A couple weeks ago I was given two compliments that warmed my heart and troubled my soul at the same time.
Later that evening, I was chatting with another friend, mentioned how tired I was of summer, which of course prompted the suggestion that I move. Quoting Dexter from the Ruckus Society, I responded,
I’m living in ground zero for racism in America. Too much to be done here.
And among several lovely things that were said, was the comment,
When Sister Souljah grows up, she wants to be like you 🙂
This couldn’t be further from the truth, and not just because I had to Wiki her. Both these comments came from friends who each experience discrimination on ltwo different levels that I will never personally experience, so their positive feedback, particularly conaidering the relative oxymoron of “white allyship”, meant the world to me. But I’m no hero, and I’m certainly no Sistah Souljah. I’m just trying to be in right relationships with my black, brown, gold and rainbow brothers and sisters. While it’s always admiraable to do the right thing, and even more so in the face of resistance or even just against popular opinion, my witness is no great personal sacrifice, carries no inherent risk. Read more…
So it’s probably not a surprise to any of my readers (if there are any left out there, that is) that I am not a fan of SB1070. I could go on about that, but right now I am going to attempt to focus my attention (this is a struggle for me) on a thought that occurred to me earlier, while I was reading Program gives Chicago Public Schools teachers a lesson in history, culture. It sounds like a pretty cool program, and I figure that the chances of our schools implementing a program like this are slim. If I sound cynical, well… between SB1070 and our more recent Ethnic Studies Law, well… nuff said.
So as it is prone to do, my mind started wandering & I started a comparison & contrast of Phoenix & Chicago, a city I recently visited & fell in love with. Now, it’s not easy to follow my train of thought on a lot of things… sometimes I can’t even do it. But humor me today… just sit down, shut up, and hang on. Read more…
It wasn’t always this way. Whites once supported government spending, especially when we thought people like us would be the beneficiaries. Those who protest government health care didn’t object, for instance, when government-backed FHA loans helped 15 million white families afford housing from the 1940s to the 1960s, while blacks were essentially excluded. Indeed, by the early ’60s, nearly half of all mortgages received by white families were being written under this blatantly preferential government initiative. And whites didn’t mind when the government passed the Homestead Act in 1862, resulting in the distribution of over 240 million acres of essentially free land to white families.
But I found myself wondering, today, what Barack and Michelle Obama have told their children about this.
So what, I wonder, does the first couple tell Sasha and Malia? Do they try and prepare their daughters for the possibility that their father will be assassinated because of his race? Have they warned the girls that they’ll probably never be able to leave Secret Service or bodyguard protection, at any point in their lives? Do they keep the girls off the internet, for fear they’ll find out that Dad is getting 30 death threats a day? Or when they talk with the girls about it — how the hell do you talk to a child about something like that, without traumatizing them for life? How do you keep children, when they’re immersed in so much hatred and fear, from growing up hateful and fearful themselves?
Because parents of black children have to do that. If they have any sense of responsibility, they prepare their children for the racism they’ll inevitably face. I don’t have kids, but I certainly remember my parents and grandparents carefully pointing out incidents and disparities and stereotypes, and talking with me about them. I remember my mother instructing me about how to act with the police — as a woman I’m not in quite as much danger from them as a black man would be, but I’m not safe either. Yet even with this advance preparation, I remember being shocked as I grew older and realized that racism had not ended with the Civil Rights Act, as I had been taught in school. It was still happening, still killing — still a near-daily threat to my personal health and welfare. My parents had done what they could to cushion this shock, but it was still painful, even terrifying, when I finally understood it as more than an intellectual exercise.
I am guilty of using the terms “the n-word” & “non-white” within the last week or two… I would love to see this guy!!!
(by Jeremy Levine, x-posted from 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, cable news programs have typically included panels with representatives from both sides of the Left-Right ideological spectrum.
The problem with this method, of course, is that subsequent analyses usually follow the same tired pattern: “That was racist!” vs. “That is ridiculous! Race was not a factor!” At best, this produces unproductive exchanges. At worst, it woefully simplifies complex social process and interactions, institutionalizing diametrically opposed ideological camps instead of offering nuanced analysis.