Longform Links – The Negro Queen, Patterson and Gay Rights, Surviving the Ivy

Womanist Musings – The Negro Queen

    “Victor-Lévy Beaulieu, who has penned some 70 works of fiction, non-fiction, drama and poetry, referred to [Michaëlle Jean, Canada's Governor-General] as “La Reine-Nègre” — or negro queen — in an editorial he wrote for an independent newspaper.” Unrepentant, he refused to acknowledge the racism in his statement. “It has nothing to do with racism,” he told The Canadian Press in an interview from Trois-Pistoles, Que. “It’s not the colour of her skin that I’m attacking, it’s her role and the way she assumes it. It’s the role of a reine-nègre.” Michaëlle Jean is committed to an integrationist approach to French Canadians. It is the idea of unity, versus Quebec separatism that apparently drove Victor-Lévy Beaulieu to attack her in this manner. He further went on to say, “At a certain point you have to call a cat a cat,” he said. “We showered them (roi-nègres) with gifts, jewels, clothes, cheap junk … and they said exactly what the colonizers wanted them to say.”

This from a man who is demanding respect for his culture. When he looked at Michaëlle Jean, he did not see the Governor-General, all he saw was a black woman that had an agenda that was different from his. Were he truly criticizing her political stance, he would have felt no need to reference her race. It was meant to lessen her accomplishments, and assert his privilege as a white male.

New York Times – How Governor Set His Stance on Gay Rights

Mr. Paterson, who two months ago was unexpectedly elevated to be governor of New York, has accepted gay men and lesbians since early in life. From his first run for office, in 1985, he reached out to gays and lesbians, and in 1994, long before gay rights groups were broadly pushing for it, he said he supported same-sex marriage. [...]

In the interview, Mr. Paterson said he believes deeply that gay men and lesbians today face the same kind of civil rights battle that black Americans faced. He acknowledged that this position put him at odds with some black leaders, who bristle at such comparisons.

“In many respects, people in our society, we only recognize our own struggles,” Mr. Paterson said. “I’ve wanted to be someone in the African-American community who recognizes the new civil rights struggle that is being undertaken by gay and lesbian and transgendered people.”

Blackline – 9 Pearls of Wisdom for Conquering the Ivy League

Pearl #2: Beware of “You have so much potential”
If you are a minority, chances are you will run into a teacher who seems to like you a lot, and at this point they will make it their life mission to save you (kind of like Dangerous Minds). These teachers are extremely condescending and take it personally when you disagree with them in any way (you’re seen as fighting them, preventing them from helping you).

In their minds, you grew up in a single parent shack, your mother works three jobs, and you have 10 brothers and sisters, rather than being a son of a physician and a lawyer. It’s one thing to be admired by your teacher, it’s another being their charity, because in the end all your other classmates will win the awards, and you will get a pat on the back. [...]

Pearl #6: No matter what you do, you will always be seen as a product of Affirmative Action.

Get used to it. Whenever I walked around Columbia, I felt as though people were looking at me saying, “You’re lucky Lee Bollinger is our President or you wouldn’t be here.” At first it bothered me, then I was like, who cares? I’m here. And guess what? You better hope I’m not in the waiting room with you waiting to be interviewed. Because chances are, I might steal that job you wanted so badly.

Pearl #7: If you’re black, stay out of conversations about the Middle East.
It doesn’t matter what your major or coursework is, if you are at an Ivy League school, chances are you are going to get into a class discussion about the Middle East. Stay out of it. It will only get you into trouble. It doesn’t matter how you feel about Israel or Palestine, let them argue about it. That’s not our fight.

Pearl #8: If you are a Republican, tell people.

People will only respect you more. They may pretend not to, but they will. Don’t ask.