Compiled by Latoya Peterson

Washington Monthly – Black and Blue

The violence perpetrated by the P.G. cops is a curious development. Usually, police brutality is framed as a racial issue: Rodney King suffering at the hands of a racist white Los Angeles Police Department or more recently, an unarmed Timothy Thomas, gunned down by a white Cincinnati cop. But in more and more communities, the police doing the brutalizing are African Americans, supervised by African-American police chiefs, and answerable to African-American mayors and city councils. In the case of P.G. County, the brutality is cast against the backdrop of black America’s power base, the largest concentration of the black middle class in the country.

[Latoya’s Note – The above article was published in 2001, but I felt like we should bring this one back out, considering the nature of the news being submitted.]

Salon – Oakland Mourns

The four officers’ murders stunned and saddened the broad Bay Area community, but there had been a few discordant notes. There’s long been tension between the Oakland Police and the city’s low-income black community, as in most other big cities. It was inflamed most recently by the New Year’s Day killing of unarmed Oakland resident Oscar Grant, who was shot by BART police, not Oakland cops. Despite this tense background, most Oakland residents of every race and class were horrified by the killings, but there were a few examples of callousness and cruelty. The Associated Press reported that about 20 residents taunted police when they came to retrieve their fallen comrades in East Oakland on Saturday. The irrelevant resistance group Uhuru House even held a poorly attended rally Wednesday to defend Lovelle Mixon and criticize the police who killed him.

Friday was the day the rest of Oakland spoke for itself. Waiting in line to enter the Arena, I found myself next to a bunch of middle-aged and older men and women in motorcycle gear — black leather jackets, badges, leather caps. They looked like respectable, aging Hell’s Angel’s — law-abiding but still formidable. I asked the big, bald-headed, muscular guy next to me what the group was.”We’re the Patriot Guards,” he explained. “It’s a motorcycle group, made up mostly of ex-vets who go to funerals and homecomings of veterans, policemen and firemen.” The big guy’s name was Jay Cobb and he was a law enforcement officer at the Lawrence Livermore Lab. He had known one of the slain cops, Mark Dunakin, had played football with him, and had come with a bunch of his colleagues to pay his respects. He said that on the way in, people were lined up on overpasses showing their support.

Dennetmint – Web 3.0

*Profiling by leveraging existing technology: This was by far the most disturbing. The panelists mentioned there was existing technology already used by law enforcement to capture criminals by recognizing race, gender and many other features. What if this could be leveraged online to direct users to relevant suggestions and material? We are far from being beyond the constructions of race and gender. Why is it so important for demographic questionnaires to further subdivide”‘white” into “white/non-Hispanic” or “Hispanic?” The classification has more to do with U.S. immigration than universal truth; every country defines race differently.

* In a recent example of institutionalizing race, SXSW offered a t-shirt with a white woman listening to her iPod. This was the only t-shirt they sold with any human figure on it, and instead of leaving the skin tone blank, they colored it in with a soft peach. “White” has become the new racelessness.

As far as gender and sex is concerned, which would image recognition be trying to identify? So many problems with gender and sex come from their dichotomies. Many contemporary human rights movements are trying to move beyond that. How might this technology reinforce what we’re trying to leave behind?

Associated Press – North Korea says two US Journalists Will Stand Trial

SEOUL, South Korea — Two American journalists detained at North Korea’s border with China earlier this month will be indicted and tried for illegal entry and hostile acts, Pyongyang’s state-run news agency said Tuesday.

The Korean Central News Agency report did not say when a trial might take place, but said moves to indict the Americans are under way as the investigation continues.

“The illegal entry of U.S. reporters into the DPRK and their suspected hostile acts have been confirmed by evidence and their statements,” the report said, referring to the country by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Euna Lee and Laura Ling, reporters for former Vice President Al Gore’s San Francisco-based Current TV media venture, were detained by North Korean border guards March 17.

Salon – Crime, Punishment…and MTV

[T]he show [T.I.’s Road to Redemption] was also easy viewing because all the episodes are of a piece; show after show it’s “same formula, different troubled teen.” Each episode is structured around the rapper’s (er, MTV producer’s) “four-step process” to adolescent reform, which T.I. recites: 1) sneak up on the wayward youth; 2) show ’em what they’re doing wrong; 3) show ’em the likely outcome of said wrong; and 4) inspire change by exhibiting alternative choices.

