links for 2010-05-01

  • "This is yet another powerful reminder of why diversity, in all its forms, is so essential to any organization. (For instance, is it any surprise that Apple’s executive team is comprised entirely of men, and that they just released a product called the I-PAD, which almost every woman in America associates with a feminine hygiene product?) This includes all forms of media."
  • Majime Sugiru will be appearing on a panel at City College of San Francisco on Tuesday May 4, along with UC Santa Cruz professor emerita Judy Yung, starting at 11am. Sugiru will present a talk “East Meets West: Undoing ‘The Oriental’ through Socially Engaged Art,” and Yung will speak about her forthcoming book Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America.
  • The roots of racial prejudice lie deep within the brain, research has suggested. A study found that when we watch someone from our own race do something our brain simulates the action mentally as a form of empathy, known as 'mirroring'. But when we see someone of a different race do the same thing we make much less effort to empathise…Dr Inzlicht said the research did not necessarily mean prejudice was innate, adding that discrimination about race, religion or hair colour was 'probably learnt'.
  • Belgium became the first European country to impose a full ban on wearing a burka last night. Its parliament approved a draft law which states women can be jailed for hiding their faces in public. The bill – which must be rubber-stamped by the Belgian senate – is set to become law by July. Centre-Right MP Daniel Bacquelaine said last night: 'The notion of recognising people in the street is essential to maintain public order. 'It's also a question of human dignity. The full face veil turns a woman into a walking prison.'
  • High unemployment among black Americans means the United States has failed to live up to commitments it made under United Nations human rights agreements, a coalition of advocacy groups charges….The latest unemployment figures show a stark racial disparity. White men were unemployed at a 9.6 percent rate. For black men, the figure was 20.2 percent. Latino men posted a 13. 8 percent rate, Asian men only 7.7 percent. Rates for women followed the same racial and ethnic pattern, but were lower than that for men of the same ethnic group…The UN filing argues that the U.S. has "has failed to meet obligations in the United Nations Charter," and specifically faults the 2009 federal stimulus bill, or American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)."Additionally, the failure of ARRA to target vulnerable populations in job creation does not reflect the government’s obligations under … the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination."
  • "The only guest for the discussion was Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto. He said that Democrats pander to African American racism because the Party is “abjectly dependent on the black vote.” He asked rhetorically, “Now, how do they keep the black vote? …It’s a monolithic voting block… They have to keep alive the idea that America is a racist country and that the Republicans are a racist Party.”

    In other words, blacks would not be smart enough, informed enough or even civic minded enough to vote on the basis of economics, foreign policy or environmental issues, say. It’s all about race and racism for them and all a politician needs to do is accuse the other guy of being a racist and they’ll follow you. Nice."

  • "Arizona’s controversial anti-immigrant law was written by a lawyer at the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which the Southern Poverty Law Center has listed as an anti-immigrant hate group since 2007. The law, a recipe for racial profiling, would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. (See statement by SPLC Legal Director Mary Bauer.)"
  • "Sandra Bullock, a non-Jewish white woman, who won an Oscar for being a movie where she is a white savior to a black child, while married to a sorta-white supremacist, adopted a black child from New Orleans, a city that's black population was and continues to be abandoned by the US government and together they gave him a bris (a Jewish religious ceremony)…

    Okay, circumcision is one thing, but a bris is one of the most sacred traditions in Judaism. Taking it from its Jewish space feels yucky. I wouldn't get baptized because I thought it looked interesting and I like swimming."

  • "[C]asting decisions like this one make Hollywood's racism clear. Kinnear is reasonably talented and popular–but not as much as Denzel Washington or Will Smith. He was cast because he's reasonably talented and popular…and because he looks roughly like JFK. There's no chance in hell that audiences would accept a more talented black, female, or Native actor as the white male President Kennedy.

    Why doesn't this same thinking apply to Native, Asian, and other minority roles? Because Hollywood believes that only mainstream (white) roles have to be cast authentically. Whites are distinct individuals, but minorities all look alike. As we've seen, anyone with a good tan–e.g., Taylor Lautner, Tinsel Korey, Boo Boo Stewart, Lynn Collins, Mizuo Peck, Ben Kingsley, Jackson Rathbone–can play a Native character."