All Articles Tagged "race relations"
Columbus Short Says Don’t Be Consumed By Injustice Of Trayvon Martin Case In Letter On Race Relations
It’s no secret George Zimmerman’s acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murder has caused a national uproar. As African-Americans try to navigate an American judicial system that doesn’t seem to have their back, many black celebrities have written letters to the younger generation via social media. Scandal gladiator and Dartmouth graduate Columbus Short is the latest to write an exquisite letter on how African Americans must take inventory on their current societal standing as well as how Black men should not become stagnant in how they expect their manhood to evolve. Short writes:
As I have sat and listened to debate after debate, in depth analysis and tempered opinions on “The Verdict” I couldn’t help but feel helpless, frustrated, hurt and yes, angry. As I plummet into the labyrinth of my mind in search of answers, solutions, or a way I could help subdue the burning desire for things to change, my only recourse was to start writing.
Presume we step back and take pause for a moment. Pause to take a cultural and personal inventory on where we have come as a people. As oppose to being blinded by the present emotional and economical condition of our nation, our community. What if we begin by acknowledging some of the triumphs, rather than becoming consumed solely by the injustice? I ask these questions for one reason being, that if I reflect and remember just how far we’ve come, instead of sitting and stewing over what has happened, I am now ensuring that I am not going to allow this “Decision” to stifle me as a human being nor as a black man in America.
It may seem quite pretentious and easy to hear coming from my heart. However, I assure you I experience the same profiling and discrimination daily regardless of what I happen to do for a living. We must recognize that if we allow this particular ‘lost battle’ in the continuing war, that is ‘Race In America,’ to take us backwards, we will be backtracking and negating the progress that we have already made to date.
Columbus later went on to explain how rioting or looting is not the answer, but for African-Americans to investigate what companies funded the defense team of George Zimmerman so they may solicit the economic growth of them. He concluded by reinforcing the idea that those who are living and are of African descent are the survivors of racial profiling. By being survivors, there should be a cultural evaluation of how African-Americans can take control of their representation. By doing so, Short suggested African-Americans implement how they should be treated by their counterparts as well as each other.
To read Columbus Short’s full letter, click here.
Do you agree with Columbus’s take on race relations in America?
Things That Make You Go Hmmm–Or Not: New Study Claims Black People More Racist Than Whites And Hispanics…?
So in a new Rasmussen study, Americans were asked who they perceived to be more racist and apparently, black people took the cake. Honestly, I call bull.
According to the study, 37 percent of Americans feel that blacks are more racist, while only 15 percent believed whites were more racist. This same study also claimed to gather that 30 percent of people believe that race relations are getting better in America while 30 percent believe they are getting decidedly worse.
I’m not really sure what the poll was trying to prove as it is obvious that there is something quite off in the findings and how they came to them. Perhaps they asked these questions in the Bible Belt? Perhaps the number of whites to blacks was significantly off? Or maybe folks are seeing something that we just haven’t realized?
Oh wait… here’s an interesting stat:
“From an ideological point of view, almost 50 percent of conservative Americans think that blacks are racist as opposed to only 12 percent of white people.”
This is probably one of the most ridiculous and unnecessary polls I have ever seen. Ridiculous because due to the increasing visibility of racial profiling due to social networks and outspoken pundits, we see that disrespectful treatment and crimes against blacks because of their race and appearance are still happening throughout the country by police and everyday people (stop-and-frisk anyone?). We also see that we are clearly NOT living in a post-racial society no matter how you slice it or skew the numbers. Whatever the numbers say in this poll – the news tells a totally different story. Amadou Diallo. Oscar Grant. Sean Bell. Travyon Martin. To name just a few.
At the end of the day, I’m just wondering what this poll sought to accomplish? I’m also wondering who would take such amazingly off stats as the gospel truth about our nation’s race relations?
Do you think that blacks can be more racist than whites? Is it possible? Some argue that minorities can’t even be racist. How does this survey represent your own life? Or does it at all?
Tia Norfleet made her mark in black history by becoming the first black race car driver. But then she made us all look bad when she was kicked out of NASCAR for lying about her identity to cover up a few drug and theft charges and faking her NASCAR racing license.
Tia also had a criminal past she tried to apologize for, saying:
“People make mistakes in their life and move forward and make a better way. I think things that I’ve done, people make mistakes, as a child, as a teen, and basically, it’s things that you may not be proud of but you move forward and you help others. And they may be in the same situation and you can relate and they can relate to you, and you help them as much as possible.”
But we still feel bad for all of the little black girls who looked up to Tia before they found out that she was a criminal and a liar.
