All Articles Tagged "race"

Is He Still Hating? Tavis Smiley Takes Issue With President Obama’s Speech On Race

July 22nd, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
Share to Twitter Email This


I find it terribly sad that even in the wake of the Trayvon Martin tragedy, blacks can’t seem to come together in our outrage over the George Zimmerman verdict. And then when we all agree that there is an issue, there are those who want to argue and divide ourselves in the ways we seek to alleviate the problem. Many of us have noticed this trend all up and down our Facebook and Twitter timelines and now, it’s showing up with our political pundits and talking heads too.

You might not be surprised to know PBS talk show host, Tavis Smiley took issue with President Obama’s remarks on Friday about Trayvon Martin, the Zimmerman verdict and race in America. Shortly after the president spoke, Tavis tweeted this:

Naturally, black twitter was outraged. People called him pathetic and one MSNBC contributor even said she was sending the transcript because he’d clearly missed something. Another person said it was shameful for Tavis “to politicize and further his own ends at the expense of Obama and now Trayvon…”

Two days later, on Sunday, Smiley appeared on NBC’s “Meet The Press” and took a more subtle approach but still made it very clear that he expected more from the president.

“He had still not answered the most important question, where do we go from here. What’s lacking in this moment is moral leadership. The country is begging for it, they’re craving it… I don’t want the President to look back and realize, David, he didn’t do as much as he could have in this critical moment.”

There were several other members on the panel. President and CEO of the Urban League, Marc Morial and Harvard Law professor Charles Ogletree disagreed with Tavis saying that the president pushed the conversation in a meaningful way.

Congressional Black Caucus chair and Ohio Rep., Marcia Fudge believes the president needs to have several conversations because the recent actions and politicians and judges are attacking poor and minority communities.

RNC chairman, Michael Steele said he tended to agree with Tavis that the president not only needs to have the initial conversation but needs to continue to inspire change by not letting the issue fall by the wayside in the way he did with gun control after the Sandy Hook tragedy. He did say though that this is a conversation we need to have in the community instead of letting it rest solely on the shoulders of the president.

Watch Tavis’ “Meet The Press” appearance on the next page. 

Is This Fair? Mostly White, All Female Jury Chosen In Zimmerman Murder Trial

June 20th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
Share to Twitter Email This


Six women have been chosen for George Zimmerman’s murder trial. Zimmerman is being charged with second degree murder in the killing of unarmed, 17 year old Trayvon Martin.

The trial, which is set to begin Monday, has been highly anticipated since Zimmerman, 28, killed Martin in February of last year.

The issue of race has been at the forefront of this case, so naturally the ethnic makeup of the jury is important to many.

Five members of the six person jury are white and one is Hispanic. Some sources claim the Hispanic woman is half black and half Hispanic.

Zimmerman is white and Hispanic.

The jurors who are also all women, were chosen from hundreds of potential jurors over nine days. These six women will remain sequestered throughout the duration of the trial.

Four alternate jurors, a Hispanic man, a white man and two white women, have also been selected.

We don’t know the identities of the jurors but information about their experiences with guns, crime and violence was discussed during the interview process.

One woman, known as juror B37, said she used to have a concealed weapons permit but let it expire. She said it was too easy to obtain this type of permit.

Two other jurors say their husband or son own guns.

One woman said she was a victim of domestic violence and at least one juror is a mother.

When juror B29 was asked about self defense she had this to say: “It’s not a decision you weigh. It’s a split second reaction. I think everyone is entitled to protect your life.”

Zimmerman told Judge Debra Nelson that he approved of the jury selection.

What do you make of the jury selection? Based on what we now know about these jurors, do you believe they’ll be able to come to just verdict?


Can You Change Your Race? New Study Looks At Societal Factors and Racial Assumptions

June 15th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
Share to Twitter Email This

Racial associations are made almost unconsciously. And a new study from Gender & Society found that observers take into account a wide range of factors in determining the race of people they see, including what they know about someone’s income, home address or marital status.

