Tag Archives | Racism

Racism May Not Be “Natural” (But Being an Asshole Is)

From "2001: A Space Odyssey"

Brain scans have shown that when people see faces of other races, their amygdalas light up like home security systems.  Some tout this as evidence of hardwired racial bias, evolved to keep the oddly colored “other” out of home territory.  But as Robert Wright points out in this recent article, there would be few opportunities for interracial conflict in our geographically dispersed evolutionary past.  The “other” would primarily be distinguished by different visual cues such as tribal emblems, because hostile neighboring tribes would generally be of the same race.

More recent brain scan experiments done on children show that, like menstrual cramps and unstoppable boners, neurological race rage doesn’t kick in until after puberty.  While the question of “nature vs. nurture” is still open, this suggests that cultural forces are at work.

Wright’s line of reasoning is pretty solid when he says, “[T]hough we’re not naturally racist, we’re naturally ‘groupist.'”

Via The Atlantic:

There’s never been good reason to believe that human beings are naturally racist.… Read the rest

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Most Americans Prejudiced Against Blacks

Picture: "Confederate till Death" (CC)

Bad news for “post-racial” America:

Via the Associated Press:

Racial prejudice has increased slightly since 2008 whether those feelings were measured using questions that explicitly asked respondents about racist attitudes, or through an experimental test that measured implicit views toward race without asking questions about that topic directly.

In all, 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48 percent in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56 percent, up from 49 percent during the last presidential election. In both tests, the share of Americans expressing pro-black attitudes fell.

Read more.

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Nine Most Racist Moments of the 2012 Election

Picture: "1919 Omaha Courthouse Lynching" Wikimedia Commons (CC)

Race-baiting has been the historical shame of the GOP for some time now, and I can only hope it will haunt the once-moderate Mitt Romney with many a sleepless night, whether he wins or loses. Mitch McConnell’s 2010 pronouncement to voters that “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president”, and a steady stream of subtle and not-so-subtle racist imagery has combined to create a rabid, perhaps even dangerous, mindset among some lawmakers and a minority of their constituents. Worse still is the ugly and prejudiced mindset revealed among a mostly white, male, wealthy elite. We are all at risk of such bigotry seated deep in our subconscious, but as a cunning campaign cudgel, it’s pretty damning to these reprehensible Republicans.

via Alex Kane at AlterNet

The son of a Wisconsin candidate for Senate turned heads over the weekend when he indulged in a favorite Republican pastime: appealing to racism to get out the vote. 

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NYPD Stop And Frisk: ‘For Being A F**king Mutt’

New York City's racist stop and frisk police policy is the stuff of legend, but it's never before been recorded so explicitly. Kudos to The Nation:
...In the course of the two-minute recording, the officers give no legally valid reason for the stop, use racially charged language and threaten Alvin with violence. Early in the stop, one of the officers asks, “You want me to smack you?” When Alvin asks why he is being threatened with arrest, the other officer responds, “For being a fucking mutt.” Later in the stop, while holding Alvin’s arm behind his back, the first officer says, “Dude, I’m gonna break your fuckin’ arm, then I’m gonna punch you in the fuckin’ face.”...
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Academic Racist J. Philippe Rushton Dead at 68

Picture: IsaacMao, Flickr (CC)

Jean Philippe Rushton, one of recent history’s most controversial, even hated, ‘scientists’ has died, leaving behind a cesspool of overly-simplistic theories in the field of race and intelligence. His research ignored the complexities of genetic variance, mutation and of course the social and environmental factors that indeed change genes in a lifetime, and the myriad of factors affecting IQ testing from education and income to the various testing methods themselves. His contrived conclusions harken back to the days of phrenology, eugenics and social Darwinism.

