Confronting Racism Raises Self-Esteem

by Guest Contributor Jenn, originally published at Reappropriate


New America Media posts a story about a study that looked at methods for coping with racism. Scientists surveyed nearly 200 Filipino Americans, and found that 99% of those surveyed had experienced at least one form of everyday racism in the last year. More importantly, those who reported the incident to authorities, or who directly confronted the perpetrator, experienced reduced anxiety and heightened self-esteem in the wake of the incident.

Coming up with a plan to respond to racism may foster a “you can do it’ attitude, a sense of empowerment that buffers against distress and feelings of victimhood,” Alvarez says. Coping by confiding in friends and family was found to increase men’s psychological distress and lower their selfesteem. The authors believe this surprising finding suggests that seeking social support may not always be helpful — particularly if talking about racism implies that the situation is unchangeable or if it causes a person distress by having to relive difficult experiences.

“What’s striking is we found that racism is still happening to Filipinos,” Alvarez says. “Therapists need to look beyond the frequent portrayal of Asian Americans as model minorities and help clients assess what their best coping strategy could be, depending on their resources, what’s feasible and who they could turn to for support.”

In a way, these findings are not surprising. From my own personal experiences, choosing to ignore a racist incident or being denied the opportunity to respond leads to a great deal of personal anxiety and private recrimination. I re-play the incident over and over in my head, trying to come up with different ways that I could have dealt with the situation differently. But, on the other hand, it takes a great deal of courage to confront someone about their racism.
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links for 2010-04-27

Why Do I Hate Steve Zahn’s Davis in ‘Treme’?

by Guest Contributor Aymar Jean Christian, originally published at Televisual


HBO’s Treme is growing into an intricate and well-written show! While it lacks the political pizazz of The Wire, it makes up for it by giving us characters we instantly care about — or at least I care about. I think it might yet be a great drama, despite my reservations!

But I have one problem: Davis McAlary (played by Steve Zahn). I hate this guy. I realized why this week.

GET THOSE GENTRIFYING GAYS!

First, let me recount a situation from the last episode, which made me realize my feelings.

Davis has been blasting music from his apartment window into his neighbors’ house, mostly jazz and hip hop. This week, the gay yuppie neighbors confront him about it. “Why are you being so nasty about this? You have a problem with gay people?” Davis says no, he loves gays (see, we’re supposed to like Davis). Why does Davis hate the guppies? It’s a really original argument**: “You moved into the Treme. You tear the place up. You put in your birdcage, your flower gardens and you don’ t have a fucking clue as to where the fuck you are living.”

See, the gays are sill gentrifiers who want to “historically preserve” homes but don’t know anything about the neighborhood whose property rates their raising! “It’s called gentrification. This is the Treme dude! The most musically important black neighborhood in America,” says Davis, as he starts listing artists that lived in the block. He asks the gays: “did you know that?”

“I know all about the Treme,” older gay insists. Wait, is this a different breed of gentrifying gay?

But Davis keeps on listing artists. Finally the gay person rattles off the name of a jazz great too. See, the guppies grew up in New Orleans. “We’re as much New Orleans as you are.” Nuance?

Caught off guard, Davis goes on to accuse the gays of complaining to the cops about his stereo and other music in the ‘hood being too loud.

The gays says they’re innocent: “We have never once called the cops,” the older gay says, believably — and inexplicably — I think.

Davis goes on, he doesn’t believe them. “You live in the Treme. Gotta deal with that shit.” Continue reading

“We Get Shit Done to Us:” Economic and State Sponsored Violence in Treme

by Latoya Peterson

*Spoilers Ahead*

Stiffer stipulations attached to each sentence
Budget cutbacks but increased police presence
And even if you get out of prison still livin
join the other five million under state supervision
This is business, no faces just lines and statistics
from your phone, your zip code, to S-S-I digits
The system break man child and women into figures
Two columns for who is, and who ain’t niggaz
Numbers is hardly real and they never have feelings
but you push too hard, even numbers got limits
Why did one straw break the camel’s back? Here’s the secret:
the million other straws underneath it – it’s all mathematics

—”Mathematics,” Mos Def, Black on Both Sides

STATE VIOLENCE

Near the beginning of the episode, Davis is in lock up after being harassed by the National Guard. Still, he yelled “Go the fuck back to Fallujah!” and got put in lock up as Toni tries to calm him down. Her grim reminder that the police and the guard are on edge serves as foreshadowing for later events – it is worthwhile to note that Davis is still more or less in one piece after the altercation.

