All posts by Racialicious Team

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.

links for 2010-05-16

  • But why is this a big deal? Doesn't Family Guy offend everyone? As Lisa at Questioning Transphobia points out, "That's bullshit. [MacFarlane's] humor is crafted for a cis, straight, able-bodied male audience. Everything you see on his shows is meant to affirm that perspective." But isn't it satire, isn't the Griffin family a bunch of bumbling buffoons? Really, is Family Guy's fan base (who, let's be honest, includes those far younger than the typical 18-34 male demographic) really "getting" that Lois and Peter are bigoted when they insist Quagmire's dad is gay? That Stewie is most definitely uninformed when he says Ida's genitals are like a "casserole of nonsense"? That when Ida suggests that Meg is also a trans woman that there are acceptable times to misgender another?
  • "But while Ms. Kagan, a former board member for the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, clearly relished the experience and admired the justice as a historic figure, she appears to have had a far more ambivalent attitude toward his jurisprudence, according to a review of his papers at the Library of Congress, her comments over the years about him and interviews with her fellow clerks and colleagues.

    In analyzing why Justice Marshall was adamant about siding with the poor family in the busing fee case, for example, Ms. Kagan explained in her tribute that he “allowed his personal experiences, and the knowledge of suffering and deprivation gained from those experiences, to guide him.”

  • "But the van Sander case shows that the outlook is dire for couples already in the pipeline for a green card, said Eric E. Olson, an immigration lawyer who has followed the issue closely.

    “It’s crazy,” he said, adding that it might provoke a public outcry, because “it’s going to affect a lot of white people, too, not just brown people.”"

  • "Proposing a budget that would eliminate the state's welfare-to-work program and most child care for the poor, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday outlined a stark vision of a California that would sharply limit aid to some of its poorest and neediest citizens.

    His $83.4-billion plan would also freeze funding for local schools, further cut state workers' pay and take away 60% of state money for local mental health programs. State parks and higher education are among the few areas the governor's proposal would spare."

  • "Falling to my knees to look my child in the eye, I asked why she thought straight hair was prettier than her own curls. She put her hands on her hips and flippantly alleged, “All the pretty girls on TV have straight hair. All the Barbie dolls have straight hair. All the ladies in our family have straight hair. Curly hair is ugly.” I placed my hands on her shoulders and rendered a long, loving soliloquy on how God designed her hair and He doesn’t make any junk. I told her that curly hair like hers was desirable by all and asked if she hadn’t noticed the constant compliments she received. My wise little angel shot back, “Yes. I know all of that, but you straighten your hair. Sooo…I guess you don’t really like what God gave you. I don’t like mine either and I want to change it. I want a perm.” Pow! I was stretched out on the mat with cartoon stars circling my head, TKO’d by the curly-headed, snaggle-toothed first grader."
  • "Wonder Woman is white. There’s a simple answer to this problem: Big Fat Who Cares? Wonder Woman’s creators don’t care, because they’re dead. Wonder Woman doesn’t care, because she’s not real. Speaking for all white people everywhere, I can affirm that we don’t care. And let’s be honest: Wonder Woman’s character history is so rife with reboots and retcons, hiring an African American to play her in a movie would be the least crazy change to make to the character."
  • "In the late 1950s, interning as a teacher at a prison near Stockton, he thought he could alter the thinking of a group of white supremacists by showing them unedited footage of Nazi gas chambers. "They howled with laughter through the whole film," he says. "It was the worst failure of my life. But I learned a lesson: Some people cannot be helped. They are simply too far gone.""

