All posts by Racialicious Team

links for 2010-05-28

links for 2010-05-27

  • "Racial and gender equality mean an equal opportunity to act a fool on the international stage. But that belies a larger question.. Do Black girls have the option of being “different.” Whimsical. Creative. Are our bodies only allowed to be shoved into some sexual context anytime they are displayed? To some people what Venus Williams wore on the first day of the French Open was obscene. I was ready to hop on the bandwagon with you. Until I actually looked at other pictures of the “outfit” and quite frankly its more odd than obscene in fact when viewed inlight of the apparel for both men and women across all sports, its rather boring. "

links for 2010-05-24

  • “All Souls’ Church, on St. Nicholas Avenue, and any number of the traditional neighborhood churches in Harlem that had for generations boasted strong memberships — built on and sustained by familial loyalty and neighborhood ties — are now struggling to hold on to their congregations.

    The gentrification of Harlem has helped deplete their ranks, as younger residents, black and white, have arrived but not taken up places in their pews. Longtime Harlem families, either cashing in on the real estate boom over the past decade or simply opting to head south for their retirement, have left the neighborhood and its churches. Then there are the deaths, as year by year, whole age bands are chipped away.”

  • “The Pulitzer Prize absolutely fundamentally changed my life and career as an artist,” noted Diaz, who says he grew up “working poor” in Parlin, N.J. “I keep thinking, `Wow, I get the chance to do that for a whole bunch of people. Not just me alone, of course.” Pulitzer officials say Diaz will be the first Latino to serve on the board…Co-chairman David Kennedy said the board looks forward to Diaz’s perspective. Kennedy describes Diaz’s prose as a mixture of Dominican Spanish and American English. “We hope that’s the voice he brings to the deliberations of the board as well,” Kennedy said. “Someone who is sensitive to and immersed in parts of our culture that haven’t received the appreciation … they probably deserve.”

    (tags: junotdiaz pulitzerboard literature litofcolor racialiciousmascots)

  • Lt. John Burge and his men electrocuted, suffocated and beat confessions out of black suspects in Chicago for 20 years, until 1993. Some of his victims ended up on death row. Jury selection has begun in his trial.

links for 2010-05-22

  • AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas State Board of Education adopted a social studies and history curriculum Friday that amends or waters down the teaching of the civil rights movement, religious freedoms, America's relationship with the U.N. and hundreds of other items. The new standards were adopted after a final showdown by two 9-5 votes along party lines, after Democrats' and moderate Republicans' efforts to delay a final vote failed. The ideological debate over the guidelines, which drew intense scrutiny beyond Texas, will be used to determine what important political events and figures some 4.8 million students will learn about for the next decade.
  • CHICAGO – In her police mug shot, the doe-eyed cartoon heroine with the bowl haircut has a black eye, battered lip and bloody nose. Dora the Explorer's alleged crime? "Illegal Border Crossing Resisting Arrest." The doctored picture, one of several circulating widely in the aftermath of Arizona's controversial new immigration law, may seem harmless, ridiculous or even tasteless. But experts say the pictures and the rhetoric surrounding them online, in newspapers and at public rallies, reveal some Americans' attitudes about race, immigrants and where some of immigration reform debate may be headed.
  • We all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but a new study out of Britain suggests that most beholders find one thing especially beautiful: a mixed-race face. According to Michael Lewis of Cardiff University's school of psychology, “people whose genetic backgrounds are more diverse are, on average, perceived as more attractive.” Lewis, a senior lecturer at the school, came to this conclusion after asking what he says is the highest-ever number of respondents on the subject to rate more than 1,200 pictures of black, white and mixed-race faces on the basis of physical appeal. In his view, the study proves that Darwin's theory of heterosis – the belief that cross-breeding leads to genetically fitter offspring in the animal world – also applies to humans, who in turn equate fitness with beauty. If that's the case, it also reveals how truly unevolved the fashion industry is…
  • "Bryant confirms what one sensed at the time, that Aaron approached [his goal of 3,000 hits] more as grim chore than joyous mission. To a teenage fan like me, the long siege, spanning several seasons, felt exhausting. Even as I rooted for Aaron, counting each home run, I yearned for it to end, in particular the racist abuse. It was well known that as each fresh trophy was being shipped to Cooperstown, Aaron was hoarding his own, much darker souvenirs, the torrent of hate letters, including no small number, Bryant acerbically reports, “from his fellow Americans, guaranteeing his death should he continue the quest.” That he was pursuing it in Dixie only heightened the pressure. He was given the protection of a “two-man personal security force,” and the F.B.I. kept watch. Three decades later it still pained him, Bryant writes, to recall “how a piece of his life had been taken from him and how it had never come back.” It was one of baseball’s ugliest passages."

links for 2010-05-21

  • Ray Bradbury, of Fahrenheit 451 fame: "You can’t learn to write in college. It’s a very bad place for writers because the teachers always think they know more than you do—and they don’t. They have prejudices. They may like Henry James, but what if you don’t want to write like Henry James? They may like John Irving, for instance, who’s the bore of all time. A lot of the people whose work they’ve taught in the schools for the last thirty years, I can’t understand why people read them and why they are taught. The library, on the other hand, has no biases. The information is all there for you to interpret. You don’t have someone telling you what to think. You discover it for yourself."
  • "One conference participant from the Bible Belt summed it up this way: "Christianity's grasp on black people makes it almost impossible to admit that you're a black atheist. We have to hide our non-belief, otherwise we are excluded. And if we give voice to any objection or doubt, we're ostracized and isolated–or just banished! So any time religion comes up, it's simpler to just change the subject or say nothing if you can't bring yourself to fake an 'amen.' … But don't use my name ‘cause my mother told me when she saw me reading God is Not Great that if any of her children actually believed ‘that mess,' she'd have one less child."

