Month: January 2010

January 31, 2010 / / Uncategorized
January 29, 2010 / / adoption

By Thea Lim

The following is from the blog Adoptees of Colour Roundtable:

This statement reflects the position of an international community of adoptees of color who wish to pose a critical intervention in the discourse and actions affecting the child victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti. We are domestic and international adoptees with many years of research and both personal and professional experience in adoption studies and activism. We are a community of scholars, activists, professors, artists, lawyers, social workers and health care workers who speak with the knowledge that North Americans and Europeans are lining up to adopt the “orphaned children” of the Haitian earthquake, and who feel compelled to voice our opinion about what it means to be “saved” or “rescued” through adoption.

We understand that in a time of crisis there is a tendency to want to act quickly to support those considered the most vulnerable and directly affected, including children. However, we urge caution in determining how best to help. We have arrived at a time when the licenses of adoption agencies in various countries are being reviewed for the widespread practice of misrepresenting the social histories of children. There is evidence of the production of documents stating that a child is “available for adoption” based on a legal “paper” and not literal orphaning as seen in recent cases of intercountry adoption of children from Malawi, Guatemala, South Korea and China. We bear testimony to the ways in which the intercountry adoption industry has profited from and reinforced neo-liberal structural adjustment policies, aid dependency, population control policies, unsustainable development, corruption, and child trafficking….
Read the Post Quoted: Adoptees of Colour Statement on Haiti

January 29, 2010 / / advertising
January 28, 2010 / / random

by Latoya Peterson

After I hit up the AAA conference on race, I had to dash over to the Root’s offices to make a 4 PM podcast.  Natalie Hopkinson had kindly invited me to join them on The Confab, The Root’s Podcast.  Here’s the description:

This week on The Confab: Why is Haiti so unlucky? How has new media impacted earthquake relief efforts? And, will someone tell Pat Robertson to please shut up? Plus, the ever-evolving state of race? How possible is it to have a productive discussion. Join The Root‘s media and culture critic Natalie Hopkinson as she talks with managing editor Joel Dreyfuss, Jesse Washington of the Associated Press, Natalie Y. Moore from Chicago Public Radio and Racialicious’ Latoya Peterson.

You can listen to the Confab here.  Regular readers and listeners to ATR will notice that I start to get a bit frustrated midway through.  While I enjoy Natalie Hopkinson’s work, and found Jesse Washington a nice and funny guy, it can be challenging – particularly in a radio/television format – to break down complex ideas about race in a few seconds without getting cut off.

Sometimes, this is just the medium.  I was asked by Jesse Washington who are white professional anti-racists outside of Tim Wise, and I couldn’t think of any off the top of my head. I referred to Nezua, the Unapologetic Mexican as someone who had more experience dealing with white anti-racists, but it came out wrong.  It sounded like I was saying “Nez knows all the white people” when really, I was thinking about this video that he made for News with Nezua (transcript here):

News With Nezua | The White Professional Anti-Racist from nezua on Vimeo.

(Also, see what happens on Nez’s site when he posts this video, and the reaction from a “White Professional Anti-Racist”.)

So there’s that.  But Washington also asked me if I was an “anti racist activist” which actually gave me some pause. Read the Post The Root’s Confab and Random Thoughts About Talking About Race

January 28, 2010 / / celebrities
January 28, 2010 / / language

By Deputy Editor Thea Lim

As if independent bookstores don’t already have enough to worry about, Fidel Martinez at Guanabee writes about a language controversy at Atticus Bookstore in New Haven:

Atticus Book Store and Cafe, located in New Haven, Connecticut, has caused a controversy over a recent policy decision to require all Hispanic employees to only speak English within a customer’s earshot.

The staff is allowed to speak Spanish, but only in restricted areas.

A document from the bookstore states:

Spanish is allowed in the prep area, the dishwasher area and the lower level. Let’s make our customers feel welcome and comfortable.

“Let’s make our customers feel welcome and comfortable”? Yeeeeouch. (And yes that stuff about “the dishwasher area” is plain unfortunate.)

I’m sure I’m not the only one on this site who feels happy, or even relieved, when I hear multiple languages being spoken in a space – even though I’m a filthy monolinguist myself.   Places where people are welcome to bring their culture with them, are places where I feel comfortable.  So you have to wonder just who Atticus is referring to, when they imagine customers who feel uncomfortable when they hear Spanish.

And despite when I might’ve been led to believe by The Great Gatsby, it doesn’t sound like New Haven is some enclave of pearl-grabbing ethnocultural anglo purists.  Martinez goes on to report:

This new directive has pissed off members of Yale University (Atticus is located next to Yale’s British Arts Center) and the New Haven Workers Association. The latter sent out an email to local community groups like the New Haven Labor Council and Unidad Latino En Accion protesting what they deem to be racism in the workplace.

Apparently though, Atticus is within their legal rights to demand its employees speak English.
Read the Post Independent Bookstore Restricts Spanish Speaking Outside of “Dishwasher Area”

January 28, 2010 / / Uncategorized
January 28, 2010 / / politics

By Guest Contributor Tammy Johnson, originally published at Colorlines

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January 27, 2010

Brothers, sisters and all of those in transition,

I come to you today not as your elected leader, but simply as a Black woman striving for justice, a single voice delivering a few words of caution and hope about the state of our union.

Some of you may think that we should reserve this moment for our duly elected President. The Constitution does suggest that from time to time the President should “recommend measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” And there should be an acute sense of urgency when it comes to our situation. With poverty and unemployment rising as quickly as wealth is falling in communities of color, it is critical that we hear President Obama’s plan and vision for our future.

But I say that the weight of this moment is too substantial to leave to one man, or to the gum-flapping of partisan spin doctors and Madison Avenue desk jockeys. The state of our union deserves a broader, more grounded assessment that includes the role we have played in nation building.

Let’s be honest. As a movement, we have engaged in a great deal of in-fighting between those propelled by the hope of the 2008 election and those deflated by the realities of the 2009 administration. Some trumpeted the signing of SCHIP while others raged at the lack of care for immigrants and women in the health insurance bill. The push and pull among us has gone far beyond a healthy dialectic that nurtures our work.

Many seem to have forgotten that what is most important is not the man, but the mission.
Read the Post The State of OUR Union