Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis: [Black pathology] has two causes: one is institutionalized racism, and we just have to admit that America was built on a fault line called race, and that thing is cracking wide open. So, all of these are symptoms of that. Some of them are that we internalize the narrative. And I think the other thing, you were pointing to a little while ago, is that somehow it makes us feel like we have more power, if it’s ‘our stuff’ — we’ve got more power to examine it, to fix it. But I think the bottom line is, this isn’t at all about Black pathology; it is about racism in America, which is in fact, pathological.
This story is best read with the appropriate musical accompanyment:
ONE YEAR BEFORE EPISODE SEVEN
It was a momentous occasion. The sight of John Boyega in the first moments of the teaser for “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” was a victory — a much-needed statement after the parade of racist caricatures that haunted the series’ three prequels, and a sign that director J.J. Abrams could really be on the right track toward blunting the memory of Jar-Jar Binks from fans’ minds.
But Boyega’s appearance also caused an ugliness to stir from within the Internet’s own hives of scum and villainy — comments sections and the most basic of Twitter accounts — from people who are apparently ready to believe in 7-foot wooly smugglers, diminutive green mystics and swords made of light that are drawn from a person’s connection to an all-encompassing universal essence, while being aghast at the thought that a member of a galactic military brigade can be Black.
As The Mary Sue reported, just seeing Boyega was enough to scare people. Consider these no-doubt well-adjusted individuals:
These bros are apparently freaking out because Boyega appears wearing Stormtrooper armor. This ignores the fact that Jango Fett, the bounty hunter who provided the blueprint for the original troopers, was played by Temuera Morrison, who is of Maori, Irish and Scottish descent. These “fans” also forgot that the actor who played the young Boba Fett, Daniel Logan, is also Maori.
As The Atlantic points out, there’s also an in-canon reason for Boyega to play a Stormtrooper (that is, unless his character is just posing as one):
Even if Morrison and Fett (and all of his clones) choose to pass as white, by the time of the events of “Episode IV: A New Hope,” the Empire has been recruiting from general populations for years. That’s why it makes sense that a young Luke Skywalker, lured by a galaxy larger than the humble moisture farm he calls home on Tatooine, dreams of enlisting in the Imperial Navy.
Luckily, Boyega himself is handling things just fine, going by this Instagram post over the weekend:
On the plus side, we now have an idea of how comments section racists are going to react whenever Lupita Nyong’o appears in any of the Episode VII trailers:
From the program description:
This year and next we will celebrate the anniversaries of major racial justice victories like the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. In this plenary, big thinkers will reflect on trends and strategies for the next half century.
With the Voting Rights Act itself under political assault, the conference’s final plenary feels more timely — and more needed — than ever. The discussion will feature:
- Ian Haney Lopez is a senior fellow at Demos, a progessive public policy organization. He is also the author of three books analyzing the ongoing effects of racism on the U.S. since the Civil Rights Era. His latest work, Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class, was published earlier this year.
- Van Jones was seen most recently as a co-host of CNN’s political roundtable show Crossfire. But for the past three years, he has led the progressive political group Rebuild The Dream, which he also founded. He was also the green jobs advisor for President Barack Obama’s administration and has written two New York Times best-sellers, Rebuild The Dream and The Green Collar Economy.
- Rinku Sen is both the publisher of Colorlines and the president of the Race Forward conference. Early on in her career, Ms. Magazine listed her as one of 21 feminists to watch in the 21st century, and in 2008, Utne Reader called her one of 50 visionaries changing the world. She has also published two books: Stir It Up: Lessons in Community Organizing and Advocacy and The Accidental American: Immigration and Citizenship in the Age of Globalization.
The conference’s final plenary begins at 4:30 p.m. EST, and can be seen below.
by Guest Contributor Aya De Leon, originally published at Mutha Magazine
All parents have hopes for their children. We have concerns about the world we’re bringing them into, but somehow, in an infinite number of circumstances, we become parents. Some of us use technology on the road to our parenting. This creates a complex layer of medical and commercial issues in our experience. Recently, a woman in Ohio got the wrong sperm from a bank in Chicago.
