that’s what SHE said: racially problematic edition

This week there were some interesting conversations about race buzzing around the internet   Some of it was encouraging – some of it rather discouraging   I saw people creating drama over non-issues (cake) in attention-seeking efforts while ignoring the many racial issues that are actually plaguing society, I saw people being defensive over critical discussions of Great White Hope trends in media – again, perhaps more outrage being given to a movie being dissected that than to real issues of race.  I heard people discussing the lack of diversity in the blogosphere, but perhaps an equally important question – why are non-minority bloggers so silent on issues of race?  And perhaps most pointedly, I heard many, many people admit their discomfort and fear in regards to talking about race.

For the record, I vehemently disagree with the notion that talking about racial tension further incites racial tension.  I can’t think of a single societal ill that has been improved by not talking about it.  Rather, I think we should be talking about it, and it shouldn’t just be the minority bloggers or transracial family bloggers.  If we are comfortable talking about cloth diapering or circumcision or helicopter vs. free-range parenting or tragedy tourism or whatever the blogging drama of the day is, then why aren’t we comfortable calling out racial inequity, stereotypes, and injustice?   Something to think about.

On my end, I’m going to keep talking and listening and exploring and linking, and keep hoping that all of it will make a difference.

*By the way, if you are looking for sites that can prompt more critical thinking about issues of race, might I suggest Racialicious, The Root, and What Tami Said.

Here are some good reads about race from the past few weeks. These are just snippets, CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE WHOLE POST.

Kymberly Wimberly: The McGehee valedictorian tells her story | Washington Times Communities

They told me, you know you made history in McGehee too? There hadn’t been a black valedictorian since 1989? 

Later that day, when I went to deliver lunch to my mom like I always do, I saw a few teachers. Some of them gave me hugs and told me they were proud of me. Some said ‘I thought, they’d try to cheat you out of it; I’m glad they didn’t.’” 

Some saw me and eyed me but kept on walking.

‘The Help’ Continues The Saga Of How Good-Looking White People Ended Racism In America (And Elsewhere) | MamaPop

Like I said, I haven’t seen it, but I’m assuming that the rich white people who employ the housekeepers learn some sort of lesson about understanding and tolerance and the evils of bigotry or some such, and that everything turns out OK for the poor black people. Because if Hollywood teaches us anything about race relations in this country (and others), it’s that Good-Looking White People have been the driving force behind advances in African-American equality and racial harmony throughout American history.

"Fertile Ground": White Nationalists Organize Within Tea Party | Media Matters for America

Although it would be unfair to characterize the Tea Party movement on the whole as white nationalist, it's clear that large gatherings of angry, conservative, predominately white Americans are viewed with relish by groups like A3P.

"The Tea Parties are fertile ground for our activists," said A3P [White Nationalist] Pennsylvania Chairman Steve Smith. "Tea Party supporters and the A3P share much common ground with regard to our political agendas."

The A3P official position on race in America is clear: "If current demographic trends persist, European-Americans will become a minority in America in only a few decades time. The American Third Position will not allow this to happen."

Johnson, the national chairman of A3P, has previously called for deporting all non-whites, regardless of citizenship.This includes anyone with any "ascertainable trace of Negro blood" or more than one-eighth "non-European or non-white blood."  A3P directors include white nationalist radio host James Edwards and California State University, Long Beach, professor of psychology Kevin MacDonald, who according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a leading authority on hate groups, is "the neo-Nazi movement's favorite academic" because he theorizes that Jews are "genetically driven to destroy Western society."

At least two of the Tea Party rallies where A3P has distributed white nationalist literature were organized by local chapters of Tea Party Patriots, the largest Tea Party group in the country.

Video shows white teens driving over, killing black man, says DA | CNN

Mississippi officials say it was a racially motivated murder. What the gang of teens did not know was that a surveillance camera was focused on the parking lot that night, and many of the events, including the actual murder of Anderson, were captured live on videotape.

Say What? Fox Says Obama's "Hip Hop BBQ" Didn't Create Jobs | News One

Fox News’ news-aggregation website, Fox Nation, made an odd and many say “race-baiting” editorial decision Friday when it splashed a story about Obama’s birthday over its homepage with the headline “Obama’s Hip-Hop BBQ Didn’t Create Jobs” and a photo of Obama next to three black celebrities who attended.

Summer's Eve Commercial Proves Ad Agencies Just Don't Get It | The Root

If attention was the desired effect, then the commercials were definitely a success. But Summer's Eve isn't the only company that goes too far in the quest to create a buzz.

"This is not the first time, and of course it won't be the last time" that a company uses stereotypes to sell a product, says Al Anderson, founder of Anderson Communications and a 43-year marketing and advertising professional. "This is just a long history of disrespectful advertising. [General-market advertisers] think they know everything about us, when they know nothing."

This Is Not Really About Cake | Mocha Momma

You know why everyone is up in arms about a unicorn cake? Because it’s safe and it doesn’t mean anything. Because you can feign indignation about something as trivial as sugar and fondant. Because you get to create a distraction with a big old mess of a cake that has some “racially problematic imagery” and that right there is where your concern for and discussion of race end.

The Truth about the Civil Rights Era by Martha Southgate |

The architects, visionaries, prime movers, and most of the on-the-ground laborers of the civil rights movement were African-American. Many white Americans stood beside them, and some even died beside them, but it was not their fight — and more important, it was not their idea.

Implicit in The Help and a number of other popular works that deal with the civil rights era is the notion that a white character is somehow crucial or even necessary to tell this particular tale of black liberation. What's more, to imply that what the maids Aibileen and Minny are working against is simply a refusal on everyone's part to believe that ''we're all the same underneath'' is to simplify the horrors of Jim Crow to a truly damaging degree.

Well As Long As White People Aren't to Blame | I Will Pull This Blog Over

Solutions require change on many fronts, including those within the African American communities. But to place the blame on the "failure" of the African American community, grossly misrepresents the complexities of the issues and completely ignores the role of institutional racism.

African Americans did not create the system that marginalizes them but as long as we put the blame squarely and solely on their reluctance to "change" then once again White America can sleep easy knowing that it's not "our" problem.

Tottenham 1985-2011: Through the Fire | Racialicious

Numerous stories have emerged but there is no verified account of what turned a peaceful protest into a riot that would endanger lives and ruin local businesses and services. Earlier that afternoon members of the community in Tottenham gathered to demand answers from the metropolitan police, who on Thursday 4th August stopped 29 year old Mark Duggan in a Mini Cab and engaged in a shoot out that resulted in his death. Duggan, father of four, had allegedly been in possession of firearms. This is another of at least three accounts of Black men’s deaths during police operations this year alone. It has only been five months since over a thousand people gathered to protest the suspicious death of Smiley Culture whilst the police were at his home.

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