For example: Picture a single mother on food stamps. Now picture a married mother shopping for her family in the suburbs. What is the race of each woman? Many Americans would imagine the first mother as black, even though the majority of women on food stamps are white.

Sad assumptions, but a real insight to how people associate race.  The study, “Engendering Racial Perceptions: An Intersectional Analysis of How Social Status Shapes Race,” revealed that people tend to pile on a set of descriptions—like single, mother, and welfare-dependent—to build their most persistent stereotypes.

And in another study that looked back at how survey interviewers racially classify people over the course of their adult lives, sociologists Andrew Penner (University of California-Irvine) and Aliya Saperstein (Stanford University) found that from one year to the next, some people’s race appeared to change. Penner and Saperstein call these changes in classification “racial fluidity,” and the researchers wanted to know what affected how a person’s race was perceived.

So they drew on nearly 20 years of longitudinal data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and found changes in racial classification occurred for six percent of people each year. Over the course of the study, 20 percent of those interviewed switched racial classifications at least once. These changes were not random and were related to both social status and gender.

“We often talk about racial stereotypes as affecting people’s attitudes in the sense that knowing a woman’s race can change what you think about whether she is on welfare. Our study shows the opposite also happens–knowing whether a woman has ever received welfare benefits affects what you think about her race,” explained Penner.

The study also found that men and women had similar levels of racial fluidity overall. Other things that factored into this were where the people lived. People were more likely to be classified as white if they lived in the suburbs, while the opposite was true for people living in the inner city.

But other factors that triggered changes in racial classification. Poverty made men and women less likely to be classified as white, but the effect was stronger for men. And women, but not men, who have received welfare benefits are less likely to be seen as white and more likely to be seen as black. This despite the fact that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimated that in 2010 70 percent of welfare recipients are not black.

What are your thoughts on this study?

Duh! Study Finds White Girls Are More Likely To Abuse Alcohol Than Black Girls

June 14th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
Share to Twitter Email This


A new study from Yale University found that African American college aged “girls” (read: women) are less likely to develop drinking problems than white girls because of cultural and environmental factors.

The study cited parental disapproval, a more conservative attitude toward drinking and higher church attendance as reasons why there is such a stark difference between the two racial groups. The New Haven Register summarized the findings like this:

The study, published Thursday in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, focused on 3,500 female twins, both identical and fraternal, “to look at the relative contributions of genetics vs. environment on (the) age of first drink and problem drinking,” Sartor said. 

What we found is that there’s no shared environmental effects” in African-American teens who abuse alcohol, Sartor said. “Family environment is not playing a role in problem drinking.” For black girls who drink heavily, genetics and individual experiences, such as different friends or traumatic events, are more relevant, she said 

At a community and cultural level, European-Americans are not doing as good a job at protecting their girls from problem drinking as African-Americans are.” 

Interestingly enough, this is not something we needed a study to tell us. As someone who attended a predominately white university, when girls were being carried home, throwing up in elevators or falling out in the street they were white. Not that black girls didn’t get wasted but the numbers didn’t lie.

While the study cited church and less importance placed on drinking etc, after some discussion about the issue in our office we also concluded that black people are less carefree when we go out partying. Many of us are keenly aware of the fact that if we get too intoxicated to take care of ourselves and end up causing some type of disturbance, we’re less likely to get the benefit of the doubt. We just might be interacting with the police. And if have to interact with the police that just might mean we’ll endure abuse, mistreatment or in some cases even death. If we get too drunk and end up lost or missing we know there won’t be national searches looking to ensure that we’re returned to our families safely.

It’s a sad tale; but for many of us, we don’t even leave the house on the same level of abandon or “carefreeness” that white women do. In addition to the safety issues, we know that if we’re in a mixed crowd many of us are also worried about how we’ll be perceived if people who aren’t black see us out here acting a fool.

But that’s just our theory. What are some of the reasons you think African American college-aged women drink less than white women?

