I've grouped the featured work by the following themes:
- Race in the Media & Pop Culture
- Defining the Self, Discussing Whiteness & Privilege
- Teaching, Learning & Parenting
- Race & Immigration
- The Justice System
I am thrilled about all the writing below, and am especially honored to host such great pieces on the topic of Race & Immigration. This is partly because I am an immigrant, and thus very close to the issue, and partly because I feel there is an enormous sense of urgency in the need to counter the rising xenophobia and racism surrounding the immigration debate in this country. Since the Erase Racism Carnival hasn't placed much emphasis on immigrant rights in the past, I thought this would be a good opportunity to highlight the issue. As XicanoPowr writes on his blog Para Justicia y Libertad:
I call on every refugees, migrant and anti-racist progressive-minded people to come together in order to demonstrate that another world is possible and that solidarity, justice, brother- sisterhood and liberty are more than empty words. Now is the time not to back down. We are fighting for our lives!
The Erase Racism Carnival is a collection of blog posts dedicated to creating a world free of racism. The Carnival is published around the 20th of every month. The idea is to get more people blogging and/or reading about creating a world free of racism. It’s also a great way to get new readers for your blog. If you would like to host a future edition, check for availability here and email vegankid or Rachel with your interest. The next Carnival will be hosted by RaceWire, the blog of Colorlines, "the national newsmagazine on race and politics." If you'd like to submit, please do so here.
Now, without further ado, here are this month's features:
Race in the Media & Pop Culture
• Too Sense Sunday: On Hip-hop And Acting White by dnA writing on the blog Too Sense: Daily Musings on Race, Politics and Hip Hop from the nation's capitol. Here is an excerpt:
The tragedy of mainstream Hip-hop is not that it questions these assumptions but that it tries, unsuccessfully, to create a mirror image of traditional white American values about hard work, gender, money, power and violence, that can be called uniquely black. The most self-destructive traits in Hip-hop are those that most closely mimic larger American culture. [. . .] Suffice it to say that the problem with mainstream Hip-hop is that it tries to be as "white" as possible while staying "black". It embraces the wider concepts of American culture but it cannot, as a consequence of African American history, accept its moral imperative. [. . .] My problem with current discussions about whiteness, and the idea of "acting white" is that few, if any, question the premise that whiteness and intelligence come together. Instead, they accept, almost universally, that whiteness, and the imitation of it, is a kind of salvation, and blackness, or the performance of it, is a kind of death.
• Don Imus in 2047: Precedents & Presidents by Charles M on the Clean Our House! - Killing Bigotry in All of US blog:
Is it (the Don Imus incident) one of those watershed moments where media and race intersect that will be difficult and embarrassing to explain to our grandchildren? What will I say to my grandchild in 2047 when he/she is working on a high school term paper and stumbles upon a poll from 2007 that shows that half of all Americans thought that Imus should have kept his job?
• Black Camelot? by Josh, writing for The North Star blog.
Michelle Obama does not “emasculate” Barack as she jokingly reveals his flaws, she liberates him from an imposed hypermasculine and distant identity forced upon other men, especially men of color. While I do not think this a necessary duty of a significant other, I do see it as teamwork on the part of the Obamas. [. . .] As for Ms. Dowd, I don't think she knows what to do with a strong black female who will not simply sit and smile but instead will be her own person.
• A Concise History of Black-White Relations in the U.S.A., cartoon by Barry Deutsch, aka Ampersand.
Defining the Self, Discussing Whiteness & Privilege
• Defining Identity by Zahava Sherez, who is not a blogger, per say, but an artist who posts essays on her website. She submitted this essay. Here is an excerpt:
Labels, identities and criteria used to define us are helpful for administrative and social purposes, yet I believe they also feed division, tension and oppressions. When I’m asked to check a square in a multiple-choice official form I scroll down to “Other” adding the word “Human” next to it. See, I have a problem: I am Latina, Israeli/Middle Eastern, American, Jewish, white but not really; I speak with an accent that people can’t identify – I am an enigma, an odd bird.
• On White Privilege by Cara whose blog is The Curvature.
So many people do not understand the concept of "white privilege." This is still something that I, myself, am struggling to learn about and recognize in myself and come to terms with. But so many white people cannot even recognize its existence that by being white, you innately have privilege and advantage over people of color.
• Q: Since When Is Being Criticized Like Having Your Limbs Blown Off by a Landmine? A: Since That Criticism Came from Someone with Less Privilege Than You written by Mandolin on Alas! a blog.
Criticism is not fists, but people really seem to perceive it that way. And the less privilege the person who’s making the criticism has, the more it feels like an attack.
• [X]Press Newspaper: An Example of White Privilege and Ignorance: An Analysis by Jack Stephens on the blog Double Consciousness. This is a piece which deconstructs an article pulished in the college newspaper in which Jack works. Here he exposes the writer's argument as rooted in white hetero-sexual male privilege. Jack also posted a piece on the reactions to his challenge of the author's argument here.