links for 2010-05-15

  • It’s about 2,500 miles from this green, rural town in the rolling hills near Vermont to the Mexican border at Nogales, but that hasn’t stopped Jackson from making a bid to be New York’s small version of Arizona in the immigration wars. Or that’s how it is beginning to feel two months after Jackson — which has 1,700 people, no village, no grocery store or place to buy gasoline, no church, no school, two restaurants and maybe a few Spanish-speaking farm workers — decided it needed a law requiring that all town business be conducted in English.
  • Smiling proudly as she wraps her arms around her two children, Cynthia Keene's family paint a happy picture. But as they roll up their sleeves to reveal dozens of swastika tattoos it's clear there is nothing average about their lifestyle. Because the Keenes are just one of a growing number of Nazi families who have joined the racist group, the NSM (National Socialist Movement)…They idolise Hitler, believe the Holocaust never happened and want all non-white people deported from America…"All-non white people in America should be sent back to where they came from, and me and my kids will fight to make that happen,' said Cynthia speaking from a motel room in Los Angeles where she and two of her children, Brad, 23 and Ariana, 17 were preparing to attend a Nazi rally.
  • Three men are accused of branding a swastika on a mentally challenged man's arm with a heated metal clothes hanger, and could face hate crime charges. "We'll explore every conceivable available avenue in charging them with a hate crime because what happened to the victim was so horribly wrong," said Chief Deputy District Attorney Sarah Weaver…The three white men are accused of forcing the 22-year-old victim from the Navajo Indian reservation into a car on April 29, and driving him to an apartment…"We haven't identified this as a gang-related crime. That is still under investigation," Perez said. "But they appear to be associated in some fashion to the white supremacist movement."…[Alleged assailant] Sanford claimed that the victim, who wanted a haircut and a tattoo, "wanted the swastika design because it was a tribal symbol," according to the court records.
  • …- In Pennsylvania alone, the city of Scranton in 2008 agreed to pay a woman $19,000 plus legal costs after she was charged for swearing at her overflowing toilet. The city of Pittsburgh paid $50,000 last year to settle a free-speech lawsuit filed by a man cited for an obscene gesture. In that case, the ACLU found city police had written 188 disorderly conduct citations over a 32-month period for swearing, gestures and other disrespectful conduct.
    - Philly police Sgt. Robert Ralston finally admitted yesterday that when he said a "black man with cornrows" shot him last month, what he really meant was "I purposely shot myself in the shoulder."…
  • A new Interview editorial from the magazine's May 2010 issue, "Let's Get Lost," photographed by Mikael Jansson and styled by Karl Templer, is described with the following tagline: "Let's get lost. The hour is late, the air is thick, and the evening is charged with a steamy sensuality. What works? Tone-on-tone swimsuits, slithers of silk, and plenty of skin, as flesh meets flesh, body meets soul, and Daria gets lost in the heat of the night." But since being posted online, the editorial, which highlights Daria Werbowy among an all-black cast (save for Brazilian model Lisalla Montenegro), is eliciting adverse reactions around the web. Commenters on The Fashion Spot write: "I expect more from Interview than some stereotypical, white person enters into strange and exotic world of brown people editorial."
  • Conservative criticism of Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court was all but guaranteed. But critiques are also coming from more unlikely sources, as a groundswell of progressive scholars question her past commitments to minorities. Of special interest to Indian country, her positions on tribal and Indian legal issues are unknown, and she has lacked engagement on some major Native topics.

links for 2010-05-14

  • It’s easy to make a case for the increasing importance of Latino issues in understanding U.S. politics. But are college freshmen getting any context for considering these and other developments?

    The odds are against it, according to a survey of introductory political science textbooks. The study, published in the journal PS, did page by page analysis of the 29 introductory textbooks in use at American colleges today. Latinos’ “overall contributions to the political development of the United States are largely ignored,” says the study, by Jessica Lavariega Monforti and Adam McGlynn, both assistant professors of political science at the University of Texas-Pan American.

  • The courts and the U.S. Congress continue to insist that racially gerrymandered voting districts are necessary to elect minority candidates, but election returns tell another story. On Saturday, Irving, Texas held its first city council elections under a new system imposed by a federal court last year. Hispanic activists had sued the city, which is more than 40% Latino, arguing that Irving's at-large system was discriminatory because no Hispanic had ever won a council seat. As part of the settlement, Irving created six single-member voting districts—including one that was drawn specifically to ensure the election of an Hispanic—and two at-large districts. So what happened? The newly created "Hispanic district" was won by Mike Gallaway, a black candidate who easily beat Trini Gonzalez, an Hispanic. & Roy Santoscoy, another Hispanic, defeated a white incumbent for one of the open at-large seats that was supposedly out of reach to Hispanics due to Irving's allegedly racist voting system.
  • HB 2281 bans schools from teaching classes that are designed for students of a particular ethnic group, promote resentment or advocate ethnic solidarity over treating pupils as individuals. The bill also bans classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government.
    School districts that don't comply with the new law could have as much as 10% of their state funds withheld each month. Districts have the right to appeal the mandate, which goes into effect Dec. 31.
  • "'The first thing people think of when it comes to Asian emcees is that it’s almost like an oxymoron,' said Tsai. 'Hip hop was created out of poverty, and this whole idea that Asian Americans are the model minorities leads to the belief that they can’t possibly have struggles to talk about.'"
  • "Over the last two decades, an entire industry has sprung up around the notion of packaging the products of Third World craft collectives to sell to the First World. Let’s examine the ways in which First World advertising both misrepresents and romanticizes the work and lives of these collectives to encourage First World consumers to buy their products."
  • 1) Drug legalization does not change the nature of policing.
    2) Drug legalization movements avoid larger problems faced by people of color.
    3) The potential impact of drug legalization on poor communities of color needs to be openly debated.
  • "Samantha Harris's mother was one of the 'Stolen Generations', removed from her parents simply because she was black. Now, Ms Harris seems destined to become the first Aboriginal supermodel, after treading the catwalk for 18 designers at Australian Fashion Week and featuring on the cover of next month's Australian Vogue.
    "The 19-year-old is only the second Aboriginal model to be a Vogue covergirl, following in the footsteps of Elaine George in 1993. But she is considered the first with international appeal."
  • "Analysts attribute the racial shift to suburbs in many cases to substantial shares of minorities leaving cities, such as blacks from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Whites, too, are driving the trend by returning or staying put in larger cities."
  • "Social networks represent a huge opportunity for marketers trying to reach Latinas — but many in this growing audience believe they are being poorly served by such nets.

