links for 2006-12-05

Jen transitions out of New Demographic Co-Director role

by Jen Chau

jen chauPlease scroll down to download or listen to our latest episode of Addicted to Race, in which Carmen and I discuss this news.

This is the hardest decision I have made in a while. After more than two years of working with Carmen, co-directing New Demographic, co-editing Mixed Media Watch (now Racialicious), and then creating Addicted to Race and many more fabulous blogs (Race Changers, Anti-Racist Parent), I have decided to transition out of my Co-Director role.

In the past several months, our work has intensified exponentially. With the addition of several new projects this fall, Carmen and I have been contacted by more media outlets for commentary, we have been approached by more organizations interested in our workshops, and we have had the pleasure of engaging with more and more of you, our readers and listeners. However, New Demographic is not the only thing in my life that has picked up the pace — my work with Swirl (the non-profit I founded 7 years ago) and New Leaders for New Schools (my full-time job) has also become more demanding. In an effort to really do a couple of things well instead of spreading myself too thin, I decided that it made sense to focus on my work with Swirl and New Leaders for New Schools, knowing that New Demographic would be carried on by the more-than-capable Carmen!

So, Carmen will continue on as the Director of New Demographic. Given her talents and knowledge, I am confident that New Demographic will only continue to grow by leaps and bounds. I am excited to stay abreast of all of New Demographic’s projects to see how they transform and grow.

I am going to continue to contribute to the work of challenging society’s ideas around race and identity through my role as Founder/Executive Director of Swirl and with my Human Resources Director role at New Leaders for New Schools.

Swirl ( is a social justice organization building and serving a mixed heritage community through support, education and empowerment. We are focusing on the re-launch of our new website, growing and expanding to serve more cities across the country, and building more programs for our growing diverse communities. I am glad to be able to devote more attention to the organization, really building off of our past successes and taking the time to be strategic about shaping the work we do, moving forward.

I am also very excited to be a part of an educational reform movement through New Leaders for New Schools ( For the past six years, this organization has mainly served as a training ground for exceptional teachers to become principals. They go into schools that are struggling, where children aren’t at the reading and math levels they need to be, and help to turn those schools around. New Leaders operates with the belief that all (every single) child can achieve at high levels. There is a built-in drive to reach equality in education in order to level the playing field for children — no matter what background (class, race, etc). This is an important mission, and one that I am committed to. A just education must be provided if we are going to chip away at the racial disparities that exist. I have been at New Leaders for about one and a half years now, working on the HR Team and I have just recently been promoted to Director. I am glad to be helping to provide strong systems and processes to an organization that is going to change education as we know it.

I may no longer be an official part of New Demographic (other than being one of its proud founders :)), but I will very much be a part of the work we are all doing to challenge the status quo and break the harmful stereotypes that fuel many of our interactions with one another.

The last couple of years have been fulfilling and exciting for me. Seeing the change that is possible through connecting people of different backgrounds and experiences, seeing how eyes are opened by the offering of new information, realizing how many like-minded people are out there willing to challenge the ways we think about race…it has made me very hopeful. I am looking forward to seeing not only how New Demographic grows, but how more and more people will become a part of our growing community of people dedicated to challenging racism, moving us forward, and connecting people of different ethnicities rather than separating us. I may not talk with you regularly (through Racialicious, ATR, ARP, etc.), but I will be right alongside you, working to educate and to break down the racist ideals that still plague us today.

Thanks for the learning and the laughter. I’ll see you all out there, making a difference,


(btw, I encourage all who are interested in continuing to stay in touch with me or those who are interested in getting involved in community organizing around race and identity, to reach me at

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More black men in jail than college? Actually, no.

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Check out this video (hat tip to Keith Boykin) that debunks oft-cited statistics about black men. Stats like 1 out of 2 black men doesn’t graduate from college. Or that there are more college-age black men in jail than in school. And visit out this page, where they compile links to all the sources they used for their research.

