Open Thread: Racial Politics

by Latoya Peterson

I’ve learned quite a bit from this thread, but now, I have a question.

Some people seem to be very angry with Barack Obama for not publicly advocating for black interests.

(For this discussion, we will lay aside the concept of a black agenda for politics and assume that we are talking specifically about policy issues that deal with something that disproportionately affects the black community.)

When people claim they want a politician who looks out for their community, what are they asking for? Who would be a good example of this?

Now readers, someone quickly comes to my mind, but I do not think that is what you meant. Because when I think of a black politician who looked out for his constituency, I think of…

Marion Barry. Continue reading

Longform Links – Bobby J, Racism & Fear, Single Cause Activism

Sepia Mutiny – Evolution Vs. Bobby Jindal

For as long as this blog has been around, Bobby Jindal has been a source of controversy in the comment threads. Should South Asian Americans support him because he is an undisputedly intelligent politician and desi like us, or is it okay to turn our backs on him because we fundamentally disagree with his policies and the type of America that he represents? Both answers are of course correct, depending upon what matters most to you as an individual voter.

Resist Racism – Them.

I don’t understand the purpose of coming to community events if you are not actually interacting with the community. And when I say “interacting,” I don’t mean that you eat their food or watch them in their strange cultural rituals. I mean that you might actually attempt to develop relationships with those people. And maybe you might not treat them like your servants as you dip your toe into your cultural experience.

Lately I’ve been a little too aware of being one of them when among you all. And I see your children watching, too.

I have tried for a long time to be understanding of white people’s fears when it comes to interacting with people of color. But frankly, since they usually manifest as privilege and patronage, I’m having a hard time. During a seminar on racism, a white woman voiced her anxieties about entering communities of color. I commented that was one of the ways that racism had harmed us all. But then she was quick to deny that fear was a product of racism.

Oh, okay. Continue reading

Are We Too Intense?

by Guest Contributor Wendi Muse

While having dinner with a work mate of mine last night, I ended up discussing acceptance of whites into communities of color and vice versa in addition to interracial relationships. My friend, who is white, noted that I often “didn’t give people enough credit,” and made me to come to the ultimate conclusion that I have a rather pessimistic view of race relations in America, and quite frankly, within the world as a whole. As a black woman, I look around me and am constantly reminded that the group to which I belong is rarely seen as beautiful (unless enhanced by synthetic means of infinitely approaching whiteness), or intelligent, or responsible, or equal. But our discussion made me reflect on the source of my expectations for others.

Was I being harsh because of my personal experiences in which racism worked as a key element in rejection or could it be that people really had changed and I had not given them the chance to demonstrate? Continue reading

links for 2008-06-26

Name our book!

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

I’ve decided to take the plunge and do a Racialicious book!

For various reasons (including the fact that we probably wouldn’t get a $300,000 advance *coughstuffwhitepeoplelikecough*) we’re gonna go the self-publishing route. Thanks to Torontonian for the suggestion!

The book will be an anthology of our best posts over the past four years. While I haven’t yet finalized which posts will be included, I can tell you that the selections will cover a broad range of topics: everything from reality TV to interracial porn, from electoral politics to transracial adoption. I may even sneak in a little Keanu love. :)

So here’s where I need your help.

What should we name the book? Post suggestions in a comment here, or email me at carmen@newdemographic.com.

If I decide to use your title, you’ll get a free copy of the Racialicious book (out this fall, if all goes according to plan) and a free one-year subscription to Addicted to Race Premium!

Feel free to come up with as many title ideas as you can — the more the better!

Ralph Nader: Obama “Wants to Talk White”

by Latoya Peterson

It never ends.

Ralph Nader, in an interview with the Rocky Mountain News had this to say about Barack Obama:

Nader was asked if Obama is any different than Democrats he has criticized in the past, considering Obama’s pledge to reject campaign contributions from registered lobbyists.

“There’s only one thing different about Barack Obama when it comes to being a Democratic presidential candidate. He’s half African-American,” Nader said. “Whether that will make any difference, I don’t know. I haven’t heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What’s keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white? He doesn’t want to appear like Jesse Jackson? We’ll see all that play out in the next few months and if he gets elected afterwards.”

The Obama campaign had only a brief response, calling the remarks disappointing.

Asked to clarify whether he thought Obama does try to “talk white,” Nader said: “Of course. Continue reading

In South Africa, Chinese is the New Black

by Latoya Peterson

“S Africa Chinese ‘Become Black’”

I spotted this headline while surfing the BBC newsfeed last week – at the time, bloglines was behaving badly, so I didn’t have a chance to post about it.

No worries though – at least six of you sent me the tip, as well as the article in the Wall Street Journal.

For those of you who may have missed the news:

The High Court in South Africa has ruled that Chinese South Africans are to be reclassified as black people.

It made the order so that ethnic Chinese can benefit from government policies aimed at ending white domination in the private sector. [...]

The association said Chinese South Africans had faced widespread discrimination during the years of apartheid when they had been classified as people of mixed race.

The BBC’s Mpho Lakaje in Johannesburg says the Broad-Based Economic Empowerment and the Employment Equity Acts were designed to eradicate the legacy of apartheid which left many black people impoverished.

The laws give people classed as blacks, Indians and coloureds (mixed-race) employment and other economic benefits over other racial groups.

Now this story has gained international traction, probably because of the ham-fisted way the government decided to deal with the issue – by adding the Chinese to an existing ethnic group, rather that just adding Chinese people to the protected classes.

But what struck me most wasn’t the article – it was the reaction of many of the other readers around the web. Continue reading