Later on, Antoine is not so fortunate. After singing on the street with Annie and Sonny after his gig at the strip club, he drunkenly stumbles into a police car. The police react swiftly and brutally, kicking Antoine’s horn and punching him in the face. Horrified, Annie and Sonny look on, but cannot protest much for fear of retribution. The SMO squad is especially effective in this portrayal: at this point in the series, a police car in the background of a shot provides a sense of fear and foreboding. None of the characters as of yet have had a positive interaction with the police, which mimics the dynamics in a lot of communities of color – instead of a welcome sight, police presence means something horrible is about to happen -not crime prevention.

The concept of state violence extends further throughout the episode – Ladonna’s struggle to locate her brother within the criminal justice system, and being stymied at every turn also demonstrates the pernicious nature of state control over incarcerated citizens. Law enforcement appears to be unconcerned with who they have in custody and why – only that a prisoner is accounted for.

It’s understood that the police are under pressure – but what about the other citizens? Continue reading

The greener the berry…

by Guest Contributor Cheryl Lynn, originally published at Digital Femme

Back when I used to read Uncanny X-Men, I would always wonder why writers had mutants face events that actual minority groups dealt with decades ago. Slavery. Segregation. Attempted genocide. After all, why not tap into some of the very real plights that minority groups currently have to deal with? Demonization in the media. Housing discrimination.

Sexual exploitation.

Mutant

I wonder if the creative teams working on Marvel’s X-books are taking a step in that direction or if the preceding mock Utopia ad is one hell of a coincidence. Because the first thing I thought of when I saw the advertisement was how the green skin of the women had been held up as some kind of novelty or amusement for “normal” men to enjoy. And I can’t help but think of Black and Latina women in the Dominican Republic and Asian women in the Philippines who are considered that same kind of novelty act.

It’s not funny. It’s creepy. It’s disgusting. And it’s infuriating.

So seeing that ad got my hopes up. It made me wonder if Marvel was going to use the X-books to shine light on a problem that many either know nothing about or refuse to acknowledge. Marvel certainly isn’t afraid to tackle sensitive subjects. But that’s usually reserved for mature books such as those in the MAX line. To see something like this alluded to in an ad for a regular Marvel book is surprising. And impressive.

Unless the advertisement was intended to be humorous.

Which will pretty much cause me to wild the hell out.

ETA: David Brothers apparently has no regard for the safety of those at Wizard, because he’s telling me that this is a mock ad from Wizard that is intended to be funny.

I’m not laughing.

More Violence At South Philadelphia High

by Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally published at Angry Asian Man

Here’s a front page Philadelphia Inquirer story on South Philadelphia High School ninth grader Lindi Liu, who was assaulted in a bathroom last month. He was exiting a bathroom stall when another student kicked the door inward, bashing him in the head. A month later, he still has nosebleeds and blurred vision: Pain for Asian youth didn’t end with school assault.

As Liu picked himself up off the floor, he could hear the boy laughing.

The incident lasted only seconds, but for Liu, a 16-year-old immigrant from China, the consequences have been profound.

His vision frequently turns blurry, to where he can’t count fingers held in front of his face. He forgets conversations that occurred moments earlier, and sometimes struggles to identify everyday objects, like the chicken on his dinner plate. He gets sudden nose bleeds.

Liu was examined at Chinatown Medical Services on March 25, where the doctor wrote he had blurred vision and should be seen at a hospital. The next day, Liu underwent a CT scan of the head. A week later, a sudden loss of vision sent him to the emergency room for a second CT scan. More tests are pending.

Liu worries that his condition is permanent – and that he could be hurt even worse at school.

“I have this great fear that someone will attack me again,” he said.