Discussions and talks on diversity are there to challenge our assumptions based on people's race. In a society that is saturated in white privilege and heterosexual privilege we never encounter real genuine discussions on issues such as race and diversity in the newsroom because we are blind to it. It is ingrained in us to see white as the norm, heterosexuality as the norm, etc. So when there are a bunch of white people in the newsroom and in the paper we don't question it or see anything wrong with it because that is what we've been taught to see as normal growing up (subconsciously and consciously). This is why we need to bring up questions of diversity in the workplace, newsroom, etc. because no one is there to bring them up.
Teaching, Learning & Parenting
• Diversity Training Doesn't Work. Here Is Why by Carmen Van Kerckhove, posted on her Race in the Workplace blog.
The truth is, I believe that most diversity training doesn’t work. Why not? Because so many diversity trainers focus on all the wrong thing.
• Africa Is Not a Country by Natasha Sky of the Multiracial Family Life blog:
In the brief meet-and-greet with the kindergarten teachers following the presentation, I asked my questions. What exactly were the kindergarteners studying during the “Africa” unit? (Mostly animals.) Were they studying a particular area of the continent of Africa, or a specific country? (No.)
• Pass With Care: Modern Day Racial “Passing” by Lyonside posted on Rachel's Tavern.
Recently I guest-blogged about some initial reactions to my infant daughter’s appearance, and I had to face facts: my baby girl at some point in her life, knowingly or not, will likely pass for non-Latino white. In her first three months, I’ve dealt with two overtly racial instances on her behalf – one was an honest mistake, the other was racist, and the two incidents were dealt with accordingly. I’m catching myself second-guessing every compliment about her appearance – what are they seeing? What are they really commenting on?
Race & Immigration
• Immigrant Dreams and Nightmares in the White Supremacist Cauldron written by Kai Chang on his blog Zuky: Open mind and open hand strike.
Chinese Americans never forget the fact that the Statue of Liberty faces out across the Atlantic Ocean, towards Europe. The tired, the poor, the huddled masses of dream-hungry immigrants coming across the Pacific — like those coming across the deserts and rivers along the Southern US border — have never been greeted by a Mother of Exiles. More often than not, they have been greeted by racist policies and laws, xenophobic hatred, and white supremacist violence.
• Public Terror: Escalating the War on Migrants by Juan Santos and Leslie Radford, posted on Juan's blog The Fourth World.
Last year, in 2006, millions of migrant and their allies – their familia – took the streets, giving birth to the most powerful mass movement in the U.S. since the Civil Rights and Black Power movements of the 1960s and 70s.
The new movement stunned the US ruling class, drove the deepest of wedges straight into the heart of a seemingly unstoppable neo–con drive toward fascism, exposed the essential brutality and racism at the core of the Republican, neo–con agenda, began the public unraveling of the Bush regime, and opened the door to the stunning exposure, repudiation and defeat of the neo-cons in the House and Senate, who had led the racist charge to make felons of all undocumented migrants – and of anyone who so much as gave a ride to someone undocumented.
And like their counterparts in the 60s era, the reactionaries of today saw the unmistakable outlines of the threat presented by brown resistance to their power and their drive toward a fascistic state. Like the reactionaries of that era, they moved to kill the movement with mass arrests and state intimidation. Only this time, it wasn’t the FBI, COINTELPRO, the murders or imprisonment of Black leaders, or the mass incarceration of Black and other peoples of color that the State relied on. This time, it was the department of Homeland Security, ICE, and a strategy of direct vengeance – the deliberate terrorization of the millions who had taken the streets and who had precipitated the collapse of the neo-fascist juggernaut.
• The Immigration Human Zoo written by XicanoPwr on his blog Para Justicia y Libertad!
Since 9/11, protecting the American imperial “homeland” has become an essential priority for the Bush administration. The creation and cultivation of fear is one of the pillars of empire within the “homeland.” Threats of terrorism and twelve million “illegal” immigrants are being used to maintain the government’s threat of discipline, punishment, and violence here in the US. [. . .] Today’s menacing symbol that is dominating our newspapers, flood broadcast channels, and fuel political campaigns - the barbarian Brown hordes threatening to crash the gates and destroy the foundations of civilization - are the undocumented immigrants.
• Immigrants aren't so taxing by Richard Grabman posted on his blog The Mex Files.
Undocumented immigrants aren’t taxing the health care system as much as people think, according to a report released Thursday from the liberal Center for American Progress.
The Justice System
• Billy Ray Johnson Finally "Won" by Changeseeker on her blog Why Am I Not Surprised?
The fact is that none of these good ol' boys went to prison, where they would have been doled out a regular dose of retribution in the general population, assuming they lived through the orientation process. They got off, just like Emmett Till's murderers got off in 1955. And Billy Ray Johnson and his family are the ones who will continue to suffer, not to mention other people of color who know better than to think this means they're protected by the laws in the U.S. of A.
• The Racist Heiress America Loves and Hates and Our Criminal Justice System by XicanoPwr
Why does America continue to consider Pair Hilton’s escapades newsworthy? How is it possible that a socialite’s fate is considered more important over issues like immigration, the G8 summit, global warming, or other world affecting news??? [. . .] The intersection of racial dynamics within the criminal justice system has long been a concern. The problem of whether those in prison tend to be drawn from the ranks of the poor, unemployed, and low social status is indicative of willful discrimination against the underprivileged.
Thanks for stopping by and reading all these great features. Don't forget to submit for the next issue here!