Hiring Based On Race Is Not Only Right, But Necessary

May 29th, 2013 - By CAP
Share to Twitter Email This


As a hiring manager, being completely impartial and non-biased may be unrealistic, if not downright impossible. When searching for the best candidate many times we already have in our minds what that person looks like, whether it’s a female nanny, a male contractor, or a business associate of the same racial background.

It has been shown that many whites hire other whites. The research conducted by Nancy DiTomaso indicates that whites with hiring power hired within their networks, and most times their networks happened to be primarily comprised of other whites. The research did not necessarily make the claim that whites intentionally hired other whites and excluded other races, but rather,  whites have not yet expanded the diversity of their networks to include other races, which leads to the exclusion of other races from the conversation. But is it wrong to hire specifically based upon the racial group you are a part of? My answer to this may seem biased and certainly like a double standard, but it is worth understanding.

Currently the overall unemployment rate is at the lowest it has been in years at 7.5 percent, but the unemployment rate for blacks is slow to move from the low teens (13.2 percent). This number shows that blacks need a bit more assistance. Even the government agrees; there have been initiatives like affirmative action in place since the 1970s, which were meant to help underrepresented groups with finding jobs, among other things. (Though affirmative action is constantly under fire.)

Although the gap is closing regarding racial equality in the work place, African Americans are still in need of preferential treatment when it comes to hiring. Whites and Asians are generally more educated, have higher incomes, and lower unemployment rates. These groups seeing a recovery from The Great Recession, with unemployment levels dropping, contrary to the conditions of other races.

If companies are not going to focus on hiring blacks, then it is up to other African Americans to do so. The US Census reported that there were 1.9 million black owned small businesses in 2007 and that they employed over 921,000 workers. A survey that same year by Gazelle Index determined that 64 percent of employees in black-owned businesses were black. So as these black businesses grow and their workforce capacity expands there should certainly be a focus on hiring African Americans to support the continuous need of employment in the black workforce. Not just purely based on showing favoritism within your own race, but also in order to help the overall economy.

In many areas like education, skill building, and employment African Americans are not on par with other races and continue to add to the overall lag in the economic recovery. We should use whatever influence we have to make a positive contribution to the growth of our nation, and if African Americans and others want to make it their duty to focus on hiring blacks, I don’t see one thing wrong with that.

‘I Don’t Want To Need Things… I Don’t Need Anybody:’ Zoe Saldana Tells ‘Latina’ A Man Is Not A Necessity

April 3rd, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
Share to Twitter Email This


Colombiana actress Zoe Saldana looks stunningly fabulous on the May 2013 cover of Latina Magazine. Her brightly colored, bold ensemble seems quite fitting for the occasion, as Ms. Saldana comes off rather audacious and a tad bit feisty in her interview. The 34-year-old Star Trek Into Darkness star touched on everything from her alleged mental breakdown to the reoccurring discussion of why she should not have been cast to play Nina Simone in the forthcoming biopic. Peep some of what she had to say below.

On her mental meltdown following filming for Avatar:

“That was completely blown out of proportion. That was so exaggerated and so ridiculous. It’s no different than what a child does after you’ve had a birthday party for a child. The child has been so stimulated by everybody, in every direction, consistently, you feel depleted. You use so much serotonin that you feel, not empty, but you feel a little tired and depleted and you have to fill your well of energy and of happiness and you have to pay attention to you. That downtime was very welcoming and very beautiful, but it wasn’t like I got f****** depressed and I just wouldn’t get out of bed. That has never happened to me! I hate when you say something and then it’s like, ay dios mio…”

On whether or not she was affected by the Nina Simone Controversy: 

“Yes, of course. I’m not made of metal. Things will resonate in you and they will move you whether good or bad, but you can’t let that define who you are and you can’t let that dictate the path that you’re going to take in your life. The reality is that nobody knows the story as to why this collaboration came to be—nobody knows the full story—and at the end of the day all I’m going to say is that every person that is a part of this project came together for no other reason than the unconditional love for Nina Simone’s music, her persona, her life, what she did, what she left for us, what her music still continues to do not only to women, but to Americans, and African Americans, and also people of color, just everything. On all spectrums, Nina Simone’s story is worth telling and with the members that it came to be, like it’s just…you have to give it a chance…Watch it and then make up your mind. I’m happy that we all held together and we went for it. No regrets.”

