Category Archives: We’re So Post Racial

Quoted: Wired Magazine on How to Raise Racist Kids

By Deputy Editor Thea Lim

From How to Raise Racist Kids by Jonathan Liu:

Step One: Don’t talk about race. Don’t point out skin color. Be “color blind.”

Step Two: Actually, that’s it. There is no Step Two.

Congratulations! Your children are well on their way to believing that <insert your ethnicity here> is better than everybody else.

Surprised? So were authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman when they started researching the issue of kids and race for their book NurtureShock. It turns out that a lot of our assumptions about raising our kids to appreciate diversity are entirely wrong:

It is tempting to believe that because their generation is so diverse, today’s children grow up knowing how to get along with people of every race. But numerous studies suggest that this is more of a fantasy than a fact.

Since it’s Black History Month, I thought it would be a good time to talk about race, particularly some of the startling things I found in this particular chapter of NurtureShock. What Bronson and Merryman discovered, through various studies, was that most white parents don’t ever talk to their kids about race. The attitude (at least of those who think racism is wrong) is generally that because we want our kids to be color-blind, we don’t point out skin color. We’ll say things like “everybody’s equal” but find it hard to be more specific than that. If our kids point out somebody who looks different, we shush them and tell them it’s rude to talk about it. We think that simply putting our kids in a diverse environment will teach them that diversity is natural and good.

And what are they learning? Here are a few depressing facts:

  • Only 8% of white American high-schoolers have a best friend of another race. (For blacks, it’s about 15%.)
  • The more diverse a school is, the less likely it is that kids will form cross-race friendships.
  • 75% of white parents never or almost never talk about race with their kids.
  • A child’s attitudes toward race are much harder to alter after third grade, but a lot of parents wait until then (or later) before they feel it’s “safe” to talk frankly about race.
I was fascinated by this research, considering that this is the very strategy my parents employed (mixed race family notwithstanding), and I have quite a few friends who reported the same dynamic in their families.  Read the full article here.

Thanks to Elton Joe for the tip!

Photo of Telfair Museum in Savannah from UGArdener’s Flickr.

Obama’s speech addressed several categories of people and communities except race and ethnicity

By Guest Contributor Andrew Grant-Thomas, originally published at RaceTalk.org

EDITORIAL: Obama’s speech addressed several categories of people and communities except race and ethnicity

What a long, strange year it’s been.

A year that began with the loud insistence by some that Barack Obama’s election confirmed the United States as an essentially colorblind, post-racial nation went on to present a series of spectacular counterpoints to that claim – flaps over Attorney General Eric Holder’s “nation of cowards” race speech, Joe Wilson’s shouted “you lie!” during the president’s health care address, Professor Henry Louis Gates’ encounter with a white police officer at his home, the Senate inquiry into Sonia Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” comment, and more.

And yet, while President Obama’s State of the Union address sprinkled references to several categories of people and communities about whom he expressed concern, race was altogether absent from his remarks. “Small towns and rural communities” received early mention. So, too, did “those who had already known poverty,” “working families,” “small business owners,” “first-time homebuyers,” gays in the military, women (with respect to equal pay laws), and, of course, “middle-class Americans,” among others. Race? Ethnicity? Nothing.

As a matter of political calculus, the silence was unremarkable and unsurprising, coming as it did from a president reluctant to publicly tread the ground of race except, at times, in the context of his personal biography. However, with respect to on-the-ground realities and the opportunity presented for social transformation, a continued failure to engage race would be devastating.

The pain of economic recession has been felt widely, but not equally. President Obama noted that 1 in 10 Americans could not find work. (The fraction would be much larger if we included those so discouraged that they have stopped looking for work and therefore are not included among the “officially” unemployed.) He didn’t tell us that joblessness is much worse for African Americans (1 in 6) and for Latinos (1 in 8 ) and has worsened much faster for them than for Americans as a whole. The president referred to declining home values. He did not acknowledge that African Americans, Latinos, immigrants, and women have borne the brunt of the resulting dramatic loss in wealth. He pointed out that in the 21st century “one of the best anti-poverty programs is a world-class education.” However, the president neglected to mention that young Latino adults earn bachelor’s degrees at one-third the rate of their white peers, and that African Americans earn degrees at only half the rates of whites.

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Racism Goes Up in the Air

by Latoya Peterson

I was peacefully watching Mad Men when this madness peeked into my commercial break. At 00:59:

“Bingo. Asians. They pack light, travel efficiently, and have a thing for slip on shoes, god love ‘em.”

“That’s racist!”

“I’m like my mother. I stereotype – it’s faster.”

Cue eye roll at blatant “he’s so cool and un-PC” ploy.

Bonus points for making a “post racial” joke when there are no other people of color in the trailer. Not even as background extras.

Open Thread: Cornel West on Stephen Colbert – Respect or Mockery?

By Deputy Editor Thea Lim

The Colbert Report is pretty hit and miss.  But most of the time I enjoy it.  Potentially that’s because Stephen Colbert’s satire is so impenetrable that I have little idea as to what his real politics are…which means I can just project my own politics onto him.  Jon Stewart on the other hand is less of a blank space. We get a much clearer sense of what he truly believes, making it (well, at least to this grump) easier to dislike him.

When Cornel West guested on the Colbert Report last week, my sleuthing skills went on overdrive.  What does Colbert really think of West? Does he agree with West, or does he think West’s a joke?

