By Guest Contributor Liz Dwyer, cross-posted from Los Angelista
“Why’d you give that n***** your eraser?”
I send my two sons to school to learn, not so that they can be called racial slurs. But on Wednesday, a boy in 10-year-old Mr. O’s fifth grade class decided to make sure that the classroom was an extra welcoming learning environment. He posed the above question to another student, after that kid decided to give my son an eraser.
My son told me about it when I went to pick him up from his after school program and of course I was angry and upset, but I also felt numb. I am the mother of two black males in the United States. That means this is not the first time my boys have been called a racial slur.
I could write about how we are not post-racial and this is exhibit A of why I believe that racism is still America’s most vital and challenging issue. But it came to me that there’s something powerful about letting children–the most innocent of us all–share what it feels like to be called the n-word in class.
Last night I asked the boys if they’d like to talk about the racial slurs they’ve been called, and how it makes them feel. They were excited to share–we all know it’s cathartic to be able to share something painful that’s happened–and I’m glad that they know that they don’t have to keep the racism they face a secret or act like it’s not a big deal–or that it’s something they have to be ashamed of.
I filmed this interview with my boys before they went to sleep and in it Mr. T, my eight-year-old details being called an African bitch at school, and he talks about the first time he remembers being called the n-word. Mr. O talked about this most recent incident in his school, and then both boys talked about how it feels to know that when kids say these things, you still have to be in the classroom with them and what they think schools should do.
I have cried every time I watch the six minutes of this clip. It hurts like nothing else to know that children think it’s OK to call other children dehumanizing names that are steeped in the sickness of this nation’s racism.
(Editor’s note: a transcript of the video is under the cut – Arturo)
By Arturo R. García
Like many college basketball players, Emily Tay’s quest to keep her career going led her to Europe. But her journey on the court is just a part of her story, and No Look Pass, which premiered this past weekend at Outfest in Los Angeles, captures the remarkable pressures Tay faces in her life, and not just as a basketball player.
The film chronicles Tay’s transition from starring at Harvard, where she was named the Ivy League’s Player of the Week three times as a senior and singed rival Yale with 34 points in her final game, to starting her professional career in Germany, a decision which puts her at odds with her parents, who expect Emily to enter an arranged marriage. What her parents don’t know, though, is that Emily is gay. Her romantic life faces another challenge in Germany, where she begins a relationship with a U.S. servicewoman.
Because the film’s July 9 premiere sold out, a second showing has been added:
When: July 17
Where: Directors Guild of America
7920 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood
Tickets available here
By Arturo R. García
Yesterday Channel APA revealed the roster for the debut of K-town, a reality show that, as you can see, will be unique in casting, if not tone: this bunch of presumably, uh, rambunctious young people is exclusively Asian-American.
From left to right, that’s Young Lee, Jennifer Field, Joe Cha, Scarlet Chan, Violet Kim, Peter Le, Steve Kim, and Jasmine Chang up top. According to APA, the show’s premiere was filmed at three Koreatown-area bars in Los Angeles, and based on some preview images, hilarity might indeed ensue.
Compiled by Site Lead Arturo R. García
A white former transit officer was convicted of involuntary manslaughter Thursday in the videotaped shooting death of an unarmed black man on an Oakland train platform in an encounter that set off days of rioting in the city.
Prosecutors had wanted Johannes Mehserle convicted of murdering 22-year-old Oscar Grant, who was shot once in the back as he lay face-down.
The jury’s conviction on the lesser charge raised concerns of a repeat of the unrest that followed the shooting on New Year’s Day in 2009.
What happened to Grant is every black family’s worst nightmare for their children — especially their sons — in a country where racial profiling and police brutality of black folks is rampant and still unchecked. Being hassled by the cops for driving while black or in Grant’s case, breathing while black is almost a rite of passage for young black men. It usually happens somewhere in the neighborhood of 14-25. In my brother’s case, he was with a friend as a 16 year old just driving to another friend’s house when he was pulled over by a cop in our quiet Washington DC suburb, accused randomly & without cause of stealing the car and found himself facedown in a large intersection with a gun pointed at his head. It’s said here in the Bay Area that Oscar Grant’s mom actually encouraged him to ride the subway New Year’s Eve — because she thought it would be safer. There’s not a black mother in the United States, no matter your socioeconomic or educational level, who does not look at Oscar Grant’s mother and say — there but for the grace of God…goes I.
- Jack & Jill Politics