At the crux of the show’s formula sits a tactic that’s hardly new: the “scared-straight” approach. T.I. takes his young charges to funeral homes, prisons or backyards of bullet-scarred former O.G.s, which usually makes the kids shed a tear and rehearse penitent platitudes. Ever since its ’70s-era inception at Rahway State Prison, after all, the Scared Straight Program has been ready for its close-up: From the 1978 Oscar-winning documentary “Scared Straight!” to the 1999 MTV series of the same name, it has produced many a TV-friendly moment — but little more. Various studies, including one by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, suggest that Scared Straight-style programs were not just unproductive but counterproductive: Recidivism rates for those who participated in the program proved higher than for those who hadn’t, and Scared Straight-type intervention increased odds of offending by 1.7 percent.

The Village Voice – Another Love TKO: Teens Grapple with Rihanna vs. Chris Brown

[W]e’ve moved into a viral world without boundaries, where more voices are heard, raw and uncensored, because of the anonymity the Web offers. And now, nearly two decades later, the conversation about misogyny among young people, hip-hop culture, and society in general needs to address another very real facet: the hatred of women by women. “By definition, misogyny is about the hatred of women. It’s not gender-specific,” says Morgan, who saw gender-trumping violence when covering the Mike Tyson rape trial for the Voice in ’91. “So there are men who hate women, and other women who hate women.” The teenage girls’ unconditional, sometimes puzzling support of Chris Brown isn’t necessarily misogynistic; their acrimonious contempt for Rihanna—their hatred—is.

One thing is clear: Educators must incorporate the issue of gender violence into the curriculum on a national scale, because many families are finding it difficult to talk about it at home. “Only two states, Texas and Rhode Island, have mandated educational programs around relationship abuse,” says Mendez Berry. “But I think it’s clear that young people really need to learn how to have healthy relationships and how to resolve conflict in a constructive way.”

Ta-Nehisi Coates – These Streets, No Game. Can’t Ball, Don’t Play…

The other thing I learned in the conscious community was the value of critical thinking. The idea was that you live in a world where the Tuskegee experiments actually happened, where the FBI did plot to destroy the Panthers, where J. Edgar Hoover terrorized black leaders from Garvey to Huey Newton. In that vein, you should be skeptical of what you see and hear. This is the perspective of Mos is coming from. (Note the Assata reference.) But here’s the thing–if you really get that message, it ultimately leads you to be critical, not just of the larger white narrative, but of the narrative put forth by those around you.

So here’s the deal–I was was a history major at Howard University. I came to that school believing very much in an Afrocentric view of history. From that perspective, my first semester was just devastating. I had a professor, Dr. Linda Heywood, who specialized in taking on kids like me (the ones who believed ancient Egypt built fighter jets) and forcing us to face facts. She was, of course, a trained historian who was used to debating kids like me, and for every Chancellor Williams or Diop I whipped out, she had a David Brion Davis or a Eugene Genovese.

I couldn’t escape by dismissing her as part of a white plot–she was not just a black woman, but a black woman with a PhD in African History, who was teaching at the most storied black university in the country. I couldn’t attack her street cred, and so I had to engage the argument. I found her infuriating–which led me to take two more classes from her. A buddy of mine recalls the most poignant moment for us under her tutelage. At the end of a particularly debilitating lecture, she looked at us and said, “So with all the evidence I’ve given you, explain to me why blacks are not inferior to whites.”

Hyphen – Women’s History Month Profile: Mary Tape

Anyway, last week I attended a reading of the book that accompanies the exhibition, Asian American Art: A History, 1850-1970, by two of the book’s brilliant editors, SFSU art professor Mark Johnson (who led the whole effort and curated the exhibition) and former Smithsonian curator and art critic Paul Karlstrom. (Will they marry me, in aggregate?) During the Q & A Mark mentioned a letter written by Mary Tape to the San Francisco Board of Education in 1885 on behalf of her eldest child, Mamie, who was refused entry into a white public school. Here’s an excerpt:

    I see that you are going to make all sorts of excuses to keep my child out off the Public schools. Dear sirs, Will you please to tell me! Is it a disgrace to be Born a Chinese? Didn’t God make us all!!! What right have you to bar my children out of the school because she is a chinese Decend. They is no other worldly reason that you could keep her out, except that. I suppose, you all goes to churches on Sundays! Do you call that a Christian act to compell my little children to go so far to a school that is made in purpose for them.

Of course, she goes on to distinguish her children from the rest of the Chinese thus:

    My children don’t dress like the other Chinese. They look just as phunny amongst them as the Chinese dress in Chinese look amongst you Caucasians. Besides, if I had any wish to send them to a chinese school I could have sent them two years ago without going to all this trouble. … See if the Tape’s is not same as other Caucasians, except in features.

Yes sah, ABC/FOB tensions already in 1885! I’m sure Frank Chin would have trenchant things to say about this letter! Nevertheless, Mary Tape and her family made history with an early school desegregation lawsuit that was one for the books.

About This Blog

Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at

The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.

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