The school district insists that Liu was injured “carelessly but unintentionally.” According to a school inquiry, the boy was kicking the doors of the stalls in turn, and didn’t realize Liu was there. However, a witness account contradicts that:

Dong Chen, 19, said the assailant kicked only one of five doors, the one with a broken lock, behind which stood Liu. Chen said when the door hit Liu’s head, “we could hear it, it was so loud. Pow!” Continue reading

Arizona Legalizes Racial Profiling, Sparks National Conversation on Immigration Law and Reform

by Latoya Peterson

Last week, before bill SB 1070 was signed into law in Arizona, Mario Solis-Marich wrote:

The bill sitting lightly on her desk and heavily on her mind is SB 1070. The bill would require that police officers ask for proof of citizenship should they suspect a person of being undocumented. In a single stroke of her pen Governor Brewer can set back her party even deeper into a demographic hole, transform her state into a national social pariah, and downgrade her political future to that of a speaker on the circuit forged by Tom Tancredo and Lou Dobbs. Is Brewer Tom Tancredo or is she Ronald Reagan? This week we shall find out.

Considering the efforts of some in the GOP to distance themselves from the anti-immigrant rhetoric that has found the party building the same reputation among Latino voters that it holds with African American voters, the political impact of Jan Brewer signing the 1070 cannot be overstated. Arizona’s Latino GOPers have openly promised rebellion and primary chaos if the bill is signed. Latino Independents and Republicans have been a critical ingredient for the success of John McCain and other Republicans in Arizona during general election cycles.

The state will suffer from a national and international backlash should Brewer sign the bill. The US census will probably put the US Latino population at 50 million. Add other ethnic minorities into the mix and it will not be hard to stage a successful boycott of the state, by simply explaining to Americans that their family vacation can be quite uncomfortable, in a state that requires anybody that looks like they may be undocumented to carry their birth certificates with them at all times.

After Brewer signed the bill, forcing all citizens to carry immigration papers/state identification cards and authorizing the police force to detain anyone suspected of being here without the proper documentation, the backlash was swift.  Everyone from President Obama to a vigilante group in Arizona expressed disapproval – the latter smeared the windows of the state capitol building with refried beans in the shape of swastikas.  I didn’t initially believe this report, but Towleroad had the video:

Obama, for his part, immediately made a statement against the bill.  The New York Times reports:

Speaking at a naturalization ceremony for 24 active-duty service members in the Rose Garden, he called for a federal overhaul of immigration laws, which Congressional leaders signaled they were preparing to take up soon, to avoid “irresponsibility by others.”

The Arizona law, he added, threatened “to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.”

Steven Colbert made the bill a part of his “The Word” segment:

The Colbert ReportMon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word – No Problemo
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

I suppose you have to laugh, to keep from crying.

(Image Credit: New York Times)

Musing on a [Lack of a] US Negro Agenda

by Guest Contributor Renina Jarmon, originally published at New Model Minority

I think it was Chomsky who said that Democracies by their very nature are fragile.

But then again, isn’t any democracy stable? Isn’t it fragile, delicate, tenuous and exceptional?

Every time I think of a critique of the presidents lack of a “Black Agenda” I am reminded of both Baldwin and the founding fathers.

I am reminded of Baldwin for two reasons. The first is because during the sixties he was routinely called down to Washington, at the behest of President Lyndon B. Johnson, to discuss “the negro problem.” The second reason is because Baldwin was always really clear about how our fates and lives are interconnected in this country, across race, class and gender.

My love of Baldwin is rooted in my fascination with Democracy.

A democracy, with a huge portion of its citizens prevented from participating because of prior non violent drug offense related convictions, a democracy that saddles its young with tens of thousands of dollars with the school loan debt at twenty-one, a democracy where people are quick to criticize folks on food stamps yet are mute on the newly authorized one year trillion dollar budget for two wars, a democracy that has never dealt with economic and psychological impact of three centuries of forced free labor isn’t stable, nor sustainable.

You may say, Renina is doing to much, these things are not connected, she is on that shit again.

But let me ask you this? How can these things not be connected?

Don’t we live and survive here together? This is preciously Baldwins point and why I was moved to (finally) write this piece this morning. Continue reading