Earlier this week we told you about the internet’s negative reaction to Queens rapper LL Cool J’s collaborative track with country singer Brad Paisely. During a recent appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, LL addressed the controversial track, titled “Accidental Racist” and admits that it “wasn’t perfect,” but it was put out with good intensions. Check out some of what he had to say.
On how he feels about the controversy surrounding “Accidental Racist:”
“I feel good. The song wasn’t perfect. You can’t fit 300 or 400 years of history into a three or four-minute song.”
On being criticized for downplaying slavery and racism:
“A lot of people took offense to the lyrics and ultimately, I can’t defend the song, but I can clarify my intentions. There’s a point in the song where I say, ‘If you don’t judge my du-rag, I won’t judge your red flag.’ I in no way would compare the history of the Confederate flag with a du-rag. However, when you think about a kid like Trayvon Martin, and you think about some of the things that happen in society based on clothing and when you put it in its proper context it makes sense.”
“I would never suggest to anyone that we should forget slavery and act like that didn’t happen. I understand the systemic racism that exists. But if the playing field is unleveled and you feel it’s unfair, then maybe putting down some of that baggage would help you to make it up that hill a little bit easier.”
On his intentions behind putting out the song:
“The intention was to put a song out there that causes people to have a conversation. The fact that we’re having so many conversations about this song is proof that the song did its job. People are talking about it. That elephant in the room needs to be discussed.”
Turn the page to watch LL’s interview. Do you feel he has a point?
Here We Go Again: Controversial South African Study Says Black People Are Less Attractive Than Other Races
Outrage erupted at the University of Capetown in South Africa when the school’s paper, The Varsity published the results of a highly controversial study conducted on campus, in an article entitled, “Is Love Colour Blind?,” reports Sowetan Live. The study suggests that students on the campus find White people “more attractive” than people of other races.
Sixty students on the UCT campus were surveyed and the study revealed that 38% of participants felt White people were the “more attractive” race. 19% said they preferred Coloureds, which according to the Encyclopedia Britannica is “a person of mixed European (‘white’) and African (‘black’) or Asian ancestry.” 14% said they found Indians “more attractive” and only 8% said they found Blacks attractive.
“In total, I surveyed 60 people, 10 from each of the following racial groups: white, coloured (culturally), Indian, East Asian, biracial and African,” the article’s author, Qamran Qabo.
Yesterday, following an outcry from school organizations such as the Student Representatives Council, the South African Student Congress and the Young Communist League, the paper was forced to apologize.
Chairman of the university’s YCL branch, Mangaliso Khomo expressed that she found the study to be insensitive and revealed that race relations is still a “working progress” on the campus. University of Cape Town spokesman Pat Lucas has declined to comment on the matter.
Aside from the rather small population of people surveyed and the study’s questionable results, the real issue that should be addressed is why students even felt it necessary to conduct such a study. But I suppose we should ask Psychology Today that same question since the web publication found themselves under fire after publishing a similar study back in 2011.
What do you think of the UCT study?
On Tuesday evening, Teach for American Outreach hosted an online discussion about race and education, looking at the historical context as well as the implications of current issues including No Child Left Behind and the Franklin v. University of Texas Supreme Court case.
Moderated by Teach for America manager of professional recruitment Christie Clark, “Civil Rights in the Classroom: The Past, Present, and Future of Race and Education in the U.S.” featured Dr. Sheneka Williams, assistant professor of educational administration and policy at the University of Georgia, Saba Bireda, policy and legal advisor for EducationCounsel LLC, and Justin Reid, associate director at the Civil Rights Movement-related Moton Museum in Virginia.
The event was part educational and part for recruitment, as Teach for America is still accepting applications for fall of 2013, with the final rounds of deadlines on January 11 and February 13.
“Start with Plessy and think about how segregation in public facilities was seen as an OK practice at that time,” Williams explained. That led to ”separate but equal” in the education system, which eventually led to Brown v. Board of Education.
Reid discussed how the NAACP spent years filing suits against “separate but equal” in schools. However, they realized that “in order to really make American schools equal, they had to be integrated.” Brown v. Board of Education was an “integration suit, which was at first a class action suit involving hundreds of plaintiffs saying we want integrated schools.”
“Brown really informed our whole understanding of what equal opportunities in education really means,” said Bireda. “After Brown, there was a transformative movement in education and Civil Rights. While progress to integrate was slow, there was a transformative effect on education.”
With the background laid out, the trio also discussed the recent achievement goals in Florida and Virginia, which seemed to include lower goals for black and Latino students compared to their white and Asian counterparts. Virginia has since revised its goals.
