links for 2010-03-30

  • "Why the joke wasn't about channeling one's inner Oleta, which might have skirted the race issue, I don't know. But I do know the comment was made public, and it hurt me and it hurt some friends. A white man was given a chance to explode the box of stereotypes, and instead it became another opportunity to shove him – and singers like me – right back into that box. 'So free her,' indeed."
  • On Saturday, 28 people—the majority of them Latino and Spanish speaking—attended the second meeting of the TransLatinas, a new club at City College’s Mission campus.

    “We’re a group of people who are constantly being attacked by the heterosexual community. I’m tired of it. The attacks I suffer are mostly from the Latino community here in the Mission,” said 47-year-old Brenda Oliveira, a native of Mexico.

    The goal of the group is two fold: to encourage transgender Latinas to take advantage of English, computer, or certificate programs at City College and to educate the straight Latino community about transgender and GLBT issues.

  • "Mass Effect 2’s acceptance of the idea that being a member of a particular race dictates your personality forces the player into an almost comical crisis of liberalism. One can either be a Hawkish bad guy and see the treatment of the Krogan as a useful means to an unavoidable end, or one can be the hand-wringing good guy and accept that the Krogan are a community with their own values, and that we really should not judge their violent natures. What makes this worse is the fact that Mass Effect 2 has a moral choice system built into it, meaning that only the only character with genuine moral agency is the one controlled by the player. This concentration of power gives the game a rather unpleasantly colonial feel as it sets up Humanity as a US-style galactic policeman, bringing truth and justice to squabbling lesser peoples…I kept wanting to swap my character’s battle armour for diplomatic whites and a feathered pith helmet."
  • "if the Census Bureau lists Filipino and even Samoan as distinct races, Hispanics wonder why they — the product of half a millennium of New World miscegenation — aren't considered a race too. 'It's a very big issue,' says Angelo Falcón, president of the National Institute for Latino Policy in New York City and a community adviser to the Census. 'A lot of Hispanics find the black-white option offensive, and they're asserting their own racial uniqueness.'

    "Nor are they alone. Arabs, who would seem to have an even stronger race claim than Hispanics do, are trumpeting their own write-in campaign because the Census by default counts them as white — and the bureau announced this week that it has no intention of changing that policy in 2010."

  • "In the light of such valiant resistance, it seems well-nigh incredible that some five million Negroes have turned their backs on their own race and are passing as white. For almost a quarter of a century, this fantastic lie has been lived by large groups of Negroes with no sign of abatement despite the strong gains that have been made by the champions of anti-segregation." 
  • "But it's not just the contemporary slavery examples one finds inside the box truck that educates the visitors. The museum is designed to look at the history of slavery and forced labor — the evolution of it — and the fact that there has never been a period in Florida agriculture when there wasn't some form of forced labor. The exhibit was vetted by historians, slavery experts, economists and other academics, including Nation editorial board member Eric Foner who said, 'A century and a half after the Civil War, forms of slavery continue to exist in the world, including in the United States. This Mobile Museum brings to light this modern tragedy and should inspire us to take action against it.'"