As moral philosopher James Flynn points out, mere inheritance would not explain why study replications get different results, why we’re all getting smarter so much faster today, how blacks could be so rapidly ‘catching up’, or how women seem to have even surpassed men by some testing measures. And even if intelligence were directly linked to the genes, and testing methods were perfect, researchers like Chris Chabris and David Laibson are finding more and more that “social science traits are complex.… Read the rest

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American Racism, Kent State Cover-up, Israel Propaganda | Breaking The Set

Breaking the Set: Abby calls out the corporate media for blaming everything that happens in the Middle East on Al-Qaeda, and goes into the case of Gitmo prisoner Omar Khadr. Abby talks to the director of the NAACP about the pervasive racism that still exists in American society. BTS talks to Mickey Huff, Director of Project Censored, about the Kent State massacre and subsequent cover-up. Abby wraps up the show by dissecting America's love affair with Israel.
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Lynyrd Skynyrd: Confederate Flag is Racist (But We’ll Still Use it)

Picture: G.8.S. (CC)

When even the last surviving member of Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd is calling the confederate flag racist, it may be that it’s long past time to redesign your state flag. I’m looking at you, Mississippi.

During an interview on CNN, surviving original member Gary Rossington said:

“Through the years, people like the KKK and skinheads kinda kidnapped the Dixie or Southern flag from its tradition and the heritage of the soldiers, that’s what it was about,” Rossington said. “We didn’t want that to go to our fans or show the image like we agreed with any of the race stuff or any of the bad things.”

Following a near-immediate fan backlash, Rossington backpedaled from his stance, stating that the band would still be flying the rebel flag at its shows.

Does the confederate flag have any place in popular music? More than a few bands have incorporated disturbing iconography into their image for both shock value and as a symbol of their rebellious personae, Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister’s obsession with Nazi symbolism being just one example.… Read the rest

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The Return of Scientific Racism

Picture: Library of Congress (PD)

Zach Musgrave writes at sleptlate.org:

“Scientific racism” is a slur in the academy, roughly analogous to calling something “psuedoscientific” in the mainstream scientific community. Largely because there are observed differences in the results of IQ tests of different races, it is politically correct in many academic circles to refer to general intelligence under the euphemism “whatever it is that IQ tests measure.”

And, in fact, it’s solid science that performance on such tests is strongly influenced by individuals’ own perceptions of their ability. Blacks taking a test that is presented as a “laboratory exercise” outperform those taking the same test presented as an exam. In Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely relates an even more intriguing experimental result. Researchers seeking to understand the effect that stereotypes have on math test performance decided to see if they could study the interaction between two conflicting stereotypes: that Asians are good at math; and that women are bad at it.

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The Innocence of White People

Picture: Gustave Doré (PD)

Michael Muhammed Knight writes at Vice:

So I’ve just received an email from a reader, asking whether I might have something to say about The Innocence of Muslims. “Is tolerance for satire really a concept that is not compatible with Islam?” he asks. “Is there something about all this indignation that ‘we,’ the West, don’t understand?”

When asked to explain Muslim rage, I have an answer, but I already know the response to my answer. A defender of “Western civilization” will tell me, “Yeah, but we aren’t violent. They’re the ones who kill people over religion.” If numbers matter, however, the mythology of “America” kills many, many more people today than any myth of “Islam.” To sustain a pseudo-secular military cult, we have produced a nation of cheerleaders for blood and murder. We speak of the cult’s heroic work as “sacrifice” and say that it’s all for a divine cause of “freedom.”

That’s what we send out there, at them.

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Islamophobia vs. Racism

Picture: KSheer (CC)

According to the FBI’s database of Hate Crime Statistics, in 2010 (the latest year for which numbers are available) there were 160 hate crime incidents involving anti-Islamic bias in the United States.  Such incidents have seen a marked rise following the September 11th terrorist attacks of 2001 and have recently made headlines with various incidents around the country, ranging from arson attacks on mosques to pig parts being thrown at the site of a proposed Islamic center.

Such trends are rightfully worrying in an increasingly multicultural society which supposedly prides itself on freedom, equality, and justice for all.  There is however, another closely related issue, which is in its own way nearly as disturbing.  It is the hyper-politically correct reaction to such so-called “Islamophobia,” specifically, how it is consistently and fallaciously labeled as “racism.”  Setting aside broader discussion of the overall subject of Islamophobia in all its complexity (including its root causes and any possible merit or lack thereof), let’s examine this charge of racism. … Read the rest

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