On growing up “color-blind:”

“I grew up in Queens and the Dominican Republic. It wasn’t easy, s*** was going on. But the kind of world that we had indoors, that my mom created for us, makes more sense to this day than what is out there. I would come home from school and go, ‘Mami, what am I? You know, cause I’m getting all kinds of things and people are mean.’ And Mami would look at me and go, ‘You’re Zoe.’ And I’d go, ‘I know, Mami, but what am I?’ and she would look at me and say, ‘You’re my daughter, your grandma’s granddaughter, you’re Zoe.’ My mom wouldn’t go, ‘tu eres una mujer de color [you are a woman of color] and always remember it, this world is going to be rough.’ My mom never f****** told us that, why would she? Why would she stop my flight before I even take off?”

On not needing a man:

“I don’t want to need things. I need water, you know what I’m saying? I need to exercise, I need to eat. To be with a man, should be a want. I don’t need anybody. And the people that I do need are just family, tu entiendes [you understand]? But a man is something that I want, I want be with a partner, because this partner is going to add or I’m going to add to this partner.”


Turn the page for more fabulous flicks from Zoe’s colorful photoshoot.

Same Stereotypes, Different Day: What’s So Insightful About Philly Mag’s “Being White in Philly” Article?

March 5th, 2013 - By Charing Ball
Share to Twitter Email This
Source: Philly Mag

Source: Philly Mag

It’s hard to get the point of the article in Philadelphia Magazine, entitled Being White in Philly, especially considering that most forms of media already act as a daily conduit to how white folks specifically think, feel and basically are being.

But despite the title’s proposition to offer some keen insight into the world of white thought we haven’t heard of, by the five paragraph it is clear that we pretty much heard it all before:

I’ve shared my view of North Broad Street with people—white friends and colleagues—who see something else there: New buildings. Progress. Gentrification. They’re sunny about the area around Temple. I think they’re blind, that they’ve stopped looking. Indeed, I’ve begun to think that most white people stopped looking around at large segments of our city, at our poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods, a long time ago. One of the reasons, plainly put, is queasiness over race. Many of those neighborhoods are predominantly African-American. And if you’re white, you don’t merely avoid them—you do your best to erase them from your thoughts.

So this is not necessarily a story about white folks in Philadelphia but rather a story about how white folks feel specifically about black folks in Philadelphia. Sure black folks make up the biggest minority population in the city, however the Asian and Hispanic communities respectively represents. But nope, just black folks. At any rate, Robert Huber, the writer of this article, along with his throng of real white Philadelphians, pontificate upon the sometimes difficult relationship that they have with us colored folks including Huber’s awkwardness at having to be “overly polite” to black folks at the local WaWa.

Most of this narrative is told anonymously through the mouths of those in the more well-to-do parts of city like *Anna, whom Huber describes as a beauty from Moscow, who now lives in the more affluent and predominately white Fairmount section of the city. As she gets out of her BMW, she tells Huber, “I’ve been here for two years, I’m almost done,” she says. “Blacks use skin color as an excuse. Discrimination is an excuse, instead of moving forward. … It’s a shame—you pay taxes, they’re not doing anything except sitting on porches smoking pot … Why do you support them when they won’t work, just make babies and smoking pot? I walk to work in Center City, black guys make compliments, ‘Hey beautiful. Hey sweetie.’ White people look but don’t make comments… ”

So a white woman freaks out every time a black man whistles at her and she believes that black folks in general are lazy and don’t work? Got it. But again, is this negrophobia news to anyone? Anyone, who reads the comment section of any article, which mentions black folks in any context, already knows about this perception. Black teenagers are regularly stopped, frisked and even murdered because of the perpetuation of this thought. Heck there are political campaigns run and won on the premise of the welfare queen and the threatening black man. To be fair, there were a couple of anonymous white folks quoted in the article, who cautioned Huber about his racial generalizing. However there is enough about missing Halloween pumpkin from the front stoop that they are pretty sure was stolen by some black kid and the dismal graduation rates among blacks and the good ole’ days in the city, prior to the arrival of those blacks, who arrive from the South to Philly en masse with “chips on their shoulders.” So I’m sorry Huber and Philly Mag but you don’t get any less traditional than what we read in those pages.