    Thirty-eight percent of Hispanic women in the U.S. say these networks lack content created especially for their unique interests, according to a new study by research firm Sophia Mind."

Friday Announcements: No Bill 94 Day of Action; Transformative Works & Culture Call for Papers; Blogging While Brown (DC); Journalism That Matters (Detroit)

No Bill 94 Day of Action: May 18 (Facebook/Canada)
Will you allow your government to deny essential services to women based on what they wear?

Take Action on May 18th! Say NO to Bill 94!

Facebook event:

Bill 94 is proposed legislation in Quebec, which if approved, would deny essential government services, public employment, educational opportunities, and health care to Muslim women who wear the niqab (face veil).

Take Action to defend women’s access to public services.

Take Action to support women’s rights and freedoms in Canada.

Take Action to stop Bill 94 from becoming law.

Speak up! Write, email, phone, fax Quebec Premier Jean Charest, along with Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities Yolande James, Minister of Justice Kathleen Weil, and Minister of Culture, Communications & the Status of Women Christine St-Pierre to voice your concern regarding the discriminatory Bill 94. CC us at along with your Member of Parliament, Member of the Legislative Assembly, and Member of Provincial Parliament. Send a message to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff, M.P., Liberal Leader. Contact information for the above can be found here.

Organize! Endorse the No Bill 94 Coalition’s statement found here. Circulate this call to action widely to your networks. Have conversations with them about your concerns about Bill 94 and refer them to articles on the proposed legislation. And sign the petition.

Get Creative! Host an action in your community, make a video, hold a press conference, run a workshop, throw call-in parties, letter-writing events & blogathons, to ensure that our voices are heard. Email us your creations and actions at

Use Media! Use social media outlets. Make your profile pic to one found here. Change your Facebook status or tweet – “Will you allow your government to deny services like emergency health care, education, legal assistance & day care to women based on what they wear? TAKE ACTION on May 18! Say No to Bill 94!” Post and re-post interesting articles talking about Bill 94 anywhere you can – Facebook, Twitter, blogs, websites etc.

The No Bill 94 Coalition is endorsed by: AQSAzine, Assaulted Women’s and Children’s Counselor/Advocate Program at George Brown College, The Centre for Women and Trans People University of Toronto, Ryerson Students’ Union, The Centre for Women and Trans People York University, Coalition of concerned women of Kitchener Waterloo, The Council of Agencies Serving South Asians, Frontline Partners with Youth Network, The Miss G__ Project for Equity in Education, Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children, Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, Muslim Students’ Association, University of Toronto, The Native Youth Sexual Health Network, Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto, Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group, Ontario Women’s Justice Network, Ontario Public Interest Research Group York, Ontario Public Interest Research Group University of Toronto, Ontario Public Interest Group Kingston, Quebec Public Interest Research Group McGill, Quebec Public Interest Research Group Concordia, Parkdale Community Legal Services, South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario, Springtide Resources, Urban Alliance on Race Relations, Toronto Women of Colour Collective, Toronto Coalition to Stop the War, The Canadian Arab Federation, York Federation of Students, University of Toronto Students’ Union

Call for Papers: Race and Ethnicity in Fandom (Transformative Works and Cultures)

Transformative Works and Cultures, an online-only, peer-reviewed journal focusing on media and fan studies, broadly conceived, invites contributions for a special issue on race and ethnicity to be published in summer 2011. Academic scholarship on fan cultures and fan productions over the past few decades has focused primarily on gender as the sole category of analysis. Continue reading

links for 2010-05-12

  • "When I left, I immediately went on Twitter and noticed that even the young feminists, who attended the panel were more offended by the realization that Richards, Stoller, Baumgardner and Wolfe didn’t understand the importance of social media then by the racial comments that were made (or not made). For the majority of women in that room, race was not in their consciousness.

    When it comes to race, is the feminist movement walking in the vacant path of our predecessors? It seems as though not much has changed.

    Why are women of color still not included in the immediate conversation?"

  • "Again, big picture: I would argue that reporters of color face a constant scrutiny about our motives that actually inhibits favoritism; and that white, heterosexual reporters, especially men, see themselves and their actions as neutral even when they are not. You may find a black reporter talking about her “sista-girl” circle in an article on Michelle Obama… but I’ve never seen an example in the mainstream media of a black reporter signing off on a program that broke one of the fundamental tenets of journalism–that paid access for lobbyists and journalism don’t mix. (Some of the pay-to-play antics of traditional African-American media outlets will be another story for another day…)

    Of course, Kurtz went on CNN today to criticize the Washington Post. Who isn’t chiming in? But I wish Kurtz would do a deeper investigation of the fig leaf of white neutrality; and take a harder look in the mirror as well."