Tag Archives | Race

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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Top 10 Differences Between White and Non-White Terrorists

Picture: Misstique (CC)

I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’.

University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole sums up for his blog, Informed Comment, and found via AlterNet:

  1. White terrorists are called “gunmen.” What does that even mean? A person with a gun? Wouldn’t that be, like, everyone in the US? Other terrorists are called, like, “terrorists.”
  2. White terrorists are “troubled loners.” Other terrorists are always suspected of being part of a global plot, even when they are obviously troubled loners.
  3. Doing a study on the danger of white terrorists at the Department of Homeland Security will get you sidelined by angry white Congressmen. Doing studies on other kinds of terrorists is a guaranteed promotion.
  4. The family of a white terrorist is interviewed, weeping as they wonder where he went wrong. The families of other terrorists are almost never interviewed.
  5. White terrorists are part of a “fringe.” Other terrorists are apparently mainstream.
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White Maryland Police Officer Caught on Video Beating Handcuffed Black Man

Image credit Vector Portal

Via Raw Story:

UPDATE: Video embed was disabled. Watch the video at NBC Washington.

A couple of Maryland police officers have been caught on video using the buddy system to beat a helpless, handcuffed suspect. The police department has launched an internal investigation. Any guesses on the outcome?

A police officer in Laurel, Maryland is under investigation after a witness came forward with video of him repeatedly striking a handcuffed man in the head.

Craig Reddix provided NBC Washington with video he shot outside the Laurel Station Bar and Grill, where police were responding to reports of a fight on Sunday.

The video shows two white officers escorting a handcuffed African-American man. One officer can be seen holding the suspect’s arms while the other strikes his head at least three times. It’s wasn’t clear from the video if the officer stuck the man with an open or closed hand.

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Rodney King Wasn’t The Only One Beaten

After reading the myriad racist comments on CNN’s story about Rodney King’s death, I feel a bit of pertinent info should not be flushed down the memory hole. King wasn’t the only one beaten that night, as many police brutality apologists (none of whom have ever driven over the speed limit, of course) like to claim, but the two passengers of King’s car were too.

An Associated Press story from May 5th, 1992 [1, 2, 3] states:

The testimony of a passenger in Rodney King’s car that he, too, was beaten by police takes on new significance since the acquittal of four officers.

Bryant Allen testified during the officers’ trial that he was “kicked and stomped” as he lay on the ground outside King’s car, but neither the defense nor prosecutors followed up on his brief statement. On Monday’s “Montel Williams Show,” a syndicated television talk show, Bryant said: “I was stomped once and I was kicked twice.”…

On the show, he said he told police and prosecutors what happened to him soon after the March 3, 1991, videotaped beating of King.

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White Births No Longer a Majority in U.S.

BabyNote that the non-white U.S. population will still remain a minority for several decades. What will be the implications of a multi-racial (future) America? Reports the AP via the Christian Science Monitor:

For the first time, racial and ethnic minorities make up more than half the children born in the US, capping decades of heady immigration growth that is now slowing.

New 2011 census estimates highlight sweeping changes in the nation’s racial makeup and the prolonged impact of a weak economy, which is now resulting in fewer Hispanics entering the US.

“This is an important landmark,” said Roderick Harrison, a former chief of racial statistics at the Census Bureau who is now a sociologist at Howard University. “This generation is growing up much more accustomed to diversity than its elders.” The report comes as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on the legality of Arizona’s strict immigration law, with many states weighing similar get-tough measures.

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See It: Andrew Breitbart’s So-Called Controversial Obama Footage (Video)

Here's a followup to wild, ungrounded speculation from Zach Lisabeth on Opposing Views (video from BuzzFeed):
Before his unexpected death, conservative firebrand Andrew Breitbart was chomping at the bit to release a supposedly "explosive" video of President Obama filmed during the president's time at Harvard Law School. The video was purported to show a young Obama making racially charged comments that Breitbart hoped might damage the president's 2012 reelection bid ...
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Nothing Happens Unless White Folks Say So

redhook summerJames Mcbride, co-writer of Spike Lee’s ‘Red Hook Summer,’ has penned a pull-no-punches open letter to Hollywood, detailing some serious issues on race and representation in cinema, and what it means to be a storyteller in an overtly commercial studio system. Via Colorlines.

The reviews for Spike Lee’s film “Red Hook Summer” that premiered at Sundance earlier this week have not been good. His comments made after the premiere about Hollywood studios knowing “nothing about black people” made more headlines than the actual film.

An open letter published yesterday by “Red Hook” co-writer, James McBride, is sure to make even more headlines because he takes the film community to task and says “nothing in this world happens unless white folks says it happens.”

Below is an excerpt from McBride’s open letter on the 40 Acres and a Mule website:

Three days ago, at the premiere of “Red Hook Summer” at The Sundance Film Festival, Spike, usually a cool and widely accepting soul whose professional life is as racially diverse as any American I know- lost his cool for 30 seconds.

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Photos Of Child Slaves, 1863

Child SlavesVia How To Be A Retronaut, scans of a series of collectible cards, sold to raise awareness of the anti-slavery cause, with photos of slave children whom abolitionists had brought North and freed. It’s an interesting glimpse into how widely “blackness” could be defined in the slave-era South:

‘Slave children, freed and brought North by abolitionists to emphasize the plight of slaves. The proceeds from sale of the photographs were to be used to educate freed slaves who had come under the jurisdiction of the Union Army in the New Orleans area. A caption on one of these photographs points out that the children had been turned out of a hotel in Philadelphia because of their “color.”’

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