links for 2009-05-06

  • "We learned the sign for Hindu (thumb making mark on head), Bangladeshi (opening fist like a flower), Sikh (two hands making a turban), Tamil (hand across forehead), Sri Lankan (circling pointer finger at open palm), Muslim (hand in front of face moving down) and FOB (hands in boat shape and finger jumping out). I was surprised at how many of the signs were so blatant. “That’s racist!” I mouthed to Shazia as she signed ‘Moroccan’ (two hands making a niqab) for me. She mouthed back, “Deaf people are blunt.” Touched upon in an earlier post by Amardeep on Russel Peters’ and his deaf stand up routine, I thought about how space to be politically correct in a deaf world was marginalized. Sure, it makes for faster conversations, but I also wondered how racism and South Asian identities developed. Does it make it less racist since these signs are inherently how this community communicates?"
  • "Fifth-graders who feel they've been mistreated because of their skin color are much more likely than classmates without such feelings to have symptoms of mental disorders, especially depression, a study suggests. There is evidence that racial discrimination increases the odds that adolescents and adults will develop mental health problems, but this is the first study to examine a possible link in children of varied races, says Tumaini Coker, the study co-author and a RAND Corp. researcher and UCLA pediatrician."
  • "Specifically, its Google Maps division has published an overlay of the historical locations of "burakumin," the Japanese underclass which was socially shunned because of its association with death, such as butchering animals and digging graves, the AP reports. The stigma also attaches itself to the historical villages, since razed and replaced by modern cities, where burakumin used to live. It's one of the Google-supplied maps, which uses the slur "eta" to describe one such village, that has publicized the locations of these largely-forgotten villages. Although the prejudice dates back to the Japanese feudal era, modern descendants of burakumin face active discrimination; the AP quotes a hiring manager at a top Japanese company as saying that her firm actually works to prevent burakumin from being hired."
  • "The reaction to Sonia Sotomayor makes the perfect case for why we still need affirmative action. She's been a federal judge since the early 1990s, she served as an ADA in Manhattan, she's worked in private practice. On paper, she's qualified, but yesterday Jeffrey Rosen, admittedly knowing next to nothing about her, wrote that the summa cum laude from Princeton might not be "that smart." [...] This is exactly what affirmative action is meant to correct: People coming to the arbitrary conclusion that someone is "an idiot" despite all evidence to the contrary, except if you consider not being a white man evidence. "