Cop makes black men rap for him to get out of a ticket

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

cop makes black men rap for him to get out of a ticketThe mayor and police chief of Tempe, Arizona are apologizing after a video surfaced of a local cop making two black men rap for him, in exchange for not giving them a ticket for littering.

You can view the video here. Thanks to Kimberly for the tip!

He first asks for a name and ID from the driver and then asks the two men if they know how much the fine is for littering.

The officer then tells the men that they can avoid getting a littering ticket “if the two of you just do a little rap about — what do you want to do a rap about? Littering? About the dangers of littering.”

The two men agree, and each performs a short rap, laughing afterward. One says, “The dangers of littering, you will get a ticket. If you ain’t wit’ it, you better be experienced.”

The second man raps, “Yo, I just got pulled over ’cause I threw my trash out the window when they rolled over. They got behind me and pulled me over.”

Later, Schoville talks football with the men, one of whom agrees with his prediction that the Oakland Raiders will make it to the Super Bowl this year.

Schoville then says, “You know why you say I’m right? Because I got a gun and badge. I’m always right. That’s the way it works, right?” The three laugh and the two men get in their car.

links for 2006-12-04

links for 2006-12-02

In case you missed it…

by Jen Chau and Carmen Van Kerckhove

Every Friday afternoon we sum up the week’s best posts from New Demographic’s various projects. Here we go!

race changersRACE CHANGERS
a community of people working towards an anti-racist future, one week at a time

  • Assignment 8 – Understanding the history of lynching: Richards betrayed his intimate knowledge of lynching culture by mentioning a fork in his remarks. References to eating (”coon cooking,” “barbecue,” “main fare”) were extremely common in correspondence and reports on lynchings. Also, celebratory barbecues and picnics were often held during or after the lynchings.

addicted to raceADDICTED TO RACE
a podcast about America’s obsession with race

  • Episode 49: Carmen chats with movie producer Teddy Zee about the current state of representations of Asian-Americans in film and television. Zee is president of Ironpond, an entertainment company that bridges Hollywood and Asia. Previously, he was a top-level studio executive at Columbia and Paramount. He produced Hitch, Saving Face, The Pursuit of Happyness, and recently completed West 32nd.

anti-racist parentANTI-RACIST PARENT
a blog for parents who are committed to raising children with an anti-racist outlook

a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture

  • Racism as a face cream? I saw this ad campaign mentioned on Adrants, produced by the ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi. I guess the concept is that racism is like a face cream: the more you “apply” it, the uglier you become.
  • How awesome was Heroes last night? I know I can’t be the only Heroes fan on this blog, right?
  • Paul Mooney vows to stop using the n-word: comedian Paul Mooney has vowed to stop using the n-word as a result of the Michael Richards incident. He joked about Richards, “He’s my Dr. Phil. He’s cured me.” The question is, would abolishing the word really do any good?
  • Gwen Stefani: everyone else is racist, not me! Yeah, gee I wonder why people would view Japanese women as submissive, pliable creatures when Gwen Stefani is parading these four women around as dancing, giggling human props who are contractually obligated to only speak Japanese even though they’re all American.
  • Whiteness in a bottle: Alabaster perfume from Banana Republic: Alabaster is just one of three new fragrances they’re offering this season, but is it a coincidence that it’s the only one that gets the full-page treatment? Hmmm…
  • Banned racist Merrie Melodies cartoon: 1943’s ‘Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs: For me, Coal Black stands as one of the clearest expressions of the relationship between white supremacy, patriarchy, and militarism. Needless to say, the short is rife with almost every racist meme ever projected onto African Americans.

I’m speaking at South by Southwest (SXSW)

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

sxswI’m excited to announce that I’ll be a panelist at South by Southwest (SXSW) in March! I’ll be on a panel called “Bridging the Cultural Divide,” which will focus on the question: Do social networking sites help with understanding people from various cultures, or do they inadvertently exclude the experiences and observations of some?

If you’re planning to attend, drop me a line! And if you have any thoughts on the topic you’d like me to share with the audience, let me know!

Race, Culture, and Identity in a Colorstruck World