Happy 82nd Birthday Toni Morrison! The Lesson We Can Learn From Our Beloved Author

February 18th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
Share to Twitter Email This
Source: Wenn

Source: Wenn

Last fall, I got to “meet” Toni Morrison. I use the term meet loosely because I really just attended a talk she gave and she signed her latest book Home. When she first started speaking, I was surprised by the sound of her voice. I expected it to be full of bass. Deep. But really, it was gravely with high, almost nasally notes interspersed. I took notes and Toni said a lot of noteworthy things; but the moment I didn’t need to write down to remember occurred when the woman in front of me, asked Toni to write an inscription to her daughter in the book she’d just purchased. Now, keep in mind, Toni, who was 80 at the time, had spent over an hour signing hundreds of books. And she signed everyone’s. But her people made it clear that she was not going to be doing anymore than sign her name. So when the woman asked Toni if she could write something to her daughter, Toni smiled, closed the book and told her “No, she wants you to do that.” The woman was visibly disappointed but I couldn’t help put chuckle. But it was so Toni.

Now, I don’t know Toni Morrison personally; but throughout her career, through not only her writing but through her advocacy as well, she’s always told it just like it was. She responded to the “Black is Beautiful” movement by exposing the very real issues of colorism in the black community, with The Bluest Eye. When she noticed that there were stories about slavery that hadn’t been told yet she wrote Beloved. And when critics and fans asked her why she only wrote about black people, she said, no one ever asked James Joyce why he only wrote about Irish people, or why Dostoyevsky seemed so hung up on Russians.”

Toni Morrison, as far as her career as a writer and public figure have gone, has always been honest about the black experience, even if it was painful for some to hear.

So today, on her82nd birthday, celebrate Toni by keeping it real, listening to one of her insightful interviews, meditating on one of her inspiring quotes or, better yet, reading one of her classic works. Love happens to be her favorite. She calls it, “perfect.”

I Always Wanted To Ask…White Privilege

January 22nd, 2013 - By Liz Burr
Share to Twitter Email This


Black people certainly know white privilege exists because we live with the reality every day. But the question we’ve always wondered is do white people realize the position of privilege they’ve inherited or are they oblivious to the constructed reality and all the benefits that come with it? That’s what we asked the ladies of The Frisky in this candid discussion on race and the choice to acknowledge privilege.

Check it out and weigh in below.



In “Well, Duh” News: Racial Stereotyping Linked To Less Creativity

January 11th, 2013 - By MN Editor
Share to Twitter Email This
Cowardly man PF


From Black Voices

In a recent study out of Tel Aviv University, researchers found that people with an inclination to put certain racial groups into a box (aka stereotyping) tend to have trouble thinking outside of the box themselves.

The findings, published in the journal Psychological Science, examined the link between “racial essentialism” (psychologist speak for the view that certain groups of people possess deep-rooted traits and abilities that can’t be changed) and creativity.

According to the Association for Psychological Science, study author Carmit Tadmor and her team explored the connection as follows:

The researchers manipulated participants’ beliefs about racial essentialism by having them read one of three articles: one that described fictitious scientific research supporting racial essentialist beliefs, one that described fictitious research supporting racial nonessentialist beliefs, or one about the scientific properties of water.

The participants then took a commonly used test of creativity called the Remote Associates Test. The participants were given three distinct words and they had to identify a single target word that linked the three words together. So, for example, given the words “manners,” “round,” and “tennis,” the correct answer would be “table.”

Read the rest at  Black Voices