“If you set the bar differently for different races, are we saying that for poor little Johnny who is black or Latino, that this is the best he’s going to do? Let’s set the bar where he is and keep it there because it’s not likely he’ll get farther?” Williams said. “It’s the perpetuation of the achievement gap that we have. We need to think about how this would translate in the classroom. How will people respond to these students? There is a trickle-down element here.”
And the panel looked at the current Supreme Court case on race-based admissions, Fisher v. University of Texas, highlighting that Teach for America has joined with 100 other organizations to sign an amicus brief in support of the University.
“What is at stake here is the future of our economy and the future of the opportunities in this country,” Bireda said. “That has implications for what our workforce looks like and whether or not we’re going to be competitive globally.”
The panelists also answered attendee questions, including advice for first-time teachers. Answer: check your biases at the door and get to know the students without pre-judging.
“If we don’t get education right, we enter a new generation of slavery of sorts,” Williams said. “I know everybody cringes at that word, but we have to understand that we are a diverse country and what has been the norm is no longer. We have to embrace that and start there. Everyone deserves a chance at equal educational opportunities. If we don’t get this right, long-term, there is a trickle-down effect and we might never get out of this economic situation in this country.”
A record number of 4.8 million Americans are now in an interracial marriage, meaning 1 out of every 12 marriages involves people of a different race. The percentage is still small—8.2 percent—when compared with marriages between people of the same race, but when you look at the fact that that number was 3.2 percent in 1980, it’s clear this trend is quickly rising.
According to the Pew Research Center, which used data from the previous census as well as the 2008-2010 American Community Survey, which surveys 3 million households annually, Asians and Hispanics continued to be the most likely to marry someone of a difference race, but the biggest increase in interracial marriages occurred among African Americans. Blacks who married outside their race increased from 15.5 percent in 2008 to 17.1 percent in 2010, which the Associated Press says is “due in part to a rising black middle class that has more interaction with other races.”
Other findings included:
- Black men were more than twice as likely as black women to marry someone outside their race: 24 percent vs. 9 percent. For Asians, the reverse was true: 17 percent of Asian men married someone of a different race compared to 36 percent of Asian women.
- White-Asian couples who married had the highest median income, nearly $71,000, followed by Asian-Asian ($62,000), white-white ($60,000), white-Hispanic ($57,900), white-black ($53,187), black-black ($47,700) and Hispanic-Hispanic (nearly $36,000).
- The top three states for white-black married couples are Virginia, North Carolina and Kansas, all with rates of about 3 percent.
Public acceptance of interracial marriage is improving as well, although perhaps not as much as it should be. About 83 percent of Americans say it is “all right for blacks and whites to date each other,” which is a big jump from the 48 percent who said so in 1987. About 63 percent of those surveyed also say it “would be fine” if a family member were to marry outside their own race.
In addition to changing attitudes about interracial marriage, researchers point out that the influx in Asian and Hispanic immigrants has also increased the dating pool. But now that there are substantial numbers of immigrants in the US, members of these racial groups may be able to find a partner of the same ethnic makeup up going forward, which could slow interracial marriage rates.
Divorce, which is high across the board, was found to be more likely among interracial couples. The Pew researchers cited a study conducted a decade ago which found that mixed-race couples had a 41 percent chance of separation or divorce, compared to 31 percent for those who married within their race. A different analysis found divorce rates among mixed-race couples was more dependent on the specific race combination, with white women who married outside their race being more likely to divorce. Mixed marriages involving blacks and whites were also considered the least stable, followed by Hispanic-white couples.
Overall, Paul Taylor, director of Pew’s Social & Demographic Trends project, sees this data as a positive sign of racial tolerance in America.
“In the past century, intermarriage has evolved from being illegal, to be a taboo and then to be merely unusual. And with each passing year, it becomes less unusual. That says a lot about the state of race relations. Behaviors have changed and attitudes have changed.”
Do you agree that the rise in interracial marriages is a sign of improved race relations?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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At least somebody gets it. A new poll by CBS and the New York Times shows that a decent portion of Americans think the government should focus more on minority issues. Specifically, 39% say the government isn’t paying enough attention to problems concerning people of color, while 35% think the right amount attention is being paid; another 16% say the government is already paying too much attention to minority issues.
White and black Americans see things drastically differently. One in five white Americans think the government is paying too much attention to minority issues, while another 31% think it’s not paying enough. Black people overwhelmingly say the federal government isn’t paying enough attention, 77%, and 17% say the government is paying the right amount.
There’s also a difference among political parties. Democrats mostly think the government isn’t paying enough attention to the needs of minorities, 55%, but most Republicans think either the right amount of attention is being paid, 43%, or too much 29%. That’s not surprising for a party that values limited government involvement.
