Some starter links for positive discussions on outstanding people and events, and thoughts on the annual “bbbbut wheeeen is White History Month?!?” tantrum-throwers.
Many of you will have already read about Orlando student Vanessa VanDyke being threatened with expulsion from her private Christian school for wearing her hair exactly as it grows out of her head. There is the predictable pushback in online forums about how the school’s way of (not) dealing with racist bullying in their student body by body-policing the natural features of an African-American girl is not really any sort of racially discriminatory double standard – please use this thread to expound upon exactly how insulting that nonsense is.
Numerous blogs have noted the silence among many white, mainstream feminist sites about the horrible treatment of Quvenzhané Wallis at the Oscars. And they’re right. I had stuff planned out, and then I looked at so many other posts going up that said Holy shit, can you believe that happened? That’s not okay at all in ways far more eloquent than I, and then went on to say far more poignant and intelligent stuff than I’d think to say, and I felt mine was redundant. That’s a seriously fucked up way of thinking.
Here’s what I should have said.
As usual, Ta-Nehisi Coates is correct, and cuts right through the standard rhetoric to truth:
In modern America we believe racism to be the property of the uniquely villainous and morally deformed, the ideology of trolls, gorgons and orcs. We believe this even when we are actually being racist. In 1957, neighbors in Levittown, Pa., uniting under the flag of segregation, wrote: “As moral, religious and law-abiding citizens, we feel that we are unprejudiced and undiscriminating in our wish to keep our community a closed community.”
An elementary school teacher told a story to me once. I was still struggling to learn English, so over the course of the year I asked her often to retell the story.
Years ago in Alabama, the wife of a young preacher received a delivery of red carnations from her husband. They were beautiful, but as she touched them, she noticed they were artificial. When her husband came home, she asked about the flowers. He said, “I wanted to give you something that you could always keep.”
Hey look, it’s a creepy racist guy writing into Dear Prudence!
And by “tribes” he quite literally means black and brown people, who he believes are “unnaturally” contaminating America, and who the Republican party should in no way recognize or represent.
It’s not a new idea – we’ve certainly seen it raising its ugly head in media repeatedly, but it’s become popular again – the “flipped prejudice” fiction.
(x-posted at Social Science Lite) I recently went on a road trip with my uncle, traveling from Boston to New York for my brother’s high school graduation. As we drove through western Massachusetts, our conversation eventually drifted to employment and…
(originally published at Social Science Lite, x-posted at Postbourgie) Last Spring, Brown University economist Glenn Loury presented at Harvard sociology’s Workshop on Race and Black Youth Culture. He titled his talk “Culture, Causation and Confusion: Why Bill Cosby is Wasting…
(x-posted at Social Science Lite) It would be an understatement to argue that the mass media has taken on racial analysis with unprecedented zeal since the election of Barack Obama. Unfortunately, in attempts to present fair and balanced news coverage,…
(x-posted at Social Science Lite) It’s funny, I never really thought too much about liberal white guilt until I came to graduate school at Harvard. Now that I’m here in Cambridge, it seems to be a reoccurring topic of conversation.…