Links – 2009-04-24

Shashwati’s Blog – Manufacturing Outrage – Slumdog and Its Discontents (via DeafMuslim)

Piecing the story together, it seems that the tabloid entrapped the family by posing as an Arab couple (being Arab increases the pathology, get it?), and offered to adopt Rubina and pay $300,000 to the family. This exchange took place via a translator since Rubina’s father doesn’t actually speak English. Rubina’s parents are divorced and the relationship between her parents is far from cordial. The mother wants custody of her daughter, the papers say after the film came out, but it could be an ongoing conflict, we don’t know.

There are a couple of interesting things in this story, firstly everyone is outraged at the father for considering adoption. This is hardly unusual, poor people have often given up their kids up to foster care for a time (the example of filmmaker Stan Brakhage comes to mind, he was in an orphanage for a while), and in India, its not unusual for kids to grow up in places other than their parents house – I lived with my aunt for a while, and my brother grew up at my grandparents place. The ideal of the soccer mom based nuclear family is quite recent. Yes, I get it, the proposed exchange of money is what really bothers people and everyone is sickened by the avariciousness of the family. Now if most people look into their family histories, they’re sure to find that uncle who took everything the other siblings should have inherited a fair share of. Yes, its terrible that people are greedy and criminal, but its hardly the province of the poor. So I wish people would take their outrage to where it belongs – a grossly unjust world where some countries are far richer than they deserve to be, and some people have the luxury of taking the moral high ground without every having to interact with the poor.

Guanabee – Dallas Morning News

The problem is not that Woolley fails to use statistical date or examples beyond the existence of Spanish-language Wal-Marts in her rebuttal… it’s the fact that her column is a rebuttal, referring directly to Linda Chavez’s column:

    If, as Linda Chavez seems to think, the intent of those who come to America illegally is simply to raise a family, send the kids to college and assimilate into American society, then where’s the problem? The problem is – that’s just simply not the case.

This doesn’t create a conversation or dialogue about the topic, nor does it seem fair that the Dallas Morning News’ editors chose which columnist would have the privilege of getting the “last word.” So was the purpose of running both articles to present opposing views on the lives of illegal immigrants… or simply to refute Linda Chavez’s points?

Comment is Free – Tamils Have Nowhere to Turn
(via Anna)

The Tamils have suffered terribly both at the hands of the LTTE and successive Sinhala-dominated governments. Reconciliation with them will take a government that has greater reverence for secularism than the present one. Sri Lankans have become inured to the pervasive Sinhala-supremacist racism and religious bigotry that the present government has brought to Sri Lanka.

It is this racism and bigotry more than any passionate belief in the LTTE that has now pushed a desperate Tamil community towards the LTTE.

Indeed, it is an insult to the Tamil people that all they have to represent their cause for emancipation are the Tamil Tigers. A group that not only systematically eliminated the political leadership of the Sri Lankan Tamils but wiped out the entire moderate Sinhala leadership and prevented Tamils from voting in elections.

Siditty – The Fear of Minority Rule

Once a few years back, me and the husband were talking about race, and I was rallying against the white power structure as per usual, and he responded with, if blacks were ruling, they would do the same things whites do and did. I then proceeded to curse him out and get silent on him, thinking that is the most racist thing he has ever said to me. I still think it is. The assumption is if whites lose their power, minorities, blacks in particular set out the revenge on whites. Call this racist, but my mother once said that blacks could never get to the level of cruel that whites did to us in America. We could never treat them as livestock, we couldn’t rape them and then sell the offspring to someone else to further exploit, we couldn’t see them as less intelligent, ignorant, and “beneath us”. I think to an extent this is true.

Not the cruel part, but the fact that if a minority “rule” was ever to take place we simply couldn’t do that because of the existing history as it stands now. The white power structure is in place, and the stays in the minds of people. Even if the white majority were to go away, no one is going to question white people’s intelligence as a group because the level of intelligence is based upon the white power structure. Minorities use these very tests to determine our own intelligence. No one is going to equate them with being a cow, chicken, or donkey, because we know that to not be the case. Even with more minorities in the country, overwhelmingly white people have positions of power, be it political, corporate, and financial. Whites run it, they have the money, they have the power. They are at an advantage. Am I saying all white folks are rich and in power. No. What I do believe is that those in power, they continue to relate and put people in power who look like themselves, which means if they hold power now, they will continue to hold power.

Newsweek – Raising Katie (via anitra_larae)

As a black father and adopted white daughter, Mark Riding and Katie O’Dea-Smith are a sight at best surprising, and at worst so perplexing that people feel compelled to respond. Like the time at a Pocono Mountains flea market when Riding scolded Katie, attracting so many sharp glares that he and his wife, Terri, 37, and also African-American, thought “we might be lynched.” And the time when well-intentioned shoppers followed Mark and Katie out of the mall to make sure she wasn’t being kidnapped. Or when would-be heroes come up to Katie in the cereal aisle and ask, “Are you OK?”—even though Terri is standing right there.

Is it racism? The Ridings tend to think so, and it’s hard to blame them.

Editor & Publisher – Minority Journos: Lack of Diversity a Cause of Newspaper Industry’s Crisis
(via Fatemeh)

“Years of progress were erased, and now newsrooms are moving in the opposite direction from the demographic composition of the communities they serve,” said Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan, president of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA).

The leaders of associations representing black, Hispanic, Asian American and Native American journalists said they well understand that newspaper employment is shrinking. But they said they are alarmed about numbers showing minority newsroom employment falling faster — and that the idea of employing newsrooms that reflect the ethnic and racial diversity has been a principal victim of industry cutbacks.

LA Times – High School Exit Exam Hinders Female and Non White Students, Study Says
(via Rob Schmidt)

California’s high school exit exam is keeping disproportionate numbers of girls and non-whites from graduating, even when they are just as capable as white boys, according to a study released Tuesday. It also found that the exam, which became a graduation requirement in 2007, has “had no positive effect on student achievement.”

The study by researchers at Stanford University and UC Davis concluded that girls and non-whites were probably failing the exit exam more often than expected because of what is known as “stereotype threat,” a theory in social psychology that holds, essentially, that negative stereotypes can be self-fulfilling. In this case, researcher Sean Reardon said, girls and students of color may be tripped up by the expectation that they cannot do as well as white boys.

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