The line was a curious one, given the reality of Obama’s deportation record, which has been marked by mass deportations to the tune of nearly 400,000 every year carried out at a clip unseen by any prior president. The Obama administration has defended its “smart” enforcement tactics by, as Obama did on Tuesday night, pointing out that it makes a point to deport those who have committed serious crimes and are a threat to their communities and national security. And yet, data collected over Obama’s tenure show that among the close to 400,000 people who are deported annually, far from being “gangbangers,” the vast majority have no criminal record whatsoever.
- The Help: Status, Servants And Double Standards In Lebanon (The Global Mail)
When people call Beirut a ‘cosmopolitan’ city, they’re referring to the easy co-mingling of Lebanese and Westerners. Foreigners from Asia and East Africa — the vast majority of whom are here as domestic workers — are outsiders here, widely considered to be lowly by birth. It’s been now three months since we moved here, and I’m still shocked by the way many Lebanese people treat their domestic servants.
About 200,000 domestic workers work in Lebanon (a country of four million people), and come predominantly from Sri Lanka, Nepal, Ethiopia, Bangladesh and the Philippines. In a country divided unforgivingly down lines of status, a foreign maid is the status symbol par excellence.
On the weekends, restaurants around Lebanon are filled with families and friends enjoying each other’s company, their maids commonly sitting several tables away, staring into space. In Downtown’s central square, Place de l’Étoile, uniformed house slaves drag their feet after little princes, toddlers who have already been trained to ignore the hired help. They’re not just for the super-rich, either — you can get a full-time maid for as little as USD100 per month (USD250 is considered a generous wage).
It’s not unusual to see a family of four being attended to by two maids — one for each child. Why not? They’re as cheap as chips. They don’t even need their own room — in many houses maids are forced to sleep on the living-room floor, under the stairs, and in rooms built for storing brooms. Often these women have no kin or connections in Lebanon, so there are no consequences for people who treat them barbarously. It’s a miserable, lonely version of “Downton Abbey,” retooled for a post oil-boom Middle East, starring the world’s downtrodden-for-hire.
- An Open Letter To Abigail Fisher (Clutch Magazine)
I am penning this missive because the vitriol coursing through my veins is inescapable. Rather than continuing to engage in unproductive Twitter rants, I am redirecting that caustic energy and utilizing this space instead.
Let me begin with this direct concern: If your injudicious mission is successful, there will be dire ramifications for blacks seeking acceptance in academia. Your decision to fight this battle to the Supreme Court can potentially annihilate affirmative action, a mandate that has required federally funded institutions to promote inclusive diversity.
If affirmative action is gutted and substituted with “neutral-based admissions,” institutions will have the option to deny students access to the educational American Dream based on their ethnic background. Abigail, if the Supreme Court issues a verdict in your favor, you will be responsible for pushing this nation backward, into an era when blacks were met with venom at the steps of Ole Miss.
- White Woman Wears Afro, Life Changes. Or Something. (PostBourgie)
This little journey began after she bought the wig as a part of her costume for a 70s-themed party. Apparently, some kind of inner enlightenment happened when she put on the wig because she decided to keep wearing it out in the world at random occasions (mostly at parties full of black people). I read the entire blog (in spite of how badly it hurt my face to do so) and I have no idea what the connection between her wig and this enlightenment is, and she never really says. It’s kind of like the GOP’s “we’re going to fix the problem by fixing the problem!” approach. She speaks so generally and vaguely about the purpose of it all that she just sounds crazy. It’s “a new way to view the world.” It’s “vital to the soul.” It’s a “genuine and profound and very real experience.” Also, vibes and inner peace and herbal tea and all that.
Before and Afro is a clueless, masturbatory foray into privilege so white I can barely look it in the face. In her entry “Let’s Get Real,” she insists that she “is aware,” that she knows that what she is doing can be seen as offensive. The fact that this whole bizzarro thing doesn’t end there is testament to how unaware she actually is. She insists that this isn’t about race, but then seems to try to justify what she’s doing in an entry full of pictures of random, anonymous black people. See? It can’t be offensive! Black people posed for her while she wore the afro, and even smiled! She rejects the idea that her wearing the afro isn’t a caricature or costume ( … even though she bought it as part of a freaking costume), but really, it can’t be anything but.
- New Evidence That Racism Isn’t ‘Natural’ (The Atlantic)
In a paper that will be published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Eva Telzer of UCLA and three other researchers report that they’ve performed these amygdala studies — which had previously been done on adults — on children. And they found something interesting: the racial sensitivity of the amygdala doesn’t kick in until around age 14.
What’s more: once it kicks in, it doesn’t kick in equally for everybody. The more racially diverse your peer group, the less strong the amygdala effect. At really high levels of diversity, the effect disappeared entirely. The authors of the study write that ”these findings suggest that neural biases to race are not innate and that race is a social construction, learned over time.”
There’s a reason the previous sentence says “suggest” and not “prove.” As the authors note, it’s conceivable that “the increasing amygdala response to race [with age] may be driven by intrinsic factors of the child, such as puberty, rather than exposure to cultural messages.” For that matter, the correlation between peer group diversity and dampened amygdala response doesn’t mean the former causes the latter; it could work the other way around: maybe people with a mild response to racial difference wind up with more diverse peers.