She and her female partner are white. They mistakenly got sperm from a black donor, and found out when she was several months pregnant.
Unexpectedly, they now have a multi-racial daughter.
In her commercial relationship with that company, she has a clear right to sue for damages under the law. In spite of her lawsuit, the mom has been explicit about how much she loves her daughter and that she would not change her.
However, for people of color, particularly parents, it is painful and difficult to witness the journey of parenting brown children posited as a legal liability and a quantifiable set of damages.
Here is the statement I, as a mother of color, wish she had given:
“I had no idea how hard it is to face racism and to worry every day about how it will affect my family. I am totally unprepared for this, but I honor the work of all the mothers of black children that have gone before me. Continue reading
We can’t have anything, can we?
Not one scrap of dignity. Not one little bit of humanity. Nothing. None. Nada. One would think after a blood-soaked summer, those of us battle scared and weary by current events could find a refuge in television, with one of the most diverse seasons we’ve seen since the start of this blog. Even if diversity behind the camera is still suffering, we could at least relax into our favorite televised escapes, right?
Wrong. We’re not going to talk about *that* article, though we hope we see something from the New York Times public editor addressing the controversy.
Update: Margaret Sullivan is on it. While she is investigating how this got published, she shared this letter from Patricia Washington:
I am a black woman and a lawyer. I have worked very hard to achieve in my profession and earn respect. I live in a very nice suburban community in Maryland. And yet, none of that makes one bit of difference because a New York Times writer can make whatever offhanded, racist opinions about a successful TV producer who is a black woman she cares to make, and because she has the protection of The New York Times behind her, can publish it. Because Ms. Stanley is a New York Times writer, her story has reached a national audience. Why is Ms. Stanley allowed to characterize Ms. Rhimes as she did and get away it? Why is she allowed to characterize Viola Davis as she did in her story and get away with it?
Ms. Stanley’s story was a backhand to me and it hurts. For the first time, I am considering cancelling my New York Times subscription because this story is much more than disagreeing with the writer’s opinion. This story denigrated every black woman in America, beginning with Shonda Rhimes, that dares to strive to make a respectable life for herself. No matter what we do, as far as Ms. Stanley is concerned, we will always be angry and have potent libidos as we have been perceived from slavery, to Jim Crow, and sadly in September 2014, the 21st century.
Kara Brown’s take down at Jezebel is worth reading if you missed the controversy.
How deep does this go? Melissa Harris-Perry and her team on MSNBC created an amazing send-up, analyzing the role of the Angry White Man on television:
If MHP’s bit felt a little strange, it’s just a little dissonance: we are not accustomed to turning the othering gaze used on white characters.
But this situation begs the question: what now? The online community rallied to support of Rhimes, but what else can we do? A tweet in? A watch in? What could we do to deliver a message that these kind of mistakes are not just an editorial judgement error, but a societal problem?
And in case you were confused by the title of this piece:
By Guest Contributor Shadee Malaklou, cross-posted from JFCBlog
[Editor's Note: Graphic images at the end of this post, under the cut]
The Trayvon Martin syllabus: These reading and viewing assignments are designed to prompt politically vigilant conversations about historical and institutional constructs of black male criminality in the United States.
Specifically, they unpack Trayvon Martin’s gratuitous murder in February 2012 and the response his tragic death elicited from media and legal institutions–especially relevant in the wake of Michael Brown’s August 2014 lynching in Ferguson, Missouri. Written texts consist of insightful and timely essays published on blogs like Colorlines, The Feminist Wire and Black Girl Dangerous.
These essays teach tertiary students how to extrapolate anti-black racism from non-black experiences of ethnic difference without overwhelming them with jargon-heavy texts written for a well-versed academic audience.
Competitive rental markets mean that tenants can put up with some seriously strange requests from landlords and potential roommates in order to score a decent place. No cooking, no dogs, no shoes in the house are all standard requests – but what would happen if the stated policy was “no black people?”
The Lie Guys set up a ad for a room on Craigslist, then Skype recorded the responses.
Transcript and follow up bellow the jump. Continue reading