links for 2008-02-06

Has Class Trumped Race? Part 1 – Understanding Privilege

by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson

Gossip Girl

Have you seen the Class Privilege checklist?

I had not. Apparently, this was a staff development exercise on class privilege that made it to the internet and has launched a thousand comments and counter-posts.

I originally found this through Donna Darko, who found it through Bint Alshamsa.

The instructions are simple. While in the classroom, you would take a step forward for each item that is in your experience. In the blogosphere, you simply bold the item. (I have given my answers below. Part two of this series will explore the events around many of these items, as these widely depend on circumstance and location.)

When you were in college:

If your father went to college, take a step forward.
If your father finished college
If your mother went to college
If your mother finished college
If you have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.
If you were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
If you had a computer at home
If you had your own computer at home
If you had more than 50 books at home
If you had more than 500 books at home
If were read children’s books by a parent
If you ever had lessons of any kind
If you had more than two kinds of lessons
If the people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively
If you had a credit card with your name on it
If you have less than $5000 in student loans

If you have no student loans
If you went to a private high school
If you went to summer camp
If you had a private tutor
If you have been to Europe
If your family vacations involved staying at hotels
If all of your clothing has been new and bought at the mall
If your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
If there was original art in your house
If you had a phone in your room
If you lived in a single family house
If your parent own their own house or apartment
If you had your own room
If you participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
If you had your own cell phone in High School
If you had your own TV in your room in High School
If you opened a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
If you have ever flown anywhere on a commercial airline
If you ever went on a cruise with your family
If your parents took you to museums and art galleries
If you were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.

There has been a bit of criticism aimed toward this checklist, best summarized in this response.

But do the criticisms hold some truth?

Continue reading

links for 2008-02-05

Racialicious for Obama


“We could make history by being the first time in a very long time where a grassroots movement of people of all colors — black, white, Hispanic, Asian — rose up, and went up against the princes, the powers, and principalities, and actually won a presidency.”
–Barack Obama, January 13, 2008

It’s official — Racialicious is endorsing Barack Obama as president of the United States. Read on for statements from Carmen Van Kerckhove, Wendi Muse, Fatemeh Fakhraie and Latoya Peterson.

From Carmen

If you’ve been reading Racialicious for any time, you probably know that I have an irrational love for dance movies and an irrational dislike of red bean soup.

One thing you might not know about me, however, is that I’m not a U.S. citizen; I’m only a green card holder. I’ve never been bothered by the fact that I’m not able to vote in this country — until now.

For the first time ever, there’s a candidate whom I really, really want to see elected as president: Barack Obama.

Does Obama appeal to me because he’s multiracial, like myself? Because many of his relatives are Asian? Because in living abroad, he’s had the same international Third Culture Kid (TCK) experiences as me? In part, yes.

But what really excites me about Obama is that he is completely in touch with how race in America is lived in 2008. He understands that race is not just about who’s black and who’s white, or who’s a victim and who’s an oppressor. He’s fearless about addressing institutional racism, but is absolutely uninterested in playing oppression olympics. His message is one of hope and change, yet he doesn’t sugarcoat the realities of racism or insist on engaging in meaningless celebrations of diversity. He proudly identifies as a black man, yet is committed to bringing together people of all races.

In short, Barack Obama epitomizes the core beliefs that drive everything I do.

I believe that this country will fundamentally shift the way it thinks and talks about race if Obama wins the presidency. And I’m filled with excitement and hope when I think about the possibility for that sea change.

From Wendi

I’ve been fairly quiet with regard to my support of Barack Obama as the Democratic Presidential Nominee mainly because I wavered so long between him and Hillary Clinton. I respect them both and would honestly be really happy if either of them gained the nomination. No matter who makes it to the final election (and, hopefully, the White House), history has been made.

However, for me, there are two things that have influenced me to support Obama. Some asked if it had to do with my racial background, understandably, considering that so many Americans for centuries have voted based on their racial background . . . then again, all the last presidents have been white males, if that says anything. No, it wasn’t about race, I assured them, as I fully acknowledge that people of color can make just as great or just as poor leaders as whites; perfect examples of the aforementioned can be observed throughout the “Global South,” where people of color are often in the majority and, save for their respective colonial periods, hold political office.

For me, what compelled me to consider myself an Obama supporter was his approach to foreign policy and his adherence to keeping a clean campaign. The candidates are so similar on certain issues, but these two things are some of the few that really stood out to me as their being strikingly different. Continue reading

Politics: A Color-by-Numbers Study

by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson

Mitty Loves the Kids!

In the aftermath of Democratic battle over the black vote, I started thinking about how politics tend to shake out among racial lines. While I cannot speak to why whole groups of people vote one way or another (theories abound) I can explain a little of what has shaped my views and beliefs.

Part of that reason is the complete and total lack of interest in minority issues from the Republican camp. They aren’t really interested in diversity or social justice. If Republicans are interested in black voters, it’s more of a superficial interest, at best. You don’t really want to talk to me, you just want to use the word “bling” in a sentence.

(Exhibit A: The pic I chose for this piece. I expect if Mitt Romney was a bit more current, he would have yelled out “Mitty loves the kids!” as opposed to quoting the Baja Men. Alas, one can only dream…in da wind…in da wind…)

At any rate, I do try to occasionally see what Republicans are discussing and see if there have been any major shifts in the party that are worth noticing. I was recently directed to this column by Larry Elder, a self-proclaimed Libertarian who just so happens to roll with the Republicans.

In “A Democrat or A Republican?” Elder tries to explain why people vote on way or another. The logic he employs to demonstrate this baffles my mind:

Republicans believe hard work wins, and government should allow you — to the fullest extent possible — to keep what you earn. Democrats believe that success results from luck, chance and happenstance, and therefore a just government takes from those who have and gives to those who do not.

Hard work wins? Really? And y’all backed a President who looks at Camp David as a lifestyle choice? Half-jokes aside, I notice this is a common way to frame the debate between parties – one party wants people to work hard and achieve, the other party wants handouts. From a more leftist perspective, one could argue that Republicans stand for corporate welfare and old boys clubs while others just want the opportunity to work hard. It’s really in how you look at things.

Republicans believe discrimination to fix previous discrimination remains discrimination, and that all a government can be is just in its own time. Democrats wish to use government to “rectify” past wrongs, which they hold responsible for today’s “inequities.”

So…you’re saying there aren’t inequities today? No skill gaps? This isn’t just a black and white issue. And we don’t need to “rectify” past wrongs? Why is rectify in quotes? I have yet to think of a problem that one can solve by ignoring it and hoping it goes away. I suppose we can call this the “fuck it, it’s time to move on” defense. Things happened in the past, but we need to press on to a new future. However, if we never face our past, how can we possibly act like we have laid all the issues to rest?

I am not sure about anyone else here… but in my life, running from old problems tends to create more problems in the long run.

Republicans believe that government should empower the individual — that a government that taxes least taxes best. Democrats want individuals to empower government, and support policies that redistribute income from person A to “deserving” person B.

Continue reading

links for 2008-02-02