Attention on minorities can be a bit of a catch 22 though, as we already know. More than just the right amount of attention, the government needs to have the appropriate focus on minority issues and not go the route of our dear frenemies Newt Gingrich, Jesee Peterson, and countless others who have a skewed view of race relations and concerns African Americans and other minorities are facing.
Where do you stand on the government’s focus on minority issues? Should they be doing more, less, or is their involvement just right?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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America is such a global heavyweight that we forget the nation is only 235 years old, barely an adolescent as far as empires go. More than a third of U.S. history is marked by the legal institution of slavery and we’ve been dealing with the fallout of racial inequality ever since it was abolished. But cultural traditions run deep and propagate down generations. While progress is steady, America’s color lines don’t erase easy.
And few things warp a child’s mind more than the ridiculous notion that people don’t like you or judge you because you’re black. Even as an adult, it’s infuriating, depressing and demeaning all at once. Socially, it causes us to defend and define our existence out of habit. I’m not a “man in America” but rather a “black man in America,” and the difference is anything but subtle.
Today’s racism is often subtle, unlike the strain that infected the nation during the civil rights era. It’s carefully veiled. Daily situations are more shades of grey than simply black or white. Like any form of oppression, the people on the receiving end are left with the impotence to say something. But sometimes, our learned defensiveness jumps the gun and what appears to be classic racism may actually be a case of mistaken identity.
Here are the 7 most common things that get billed racist when the check should be going somewhere else.
Being Confused as a Store Clerk
Ever go shopping in [insert chain store here] and a white person asks you for help? The first thing you think is, “Oh, you think I work here because I’m black?” but not so fast. There are plenty of non-racist reasons someone might think you work there like your outfit. I’ve been caught out there wearing matching colors to the store clerks.
Sometimes people just aren’t being mindful. Say you knock over a few boxes of cereal and start resetting them as someone walks over with a burning question, hardly looking your direction in her thirst to consume. Silly things like that happen all the time. But if you’re wearing a boardroom suit in the supermarket and some white person comes up talking about, “where’s the oatmeal,” that’s some racist s#!@
Williams’ rant has drawn major criticism from Latino advocacy groups, not to mention several members of the Hispanic community, who have taken to YouTube to express their disgust in Williams’ actions.
With this being the newest addition to Williams’ long list of offenses, which happen to include physical fights, arrests and incoherent comedy shows – the fact that the comedian is in trouble again isn’t the biggest issue.
Admittedly, most comedians have a controversial tone about them, with a lot of comedy being based on harsh truth. In other words, comedians have the task of discussing things that many people may often think but due to political correctness, never have the courage to say. Therein lies the bigger issue with Williams’ comedic faux pas. Yes, what Williams said was ugly but how many people would actually agree with his statements?
Over at the Huffington Post blogger, Luis J. Rodriguez’s recent post, “Why we need a greater dialogue on black-and-brown relations”, briefly uses historical facts in a way to discount Williams’ statements. In the post, he discusses slavery, joblessness and why because of that, Mexicans had no choice but come into the United States. Although, Rodriguez’s post made some valid points, what made the post interesting are the opinions being slung around in the comments section.
One commenter stated:
“Taking away or being believed to have a hand in folks not being employed also bills up resentment . Lastly it is the sense of Mexicans and others living in America, benefiting and reaping the rewards of living in America but whose allegiance lies with their country of origin. Like Katt Williams (who I do not care for at all) I and millions of Americans believe if your loyalties lies with the country you escaped from, then why don’t you return there. That is not racist, but being patriotic and show a love of America.”
Even more interesting, was to find that a Latino-American blogger actually sides with Williams and believes what he said was right. While he doesn’t condone how Williams made his point, he does agree with the sentiments behind the statements. In fact, the author reveals that he recently had a similar type of discussion with his two of his friends who happen to be Mexican immigrants (the author admits to being a first-generation Latino-American).
“I asked them how they could talk so poorly of a country that their parents had sacrificed so much in bringing them to. I asked them how they could badmouth America while planning to receive their educations and earn their livings here. That seems like dissing your own girlfriend…
As a citizen or not, a person in the United States has the right to wave whichever flag they please, but it takes real chutzpah to claim a love for any foreign land and its flag over this boundless nation and its Star-Spangled Banner.”
With racial relationships already tense, along with the anti-immigration bills being pushed for in various states – when it comes to both communities coexisting peacefully; how can we move past this and see the bigger picture? Instead, it seems it’s easier for us to separate ourselves and justify why that’s the case – instead of uniting to focus on bettering the lives for minorities in the United States.
Cynthia Wright is an avid lover of all things geeky. When she isn’t freelancing, she can be found on her blog BGA Life and on Twitter at @cynisright.