By Tope Fadiran
It’s hard out there for white men on college campuses. At least, that’s what American media would have us believe, given its coverage of the current controversy swirling around Dr. Saida Grundy, a Black scholar recently hired (effective July 1, 2015) by Boston University as an assistant professor of Sociology and African American Studies.
In reality, the way in which Dr. Grundy has been unceremoniously shoved into the spotlight proves the exact opposite: Black women on our campuses, even those who have reached the highest levels of educational achievement, are political and cultural targets simply for existing. There is no other explanation for the fact that this all began with a white man whose response to Grundy’s hiring was to go in search of something he could use to undermine her intellectual and professional standing.
By Tope Fadiran
Our colleagues at Race Forward, the racial justice organization that publishes Colorlines, was one of the organizations that pushed back against Starbucks’ hastily conceived “Race Together” initiative in March 2015.
At the time, Executive Director Rinku Sen penned an open letter calling for a national conversation on race that centers systemic rather than individual forms of racism. Race Forward is now building on this statement with “What is Systemic Racism?,” a new 8-part video series.
The videos star, and were written by, Jay Smooth of Ill Doctrine fame, who does double duty as Race Forward’s Video and Multimedia Producer. In a minute or less, each video introduces a different facet of systemic racism in the United States: mass incarceration, housing discrimination, the race and gender wealth gap, infant mortality, and more.
By Guest Contributor Priya R. Chandrasekaran, special to Racialicious
A month or so ago, I got into a debate with a friend at work about racism in the podcast Serial.
Serial, a widely popular production of WBEZ Chicago, follows journalist Sarah Koenig week to week as she investigates a fifteen-year old case in which an eighteen year-old Korean American girl was found strangled after she went missing. Her then eighteen year-old Pakistani American ex-boyfriend was charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping. He has been in prison since 2000, all the while maintaining his innocence.
Specifically, my friend and I had different responses to an article by Jay Caspain Kang accusing Koenig of “white reporter privilege.” She felt that Kang was too quick to read an exoticizing impulse into Koenig’s reactions when, for example, Koenig was probably startled by how “normal” a young woman’s diary seemed on the eve of its author meeting a violent death. Also, she said, Koenig the storyteller has to make her characters relatable to her listeners. But “relatability” is precisely what Kang problematizes, I replied, it assumes an underlying “colorblind ideal” that “reads ‘white.’” I brought up Julia Carrie Wong’s charge that Koenig “fail[s] to draw an distinctions between…. a first-generation Korean immigrant [experience] and [a] second-generation life in a Pakistani-American family,” and that she gives her subjects “model minority treatment.” But then… the descriptions Koenig uses were offered by the people she interviewed, not ones she coined.
So is she accountable for them?
A colleague joined in: Koenig probably assumes her audience has racial sensitivity.
I disagreed: Kang is right that the journalist comes “from the same demographic as her ‘intended audience’” in a context where “staffs of radio stations, newspapers, and magazines tend to be overwhelmingly white.”
But if being white is the fact of her experience, this colleague said, do we hold it against her? Continue reading
By Arturo R. García
Racialicious owner Latoya Peterson took part in a panel discussion moderated by Yahoo News host Katie Couric on Thursday regarding not only the death of Eric Garner, but the distrust characterizing the relationship between the New York Police Department and residents.
The discussion began with Couric interviewing Erica Garner and Eric Garner Jr., Garner’s children.
“Why didn’t the EMS help him if their job is to help people?” Erica Garner asked at one point. “I feel they treated him like an animal.”
Peterson and blogger Franchesca Ramsey then joined Couric to discuss how the case has stimulated conversation online.
“It’s just raw emotion, what’s happening,” Peterson said. “It’s not just unfortunately Eric Garner’s situation. It’s also in the aggregate, looking at everything that’s happened, with the summer, every 28 hours and all these campaigns, it’s really leading people to organize on social media and to be able to rise up and say, ‘We do not want to accept this any longer. This isn’t gonna be our world, and it shouldn’t be our world.'”
The discussion continued with a panel featuring comedian W. Kamau Bell, former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and journalist Dion Rabouin, a talk that featured several clashes between Kelly and Bell, who admitted he did not feel safe with Kelly in the room.
“I’ve been taught to treat cops like pitbulls,” Bell says at one point.
“Who taught you that?” Kelly responds.
“The Black community,” Bell shoots back. “Would you like their names and numbers?”
As promised, here are some of the images posted by the presenters:
As part of our plan to boost peoples’ signals during San Diego Comic-Con, we plan to run at least one or two mini-profiles a day, starting with a look at two popular cartoonists.
Where You Can Find Him: Booth K-15 in the Small Press section.
Where You Can Find Him Online: His personal site; his Patreon site.
What’s The Story?: Knight, a longtime SDCC exhibitor — his first con was in 1993 — who has hosted panels at the event in past years, is here promoting Knight Takes Queen, the second collection of stories from his daily Knight Life strip.
“This was a long time coming,” Knight said of the collection. “I’ve got probably 1,000 strips that I can put into books. I’m psyched to get it out, because people have been asking for it. It basically takes it through the time when my wife was pregnant with my first child until just after his birth.”
How has the convention landscape changed during the years he’s taken part in the con?: “It’s certainly is a big change from when I started coming in ’93. In ’93 it was just all 53-year-old white men. But it really started to diversify thoughout the 2000s, and hit this kind of crazy crescendo. Instead of it becoming sort of a weird side thing, and now it’s really mainstream. Honestly, the crowd can be more diverse than the comics itself, which is kind of interesting. But attempts are being made; Captain America’s black again, and Thor’s gonna be a woman. What’s interesting to me is, this is the first time I’ve seen a lot of discussion of sexual harassment of women in cosplay outfits or just being here at Comic-Con was brought up. I’m glad that kind of stuff is on the table, because it’s all been simmering under the surface.”
C. Spike Trotman
Where You Can Find Her: Booth 1330 with Black Label Comics
Where You Can Find Her Online: Iron Circus Comics website.
What’s The Story?: Trotman is promoting The Sleep Of Reason, a 26-story horror anthology featuring 34 different creators she says will have “no predictable endings” and none of the usual kinds of “scary” antagonists.
“I kind of got tired of things that feature supernatural creatures masquerading as horror,” she explains. “I personally don’t find things featuring zombies, werewolves, and vampires scary anymore because everybody already knows the rules. If a zombie shows up in a story, you know what you have to do to get rid of it. If a werewolf shows up, you know the rules it’s operating under. To me, the essence of fear is not understanding and being helpless in a situation. That’s why I don’t have things like zombies and vampires in The Sleep of Reason, because if I did have them, you would know how to take care of them.”
On the expanding audience for anthologies: “I think there has kind of been a mushrooms after the rain effect when it comes to anthologies. A lot of young creators, I’ve found, are putting together anthologies amongst themselves to kind of get their work out there, because the strength of the anthology, in my opinion, is [that] people will buy it for a creator they know is in there and they already like. But as a result, they’re exposed to maybe 10 or 15 other creators that they had no idea existed, and have great potential of becoming a fan of those creators. And I think people understand that, especially on the creators’ side, they understand that. So when they put together these projects, they’re kind of drawing from one another’s audiences and readerships with the hope that there can be kind of a swapping of fans — or at least growing their own fanbase by tapping into another person’s fanbase.”