread of the fiction that certain traits define members of one “race” and differentiate them from members of other races.

No one has better articulated why race cannot serve as the starting point for discussions about inequality in the United States — and what we miss when they are — than Barbara and Karen Fields, authors of the 2012 book Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life.

Barbara and Karen were interviewed for Jacobin last week by Jason Farbman, a member of the International Socialist Organization in New York…

Read the entire interview here.

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What President Obama’s historic week means for his legacy

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-06-29 20:58Z by Steven

What President Obama’s historic week means for his legacy

MSNBC
2015-06-28

Benjy Sarlin, Political Reporter

Every occupant of the White House experiences more than one presidency. There’s their actual time in office, an experience characterized by constant political conflict, a drumbeat of unanticipated crises large and small, and a trudging slog towards policy goals. Then there’s the version of their presidency that comes after they leave, as memories fade and history chisels away the various minor dramas until eventually all that remains for most Americans is an ultra­-condensed summary. This is the version passed down through generations, to those who never experienced that president’s tenure themselves and whose sense of history stems from one or two paragraphs in their high school textbook.

More than any other period in his presidency, the past week’s rapid succession of once­-in-­a-­lifetime moments closed the gap between President Obama’s day­ to ­day travails and his larger place in history.

“Progress on this journey often comes in small increments, sometimes two steps forward, one step back, propelled by the persistent effort of dedicated citizens,” as Obama put it in his response to the Supreme Court’s same sex marriage ruling Friday. “And then sometimes, there are days like this when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt.”

For a few days in June, change was dizzying in pace and so real it could be touched. Universal health care, as one conservative put it, is forever, thanks to the Supreme Court knocking down the Affordable Care Act’s last significant remaining challenge. Marriage equality is forever. This week’s bipartisan exorcism of the Confederacy’s 150­-year old demons is forever.

The avalanche of news sparked a discussion of two emerging views on Obama’s legacy – one focused on his policy accomplishments, the other as a symbol of underlying changes in the country that will long outlive his presidency…

…Obama’s election as the first black president – powered by landslide margins with black and Latino voters and historic turnout by younger voters – was hailed as a historic moment, but it was eclipsed almost immediately by the massive challenges that landed on his desk and the intense backlash his policy responses provoked on the right. The scope of this achievement came jarringly back into picture on Friday, however, when, as the Associated Press described it, ”America’s first black president sang [Amazing Grace], less than a mile from the spot where thousands of slaves were sold and where South Carolina signed its pact to leave the union a century and a half earlier.” It will move more and more to the forefront once there’s a new president dealing with the 24/7 reality show that is the White House and Obama settles into the more non-partisan, ceremonial role his surviving predecessors occupy today…

Read the entire article here.

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Episode 613 – President Barack Obama

Posted in Audio, Autobiography, Barack Obama, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Slavery, United States on 2015-06-22 21:29Z by Steven

Episode 613 – President Barack Obama

WTF with Marc Maron
Monday, 2015-06-22

Marc Maron, Host

Barack Obama, President of the United States


Marc and President Obama in the garage (Photo: Pete Souza)

Marc welcomes the 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, to the garage for conversation about college, fitting in, race relations, gun violence, changing the status quo, disappointing your fans, comedians, fatherhood and overcoming fear. And yes, this really happened. This episode is presented without commercial interruption courtesy of Squarespace. Go to MarcMeetsObama.com to see behind-the-scenes photos and captions.

Listen to the episode here. Download the episode here.

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U.S. ‘Not Cured’ of Racism, Obama Says, Citing Slavery’s Legacy

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Slavery, United States on 2015-06-22 20:40Z by Steven

U.S. ‘Not Cured’ of Racism, Obama Says, Citing Slavery’s Legacy

The New York Times
2015-06-22

Michael D. Shear, White House Correspondent

Christine Hauser, Reporter

WASHINGTON — Just days after nine black parishioners were killed in a South Carolina church, President Obama said the legacy of slavery still “casts a long shadow” on American life, and he said that choosing not to say the word “nigger” in public does not eliminate racism from society.

In a wide-ranging conversation about race, including his own upbringing as a man born to a black father and a white woman, Mr. Obama insisted that there was no question that race relations have improved in his lifetime. But he also said that racism was still deeply embedded in the United States.

“The legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination in almost every institution of our lives, you know, that casts a long shadow, and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on,” the president said during an interview for Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast that was released on Monday. “We’re not cured of it. And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not.”

He added, “Societies don’t overnight completely erase everything that happened two to 300 years prior.”

