L.A. black firefighter gets $2.7M after coworkers lace spaghetti with dog food

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

firefighterI don’t know how it is in other parts of the country, but in New York City, the fire department is white, white, white. Let’s hope this case in Los Angeles will raise awareness of racial discrimination issues among firefighters. From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

The city is paying $2.7 million to settle a lawsuit from a black firefighter who claims he suffered racial discrimination after co-workers served him spaghetti laced with dog food…

In his lawsuit, firefighter Tennie Pierce, 51, said after he took a bite of the meal two years ago, he noticed other firefighters laughing. He demanded to know what was in the food after a second bite but nobody answered.

Pierce said he suffered retaliation for reporting the incident and verbal slurs, insults and derogatory remarks, including taunting by firefighters “barking like dogs (and) asking him how dog food tasted,” the lawsuit said.

David Wellman, a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz hired by Pierce’s attorney, said the association of a black man and dog food “resonates with the deep historical roots of slavery and the corresponding dehumanization.”

“It’s not just silly stuff. It’s racially motivated,” he said.

links for 2006-11-10

I’m hung like a black man

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

i'm hung like a black man t-shirtI think it’s probably time for us to start a questionable t-shirt category (remember this and this?). Thanks to Dorothy for this tip!

I don’t know what’s worse: the shirt itself or the description used to sell the shirt:

When you’re fishin’ for ho’s with a rod like this, bitches can’t help but to jump in da boat. Brown / Im Hung Like A Black Man Novelty T-shirt is made of 100% machine washable cotton.

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25 sure-fire ways to tokenize and alienate!

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Funny observations from Colours of Resistance‘s list of “25 ways to tokenize or alienate a non-white person around you.” Click over to read the full list.

1. walk up to that black girl you barely know in the co-op and say “what do you think of the new (insert hip-hop artist here) album.”…

5. go up to the Makah woman at the unlearning racism workshop and say “I saw a program about Crazy Horse on PBS, he did alot for your people.”…

16. pit light-skinned non-white people against each other based on how they identify racially and what you think is most correct…

24. if you see a black man speak about racism, say “he was so angry–but very articulate.”…

links for 2006-11-09

Brand-new “Addicted to Race” episode out now (#47)!

by Jen Chau and Carmen Van Kerckhove

A brand-new episode of Addicted to Race is out! If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our podcast in iTunes. Click here to launch iTunes and subscribe today, it’s absolutely free.

Jen interviews Professor Marla Brettschneider, author of the new book The Family Flamboyant: Race Politics, Queer Families, Jewish Lives. In the book, Marla Brettschneider draws on her own experience in a Jewish, multiracial, adoptive, queer family in order to theorize about the layered realities that characterize families in the United States today. Brettschneider uses critical race politics, feminist insight, class-based analysis, and queer theory to offer a distinct and distinctly Jewish contribution to both the family debates and the larger project of justice politics.

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Duration – 43:03
File Size – 17.7 MB
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Race, Culture, and Identity in a Colorstruck World