Tag Archives | Race

“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

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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?”

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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.

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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.

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My Feminism Will Be Intersectional or It Will Be Bullshit!

945824_592478660770212_1776958502_nFlavia Dzodan writes at Tiger Beatdown:

This past week I’ve been screaming this a lot. Because I like to play “connecting the dots” (s.e. smith ipse dixit) as a matter of political practice. I play “connecting the dots” even though sometimes I might not get a properly outlined landscape but the equivalent of what my 1 year old niece playing with a bunch of sharpies on the coffee table would produce. Which is to say, sometimes, the pictures I draw when I connect dots might not make sense or might be inaccurate or might have missed a few dots to be totally accurate. But I am willing to pay the price of not making sense sometimes if I do eventually get it right. I would rather sometimes come across as far fetched than miss the landscape that the shit puff pastry provides. And these past few days I’ve been playing connect the dots more often than usual.

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PBS: Independent Lens: ‘Seeking Asian Female’

Debbie Lum’s ‘Seeking Asian Female’ follows the surprising romance of Steven and Sandy — an aging white man obsessed with marrying any Asian woman and the young Chinese bride he finds on the internet. Debbie, a Chinese American filmmaker, documents and narrates with healthy doses of humor and reflection, from the early stages of Steven’s search for an Asian bride, through the moment Sandy sets foot in America for the first time, to a year into their precarious union. Global migration, Chinese-American relations and the perennial battle of the sexes, weigh in on the fate of marriage in this eccentric love story.
This version of ‘Seeking Asian Female’ was edited for time allowed. You can purchase the full 90 minute film here.

Watch Seeking Asian Female on PBS. See more from Independent Lens.

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I’m Black and I Want More “Stuff” and “Things”: An Open Letter to Bill O’Reilly

Jesse Hagopian writes at Common Dreams:
On election night, as it became increasingly clear that Mitt Romney was going to lose the election to Barack Obama, I watched Fox News host Megyn Kelly ask you, “How do you think we got to this point?” You responded by saying,
Because it’s a changing country. The demographics are changing. It’s not a traditional America anymore and there are 50 percent of the voting public who want stuff, they want things. And who is going to give them things? President Obama. The white establishment is now the minority...
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Why America Needs A White History Month

James Baldwin. Source: MDCarchives (CC)

Mychal Denzel Smith writes for the Guardian:

We need a White History Month.

For anyone who speaks on issues of race publicly, the idea has long been a joke – a retort thrown at you from frustrated white folks who believe they are being discriminated against because there doesn’t exist a special month set aside to celebrate their racial identity. They cry foul at the notion of Black History Month, Black Entertainment Television, Black Enterprise and everything else with “black” in the title – even, sometimes, going so far as to say these things are racist in nature because their names and missions are “discriminatory”. It’s preposterous, but they counter that they need a White History Month to provide balance and equality.

After laughing this off for years, I’m now on the same page.

I don’t mean White History in the same way we (attempt) to celebrate Black History during February, or Women’s History in March.

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On How Computers See Race

Does technology covertly holds the biases of its creators? Alexis Stevens in Cluster Magazine writes about an unintended dimension of of facial-recognition-based surveillance software:

“HP Computers are Racist” is a 2009 YouTube video in which two electronics store employees demonstrate how face recognition and video tracking technology on Hewlett-Packard computers works more accurately for people of whiter skin tones. “I think,” one of the employees remarks with biting accuracy, “my blackness is interfering with the computer’s ability to—to follow me.”

The company issued an apology after the clip went viral, suggesting that face-detection algorithms have more difficulty identifying the contrast that helps discern facial structure in low lighting. An ironic outcome of this corporate oversight is that while black people are more likely to be eyed as suspicious and tracked in real life (e.g. stop-and-frisk), the engineering of webcams for a presumptively white target audience renders people of color more invisible to technology.

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