The Colbert ReportMon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Cornel West
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Is Colbert mocking West’s manner of speaking, or borrowing it? When Colbert references Jim Morrison, is he poking fun at West’s knowledge base, or is he merely “tangoing”? When West makes a great counterargument to the logic of Post Racialism, Colbert responds by saying “I feel like a muppet.” Does that undermine West – and is that Colbert’s intention?

I have to say that no matter what Colbert is doing, I really love this interview. I couldn’t stop smiling through it – not only because Cornel West’s enthusiasm and exuberance is infectious, but also because I don’t think I have ever seen someone steamroll Colbert so effectively. And I love that it was an anti-racist black man – expounding such truthiness! – that managed the Colbert takedown.

It can be very difficult for women and people of colour to wrest control of a conversation in a white mainstream space, especially when that conversation veers into hateful territory. Feeling voiceless or ignored in a white or male conversational space seems like almost a weekly happening for me. Watching this video, I felt like West was striking one for any POC (or WOC) who’s ever felt silenced by the cacophony of racism around them.

Interestingly a Colbert fan site reports that Colbert appears to genuinely like West, stating that this is what Colbert did after taping the interview:

In person I got the impression that Colbert actually really liked Cornel West. After the interview Stephen immediately walked around the desk and gave him a hug. Then West smiled and waved at the audience and we gave him a standing ovation.

So what do you think? Is Colbert an ally or is he just using West to make white folks laugh?

“I’m Not a Racist” Says Justice of the Peace Who Refuses to Marry Interracial Couples

A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have. Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

“I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way,” Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday. “I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else.”

Bardwell said he asks everyone who calls about marriage if they are a mixed race couple. If they are, he does not marry them, he said.

Bardwell said he has discussed the topic with blacks and whites, along with witnessing some interracial marriages. He came to the conclusion that most of black society does not readily accept offspring of such relationships, and neither does white society, he said.

“There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage,” Bardwell said. “I think those children suffer and I won’t help put them through it.”

Source: Interracial couple denied marriage license in La. (Associated Press)

Please file this under “racism without racists.”

Or “I have black friends.”

Or “really, my racism benefits society.”

The WTF Files [Mailbag]

Think Progress alerts us to this racial asshattery:


The OhioDaily blog reports on a “rogue” dispatcher from the North Canton Police who recently sent out a racist e-mail from her work account. Dispatcher Anita Malachowski forwarded this message:

    “New “Air Force One” Tail Number and yes, please forgive me, I’m really sorry, I really, really tried not to laugh, but …………………..!”

Attached to the e-mail was an Photoshopped image of Air Force one with NI66ER written on the plane’s tail.

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No Laughing Matter: President Obama Depicted As the Joker

by Special Correspondent Wendi Muse

Since President Obama’s earliest moments in office, one of the biggest issues on the agenda has been healthcare reform. Yet as the clock ticks, many Americans have expressed disappointment, asserting that the healthcare goals are far from having been met and that they may have even been poorly planned and misguided from the start. As a means of voicing criticism, the word “socialism” has begun to create a loud whisper, but the assertion is not without visual aids, the most recent of them being President Obama depicted as the Joker.

Some consider the image insulting and disrespectful in a general sense, yet others have alleged that the image is racist “because it shows Mr Obama as a black-and-white minstrel in reverse.” Blogger Steven Mikulan of LA Weekly wrote:

“It has a bit of everything to appeal to the drunk tank of California conservatism: Obama is in white face, his mouth (like Ledger’s Joker’s) has been grotesquely slit wide open and the word ‘Socialism’ appears below his face . . . The only thing missing is a noose.”

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the artist of the image is unknown, but it has been found posted in cities like Los Angeles and Atlanta

Others, particularly those from more conservative circles, believe that the image is one of the first examples of tangible evidence that the public is suffering from national regret and a lack of belief in the hope-heavy platform around which President Obama built his campaign. Conservative blogger Thomas Lifson of the American Thinker wrote:

“It is starting. Open mockery of Barack Obama, as disillusionment sets in with the man, his policies, and the phony image of a race-healing, brilliant, scholarly, middle-of-the-roader.”

What do you think? Is this image racist or is it simply a typical  example of political satire? Beyond simply race, what other issues are important for us to discuss in relation to this image?

Hat tip to Adam over at Eyes on Brazil for this topic!

We’re So Post-Racial [Presidential Racism Watch]

by Latoya Peterson and Carmen Van Kerckhove

Welcome to “We’re So Post Racial,” a reoccurring feature that looks at racism aimed toward The White House.

In today’s edition, we have a double. The first, following on the heels of the NY Post controversy is a creatively rearranged storefront:

According to the Defenders Online:

Yes the photo is authentic. And yes the incident did happen at the Coral Gables, Florida store. But it turns out that it was a cruel joke by a customer and not a decision made by the store.

“This was not a company driven decision,” Edgar Chang, the store manager, said in an interview with TheDefendersOnline. “We are not sure how the book got in the window, but we believe it was put there by a customer who didn’t like the fact that Obama won the election.”

The store is located in the Miracle Mile Mall on a busy stretch of highway. The display windows face that highway. While customers walking in or by can clearly see titles in the window, somehow the store’s manager and employees did not notice the monkey book for three or four days.

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