links for 2010-05-20

  • "Gift Trapence, executive director of the Centre for the Development of People, was at the court house Thursday and told reporters: 'How can they get 14 years simply for loving one another? Even if they are jailed for 20 years you can't change their sexuality.'''
  • "'I think it's interesting how many people want to fight the results, rather than conclude, 'Hey, maybe it is a good idea to teach our kids when they are really young that we shouldn't judge people by the way they look,' FrustratedMI wrote."
  • "But the second narrative, as articulated by far too many in the past two weeks, while it praises those local efforts, does so specifically by attempting to contrast the good and decent people of Nashville with the presumably undesirable and indecent folks in certain unnamed but easily identifiable other places, who have in recent years experienced massive flooding. In other words, the black and poor of New Orleans, inundated when the levees protecting their city gave way to flood waters generated in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. And so we have been subjected to claims by Nashville columnist David Climer (of the local daily, The Tennessean), that the reason the flooding here didn't receive enough media attention was because in order to get headlines, you have to 'start looting.' But, as Climer made sure to point out, in his May 9 essay, 'We're better than that. Our city never lost control.' Got that? We are good. They are bad. Praise us. Screw them."
  • "This is usually the no-knock scenario: You're asleep, in your apartment or home, and it's past midnight when suddenly there is a loud crashing noise and flashes of smoke and light and people are breaking down your door with guns drawn and your response is of panic and confusion. You're pretty sure you're about to die, so, naturally, you put up a fight. But as it turns out, it's the police executing a "No-Knock" warrant with a flash grenade. But, ahem, how would you know that if it's past midnight, you're asleep and it just sounds like armed killers are trying to break into your house? How would you know this, especially, if you live in a high crime area where actual criminals DO break into people's houses and accost them?
    "No matter the scenario, this is a sad situation and why 'no-knock' warrants should be illegal."
  • "Even more, as a clinician, I was impressed by Elena Kagan's substantial expansion of the clinical teaching program at Harvard. From environmental law to educational advocacy, Kagan poured resources into Harvard's clinical offerings. Due to this expansion, thousands of indigent and under-represented citizens received quality legal services that they otherwise would not have been able to afford. For me, this represented a tangible commitment to the principle norm that animates our legal system: "equal justice under law."
  • "Beyond the issue of diversity of faculty, I can personally attest to Dean Kagan's support of diversity in the student body. The numbers that she has been responsible for are just outstanding. Since Elena Kagan became dean, the number of African American students admitted, particularly black males (given the national decline in African American males in colleges and universities), is simply astonishing. From 2003 until she ended her deanship in 2009, the number of African American students has been at an all time high. Her first year, 10% of the students were African American and the total minority student body was 29%. That percentage has increased in each category over the years. As a result, 31% of the entering class at Harvard Law School over the last 9 years is a record and a sign of her commitment."
  • "For much of Israel's short history, it has enjoyed intimate diplomatic and cultural ties to the U.S. In addition to both being democracies and sharing a similar agenda in the Middle East, Israel and the U.S. boast the two largest Jewish populations in the world. But could the support for Israel among American Jews be slipping? Most American Jews are liberal, for reasons we explored here. Some liberal U.S. Jews, including Jon Stewart, are distancing themselves from what the New York Times calls "a state whose government is now dominated by nationalist and ultrareligious politicians." In the New York Review of Books, Peter Beinart–a prominent, liberal, Jewish pundit who has long supported Israel–says that American Jewish support for Israel is dropping rapidly and could, he says, disappear among the liberals who dominate the group."
  • "Ms. Norton says she cannot find any government programs to help her strengthen the “thin bootstraps” she intends to pull herself up by. Because of the Wal-Mart job, she has been ineligible for unemployment benefits, and she says she made too much money to qualify for food stamps or Medicaid last year.

    “If you’re not a minority, or not handicapped, or not a young parent, or not a veteran, or not in some other certain category, your hope of finding help and any hope of finding work out there is basically nil,” Ms. Norton says. “I know. I’ve looked.”"

links for 2010-05-18

  • "Arab Americans across metro Detroit cheered as Rima Fakih of Dearborn was crowned Miss USA tonight in Las Vegas.

    "Fakih, of Lebanese descent, is believed to be the first Arab American and Muslim to become Miss USA.

    "The 24-year-old brunette from Michigan beat out four blondes and 46 other women for the 2010 Miss USA title after nearly stumbling in her evening gown.

    "In the interview, Fakih was asked whether she thought birth control should be paid for by health insurance, and she said she believed it should.

    "Miss Oklahoma USA Morgan Elizabeth Woolard was first runner-up after handling a question about Arizona's new immigration law. She said she supports it."

  • "The education board has dropped references to the slave trade in favour of calling it the more innocuous 'Atlantic triangular trade', and recasts the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as driven by Islamic fundamentalism."
  • "People aren’t illegal. Someone’s immigration status can be illegal. But a person can’t actually be illegal. ‘Illegal immigrant’ reinforces ideas about immigrants and immigration with which I am deeply uncomfortable. I have no doubt that many people with anti-immigration beliefs actually think that undocumented immigrants should be ‘illegal’ and I see no reason to reinforce or tacitly support that idea with my language use. As this law in Arizona shows, this country has no problem with making it very clear that some people are not welcome and that they will be ejected by any means possible."
  • Then I realized I had been skimming over the source of their inspiration without noticing it. My own unconscious white supremacy had kept me from recognizing what these prototypical feminists kept insisting in their writings: They caught a glimpse of the possibility of freedom because they knew women who lived liberated lives, women who had always possessed rights beyond their wildest imagination — Iroquois women.