Tag Archives | Race

The Problem With Hugs

Ruth Fowler writes at CounterPunch:

By now we’ve all seen the viral image of a teenage black boy, tears streaming down his face, hugging a white police officer in riot gear. The image, taken from a Ferguson protest in Portland, Oregon will doubtless become as iconic as the photograph of 17 year old Jan Rose Kasmir holding a flower up to the stony faces of the National Guard during a Vietnam war protest, or the unknown man standing alone in front of oncoming tanks in Tiananmen Square. The boy, Devonte Hart, has unwittingly become a symbol of hope and pacifism in the midst of growing fury over the failure of the Grand Jury to indict Darren Wilson for the murder of Mike Brown. It seems to suggest that if we all just stop for a moment, let down our guard, become human beings, show some love and face our own mortality, that this whole sorry mess might blow over.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

White People: Bet You Don’t Have Any Black Friends

If you’re white and in America, this would be a fairly safe bet, with Wonkblog reporting that 3/4 of white people don’t have any non-white friends:

“All my black friends have a bunch of white friends. And all my white friends have one black friend.”

That’s the memorable punchline of a Chris Rock bit from 2009 on interracial friendships. And according to some recent number-crunching by Robert Jones of the Public Religion Research Institute, there’s a good deal of truth to that statement.

Let’s consider the average white American and the average black American, and let’s say, for simplicity’s sake, that each of them have 100 friends. If you were to break down their respective friend networks by race, they would look something like this.

black-friends-white-friends

In a 100-friend scenario, the average white person has 91 white friends; one each of black, Latino, Asian, mixed race, and other races; and three friends of unknown race.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

How White Liberals Shut Down Conversations About Racism

Nancy LeTourneau writes at Horizons:

Some of you might be aware of the fact that over the Thanksgiving week a battle about racism was engaged on the Daily Kos web site . If not, don’t worry, I’m not going to bring the whole thing here. But I do want to use some of the fallout to help us understand why talking about racism – even amongst liberals – is so hard to do.

What kicked off the conflict at Daily Kos was that a cartoonist posted a diary with drawings of President Obama that resembled a gorilla/monkey. To understand the reaction, you have to be aware of the history of racism being expressed by this kind of depiction. As many challenged the use of that imagery, a battle ensued.

What I found most telling was a reaction by one of the cartoonist’s fans at his web site who said this:

Being called a racist is really about as bad as it gets.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

When Whites Just Don’t Get It

Kids and piesSome shocking facts support Nicholas Kristof’s op-ed at the New York Times, such as “the net worth of the average black household in the United States is $6,314, compared with $110,500 for the average white household”:

Many white Americans say they are fed up with the coverage of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. A plurality of whites in a recent Pew survey said that the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.

Bill O’Reilly of Fox News reflected that weariness, saying: “All you hear is grievance, grievance, grievance, money, money, money.”

Indeed, a 2011 study by scholars at Harvard and Tufts found that whites, on average, believed that anti-white racism was a bigger problem than anti-black racism.

Yes, you read that right!

So let me push back at what I see as smug white delusion. Here are a few reasons race relations deserve more attention, not less:

• The net worth of the average black household in the United States is $6,314, compared with $110,500 for the average white household, according to 2011 census data.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Race is a Social Concept, Not a Scientific One

"silent diversity" by DryHundredFear via Flickr.

“silent diversity” by DryHundredFear via Flickr.

via Live Science:

Beyond the Ferguson, Mo., media reports on the “racial divide,” the facts require some correction: Despite notions to the contrary, there is only one human race. Our single race is independent of geographic origin, ethnicity, culture, color of skin or shape of eyes — we all share a single phenotype, the same or similar observable anatomical features and behavior.

Science highlights these similarities in our embryonic development, physiology (our organ-based systems), biochemistry (our metabolites and reactions), and more recently, genomics (our genetic makeup). As a molecular biologist, this last one is indeed the most important to me — data show that the DNA of any two human beings is 99.9 percent identical, and we all share the same set of genes, scientifically validating the existence of a single biological human race and one origin for all human beings. In short, we are all brothers and sisters.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

“Don’t mention the war.” – Some thoughts on H.P. Lovecraft and Race

lovecraftface1

Editor’s Note: This essay was first published on David Nickle’s blog, “The Devil’s Exercise Yard.” It has been republished with permission.

When I went down to New Orleans last year to visit the World Horror Convention, I had just a few things on my to-do list. I wanted to see the town, sample its cuisine and take in some jazz–promote The ‘Geisters, the book that I had coming out that year, as much as was graceful–and also, talk a bit about race.

Specifically, I wanted to talk about race as it pertained to H.P. Lovecraft’s writings.

It seemed like the thing to do. The organizers of World Horror had found me a panel to sit on, moderated by Lovecraftian scholar, critic and anthologist S.T. Joshi, called Lovecraft’s Eternal Fascination. My first novel, Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism, is the only pseudo-Lovecraftian book I’ve written, and one of my aims with that book was to deal with Lovecraftian xenophobia from a post-Martin-Luther-King perspective–to tie Lovecraft’s horrible eugenic notions together with the genuine and just as horrible eugenic fallacies that were making the rounds in early 20th century America.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Columbus-ing Around: Columbus, The Borg, and the Great White Devil

The BorgA challenging new post over at Modern Mythology asks what we are actually talking about, when we talk about race:

History is portrayed as a science. And yet popular history remains as much subject to emotion as reason. History may be consciously rewritten; much more often, it simply evolves. … The present is a consequence of the past. But the past is an invention of the present. (Empires Apart.)

This concept of whiteness as function rather than people or culture is presented surprisingly clearly in the character of the Borg in Star Trek: The Next Generation. They are a perfect metaphor for whiteness not as race but as force of hegemonic appropriation, as you can see in the first episode they appear in, “Q-Who?”

Continue Reading.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Thinking About Becoming Minority Population Leads Whites Toward Conservative Politics

Fear of a black planet?

PIC: PD

PIC: PD

Via the Association for Psychological Science:

Facing the prospect of racial minority groups becoming the overall majority in the United States leads White Americans to lean more toward the conservative end of the political spectrum, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

The findings suggest that increased diversity in the United States could actually lead to a wider partisan divide, with more White Americans expressing support for conservative policies.

Psychological scientists Maureen Craig and Jennifer Richeson of Northwestern University noticed a substantial amount of media attention when predictions were made that the “majority-minority” population shift would happen in 2050 or sooner.

“We wondered how this kind of ‘us-vs-them’ framing would be perceived by members of the current majority,” says Craig.

Craig and Richeson first examined data from 369 White participants who had described themselves as politically unaffiliated in a national Pew Research survey.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Mormon Church Changes Stance on Race

Mormon Jesus

Mormon Jesus approves.

Just as the Roman Catholic Church has become  more liberal, the Church of Latter-Day Saints, or Mormon Church, has decided that “dark skin” is no longer the “mark of Cain.”  I tell ya, the End must be extremely goddamn nigh.

VIA Dwindling in Unbelief

The LDS church has finally confessed. It admits that it was wrong about
race from the church’s beginning in 1830 until 1978 when God changed
his mind about black people.

Here is what the new document “Race and the Priesthood” says about it:

Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse … that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else.

If that is true, then the LDS church disavows the Book of Mormon, which says that God cursed people by blackening their skin, causing them to be “a dark, filthy, and loathsome people,” and that any “white and delightsome” person who “mixes seed” with them will be “cursed with the same cursing.”

Here are just a few passages in the Book of Mormon that the Mormon church now disavows:

After they had dwindled in unbelief they became a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.

Read the rest
Continue Reading