Mr. Obama has been more open about the issue of race during his second term, in part because of racially charged episodes in the last several years. The killing of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager in Florida, and the protests that followed several police shootings have prompted the president to be more reflective about his own racial identity and the nation’s.

In the hourlong interview, Mr. Obama talked about being a rebel during his youth and “trying on” different kinds of personas as he struggled to understand what kind of African-American man he wanted to be.

“I’m trying on a whole bunch of outfits,” Mr. Obama said. “Here’s how I should act. Here’s what it means to be cool. Here’s what it means to be a man.”

He said that a lot of his issues when he was young “revolved around race” but that his attitude changed around the time he turned 20. That is when he began to understand how to honor both sides of his racial identity, the president said.

“I don’t have to be one way to be both an African-American and also someone who affirms the white side of my family,” he said. “I don’t have to push back from the love and values that my mom instilled in me.”…

Read the entire article here.

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An open letter to President Obama: This is a moral emergency

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-06-21 03:17Z by Steven

An open letter to President Obama: This is a moral emergency

Jewish Journal
2015-06-19

Todd Samuel Presner, Professor and Director, Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies
University of California, Los Angeles

Dear President Barack Obama,

I appreciate your comments on the “heartache and the sadness and the anger” that many Americans are feeling after the shooting of nine African-American congregants at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. You pointed out that “this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries,” and you argued, as you have before, for stricter gun control laws. I agree. After the torture and death of Freddie Gray, you said that we – as a nation – have some soul-searching to do” and that race-based police violence was not something new. Indeed, it is not. After the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, you said that Trayvon could have been you “35 years ago,” and you pointed out the ways our criminal justice system disproportionately targets and imprisons African American men. You wondered: “But beyond protests or vigils, the question is, are there some concrete things that we might be able to do?”  After the strangulation of Eric Garner, you said that “this is not just a black problem or a brown problem. This is an American problem.” You are absolutely right. And after the death of Michael Brown, you said “we should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.” You called for prayers, peace, and soul-searching. But with all due respect President Obama, none of this is enough. We – all Americans – have to call this violence out for what it really is: It is racism. And racism perpetuated and legitimized by the persistent failure of Americans to confront this most urgent, most pernicious, and most vile moral and existential catastrophe at the core of our nation…

Read the entire article here.

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From Ferguson to Charleston and Beyond, Anguish About Race Keeps Building

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-06-21 02:59Z by Steven

From Ferguson to Charleston and Beyond, Anguish About Race Keeps Building

The New York Times
2015-06-20

Lydia Polgreen, Johannesburg Bureau Chief

Ferguson. Baltimore. Staten Island. North Charleston. Cleveland.

Over the past year in each of these American cities, an unarmed black male has died at the hands of a police officer, unleashing a torrent of anguish and soul-searching about race in America. Despite video evidence in several of the killings, each has spurred more discord than unity.

Grand juries have tended to give the benefit of the doubt to police officers. National polls revealed deep divisions in how whites and blacks viewed the facts in each case. Whites were more likely to believe officers’ accounts justifying the use of force. Blacks tended to see deeper forces at work: longstanding police bias against black men and a presumption that they are criminals.

Then, on Wednesday night, a young white man walked into a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., and joined a group of worshipers as they bowed their heads over their Bibles. He shot and killed nine of them. In his Facebook profile picture, the suspect, Dylann Roof, wore the flags of racist regimes in South Africa and the former Rhodesia.

The massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston was something else entirely from the police killings. But it, too, has become a racial flash point and swept aside whatever ambiguity seemed to muddle those earlier cases, baldly posing questions about race in America: Was the gunman a crazed loner motivated by nothing more than his own madness? Or was he an extreme product of the same legacy of racism that many black Americans believe sent Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Walter Scott and Tamir Rice to their graves?

The debate has already begun…

…America is living through a moment of racial paradox. Never in its history have black people been more fully represented in the public sphere. The United States has a black president and a glamorous first lady who is a descendant of slaves. African-Americans lead the country’s pop culture in many ways, from sports to music to television, where show-runners like Shonda Rhimes and Lee Daniels have created new black icons, including the political fixer Olivia Pope on “Scandal” and the music mogul Cookie Lyon on “Empire.”

It has become commonplace to refer to the generation of young people known as millennials as “post-racial.” Black culture has become so mainstream that a woman born to white parents who had claimed to be black almost broke the Internet last week by saying that she was “transracial.”

Yet in many ways, the situation of black America is dire…

Read the entire article here.

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