Friday Links Roundup 12-16-11

Giving plastic toys a trip to the hair salon sounds like a huge undertaking. But maybe that’s the kind of thing it takes to combat the pervasive and problematic messages about beauty with which black women are inundated, beginning in childhood. And it’s as good as any other idea we’ve heard to combat this generations-old issue.


It’s common in sports for a team to have some kind of collective ritual to pump themselves up before a game. Often, this will take the form of a chant, like it did with the girls basketball team at Kenmore East High School, located in the Buffalo, N.Y. suburb of Tonawonda. Taken alone, doesn’t sound so bad. But when you find out that the chant was, “One, two, three, [N-word]!” – that, obviously, is a problem.

A big problem. So big, in fact, that it led to the suspension of the entire team – practice for the rest of the week was canceled, and the team’s Saturday game was postponed. Apparently the controversy started when the only African-American player on the team, Tyra Batts, confronted her teammates about it.

The authors analyzed the responses to four key questions by 40,677 individuals from 31 countries, drawn from the 2008 wave of the cross-national European Values Study. One question assessed “subjective well being,” indicated by general satisfaction with life. Another measured national pride. The other two neatly indicated ethnic and civic national boundaries — asking respondents to rate the importance of respect for laws and institutions, and of ancestry, to being a true . . . fill in the blank . . . German, Swede, Spaniard. The researchers controlled for such factors as gender, work status, urban or rural residence, and the country’s per capita GDP.

Like other researchers, they found that more national pride correlated with greater personal well-being. But the civic nationalists were on the whole happier, and even the proudest ethnic nationalists’ well-being barely surpassed that of people with the lowest level of civic pride.

    EXTRACT FROM LETTER TO THE AGE NEWSPAPER (voiceover): On a recent Thursday night a large group of medical students went to an organised event at a well known nightclub in Toorak to celebrate finishing our first year exams. At the door, I, a Caucasian female was allowed entry whereas my close friend of Sri Lankan heritage was denied entry and given various excuses.

    A girl of Indian background was also denied entry. I later found out a group of Botswana medical students, new to Australia, were also turned down because they were not dressed well enough.

    SAMANTHA DONOVAN: The acting commissioner of Victoria’s Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission Karen Toohey, says reports of racism outnumber formal complaints.

    KAREN TOOHEY: A couple of comments including things like – we’ve had Aboriginal people in here before and they’ve caused trouble, we don’t like African people coming into our venues – so quite specific comments that are being reported to us which clearly say that the refusal of entry is on the grounds of colour or race.

      There are no African-American punters or kickers in the N.F.L. While white athletes shy away from cornerback because, in their minds, it requires too much athleticism, many African-American players eschew punting and kicking because it is not athletic enough.

      Claude Mathis, the coach at DeSoto (Tex.) High School, said he had to beg his best player to kick and punt. “Kids make fun of you when you’re a punter,” he said. “When you’re an athlete. you don’t want to be labeled as punter or kicker; kids will make fun of you.”

      But they didn’t make fun of Bryson Echols: he is an all-American cornerback and “an athlete” at DeSoto, headed to the University of Texas.

    • Casher O’neil

      I am not surprised about the “n*gger” chant.  I had the misfortune of growing up in Tonawanda, which is a suburb of  Buffalo.  The suburbs of this rustbelt city are overwhelmingly white and hostile to minorities, to say the least. We were the only black people in the neighborhood, which was EXTREMELY racist.  I absolutely hated it there and when I left I vowed to never go back, and I haven’t.

    • Nami

      The link to the case about discrimination in nightclubs in Australia seems tot be broken, here’s another one:

    • Nami

      The link to the case about discrimination in nightclubs in Australia seems tot be broken, here’s another one: