All Articles Tagged "race"
Your friend Tikisha was telling you the other day that she’s teaching her seven-year-old daughter a ‘black code,’ or in other words, a way of acting around the police. It went something like, “Yes, officer, no officer, what can I do for you today, officer?” It’s a conversation that she decided to start having in light of what’s going on in this country with #BlackLivesMatter and the almost daily accounts of black folks getting killed by the police.
You found it odd because, really, what are the chances that the police will stop a seven-year-old little girl? You ask your friend just that and she looks at you like you’re crazy. “Anything could happen to any of us at any time.”
She’s right. What would prevent an officer from shooting a little girl? And getting away with it?
Now you’ve found yourself thinking about race and wondering if you should be speaking to your daughter, too. The truth is, you don’t go anywhere near conversations about race with her for various reasons. One, she’s only five, and this police thing is straight boogie monster. The last thing you want is for her to be afraid to walk down the street for fear of running into the police. Two, you don’t want her having low self-esteem about being black. It’s so hard to put a positive spin on the fact that we were sold into slavery and forced to work for the white man. Which brings you to your third reason. You don’t want her looking up to the white man either, as if his force makes him superior. That feels the same as teaching her to know her place and that you will not do.
But you can’t deny what’s going on, and turning the channel every time something comes on the news.
Is it time to talk about race to your kid?
It’s a question that you pose to Dr. Jane G. Fort, psychologist, and product of two educators. She says, “It’s never too early to start having the race conversation with your kid. You don’t want her to be blindsided.” Indeed, you don’t, but how do you know that it’s not too much? She says that one way to deal with it is by answering questions as they arise. In her case, the conversation was discussed when she was around six or seven-years-old, and discovered that while in their black neighborhood of Nashville, they could ride the front of the bus, but outside of that they were forced to sit in the back. The day she made that observation, her father, a historian, sat her down and gave her a history lesson on slavery. But what about the fact that slavery and Ferguson is a depressing topic for a kid? She says to focus on the positive aspects of America and the black community. Let her know that what’s on the news is not the whole story.”
When stated like that, it sounds doable.
Ironically, you’re discovering that you’re not the only one at the doorstep of these conversations. Your friend SekouWrites was telling you that one of his boys just started talking about race with his nine-year-old kid. The dad was explaining the judgment that comes from people when you wear baggy clothes. As they finished the conversation, the kid said, “Oh, that’s why the teacher said that.” Apparently, a substitute teacher at his private school wouldn’t let him answer any questions in class because she assumed, perhaps because of his baggy attire that day, that he was being disruptive. By the time class was over, she realized her mistake and said, “You’re not who I thought you were.”
To quote your friend Sekou, “the world is coming. It’s best to get in front of it.”
He’s so right. The world is coming and if you don’t act first, the outside world will be teaching your kid about race, and it won’t be pretty. It probably won’t even be true. As Dr. Fort also said, “kids take in a lot more than we know. She needs to have a buffer.”
Okay, it’s settled. Your daughter will be getting her first history lesson, like yesterday.
Racism is real. As people of color, we encounter or witness it in some way, shape or form just about every day. But to think that our people have to deal with something so ugly on their death beds is truly heartbreaking. However, according to a new study, prejudice and racism manifest in hospital rooms more frequently than one would think.
According to the Huffington Post, the study, which was published in the January issue of the Journal of Pain and Symptoms Management, black patients who are terminally ill receive less compassion from doctors than their white counterparts.
The study was conducted on 33 real, hospital-based physicians in the western Pennsylvania area. Each doctor was placed in “high fidelity” simulations in which they were required to interact with actors portraying dying patients and their family members. Each “patient” read from the same script and showed matching simulated vital signs. While doctors were aware that they were participating in a study, they did not know the specifics of what researchers were looking for. The findings of the study were quite alarming.
“Although we found that physicians said the same things to their black and white patients, communication is not just the spoken word,” explained Dr. Amber E. Barnato, the study’s lead author and an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “It also involves nonverbal cues, such as eye contact, body positioning, and touch.”
And in these instances, doctors fell short when it came to their black patients. While explaining health conditions and discussing steps to follow, researchers noticed that the participating physicians stood closer to the bedside and were more likely to touch the subject in a compassionate way when the patient was white. When dealing with black patients, doctors were more likely to stand at the door while holding their binders, which made them appear defensive or disengaged.
After analyzing the audio and footage captured during the study, researchers gave each doctor a score based on their nonverbal behavior with patients. On average, the doctors’ interactions with their black patients received scores that were 7 percent lower than scores received for exchanges with their white patients. Dr. Barnato believes that healthcare providers can benefit from this kind of “experiential learning” because it would make them more self-aware.
“I Will Not Be Your Intellectual Mammy” Writer Stacey Patton Is Tired Of Explaining Racism And Black Rage
With each unjust death, each decision not to indict, each heinous attack against Black people at the hands of a White person, it becomes increasingly more difficult to write about the incidents and our response to them. The rage we felt for Michael Brown, for Trayvon Martin, for Eric Garner, for Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd was the same thing we felt for Tamir Rice. Once when he was shot and killed and then a second time when we learned that there would be no punishment for it.
As a journalist, it becomes difficult to pour yourself out again and again when you feel like you’re saying what’s already been said. And it’s not about being numb. It’s about feeling too much anger. Some of our mothers used to say, “I’m tried of talking” and it’s that same sentiment we feel, whether we write articles or Facebook statuses.
Writer and correspondent Stacey Patton expressed that sentiment in a Facebook status that has gone viral on Facebook.
See what she had to say below.
I remember all too well laying across my living room floor as kid when “The Doll Test” was presented on ABC’s news program “20/20.” I do not recall exactly how old I was, but I was old enough to reason that something was terribly wrong with the test where little Black girls were asked to comment on how they felt about dolls–some Black and some white. How could children of color lack self-confidence and believe that white baby dolls were better than Black baby dolls? Why was this even a question or concern? Why did this even matter?
I grew up with my very own Kenya doll, black Barbies, a Black cabbage patch, a Black baby alive, and an American Girl Addy Doll. In elementary school, we had African American Achievement Programs where we wore Kente cloth, recited classic poems from the Harlem Renaissance, and sang old Negro spirituals. At home, I watched The Cosby Show, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and Family Matters. I did not have Doc McStuffins television show or anything, but you clearly get where I am going with this. We had James Brown’s “Say It Loud” on vinyl. Black Pride was on overload in my household.
“Where did these children come from? Who raised them?” These questions and many more raced through my brain as I watched the investigative news piece on the race insecurities of African American children as a whole.
But of course I had these thoughts; Black Jesus was in a gold frame over my guardian’s headboard. Growing up in the 90’s in Philadelphia made me feel like the whole world was Black and proud. This sheltered perspective further induced by murals of legends like Patti Labelle and Cecil B. Moore painted on the side of buildings would soon come to a screeching halt during my high school days in honors courses and my undergraduate studies in NYC.
I found that when mixed in with others, my otherwise very vocal and very charismatic peers of color were not so comfortable expressing their Black pride. I will make no judgments as to why. I have several leads, but one article does not give me the space to divulge. I will say that all this leads me to the decision some may find offensive.
As long as I am buying their toys, my daughters will not play with white dolls.
Now before you call me a racist or a prejudice person, hear me out. I am not saying that my daughters cannot play with non-African American children. The exact opposite is true. Most of our social engagements involve non-African American persons. We are the only African Americans in our residential complex. Also, the parks, grocery stores, doctor’s offices, shopping malls, museums, and restaurants we frequent are primarily inhabited by non-African Americans. Excluding family events and church, we rarely see Black people.
For this reason, I think that it is very important for our girls to get acclimated with who they are racially and culturally speaking. Filtering their toys and media entertainment is one way of ensuring that they do so.
“The Doll Test” I mentioned earlier comes by way of two African American psychologists, Kenneth and Mamie Clark, husband and wife, who conducted a study in the 1940’s to test the psychological effects of segregation on children of color. Their findings would eventually be used in the famous school desegregation case, Brown v. The Board of Education.
I know what you are thinking: that was over 60 years ago! Schools are no longer segregated, Zendaya has her own television show and Dora and Doc McStuffins pop.
You are right, however, as recently as 2010, CNN reconducted the Clark study to find:
“Nearly 60 years after American schools were desegregated by the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling, and more than a year after the election of the country’s first Black president, white children have an overwhelming white bias, and black children also have a bias toward white, according to a new study commissioned by CNN.”
At the time of The Clark’s study, in the 1940’s, Black dolls did not even exist. They were forced to paint white dolls Black in order to conduct the experiment. Nearly 60 years later, there are Black dolls available, but the results are still the same: mainstream media and imagery in America promotes low self-esteem for children of color/darker hues.
I know that I will be successful teaching my girls everything that was taught to me regarding Black history, pride and culture. But no matter what I do in our home and with them socially, they will still encounter a media and entertainment world from books, to magazines, film, and TV that does not over supply them with positive imagery of their own reflection. As their mother and a happily brown colored woman, it is my duty to filter their atmosphere with as much reinforcement of positive imagery as possible. My Black girls will play with Black dolls only.
Clarissa Joan is a spiritual life coach and editor-in-chief of The Clarissa Joan Experience. She resides in Philadelphia with her husband, their two girls, and a yorkie named Ace. Clarissa is also an expert in impact investing. She is the Communications Associate at Impact America Fund.
A woman can’t even run for president of the United States of America, without people asking her about some damn plates…
What I mean is that during the 15 minutes of the Democratic primary presidential debates, which were televised over the weekend, ABC news reporter and debate co-moderator Martha Raddatz asked Hillary Clinton (as transcribed by Mashables):
“First ladies, as you well know, have used their positions to work on important causes like literacy and drug abuse, but they also supervise the menus, the flowers, the holiday ornaments and decor. I know you know where I’m going here,” moderator Martha Raddatz asked Clinton as the debate was wrapping up. “You have said that Bill Clinton is a great host and loves giving tours, but might opt out of making flower arrangements if you’re elected. Bill Clinton aside, is it time to change the role of a president’s spouse?”
I shouldn’t have to point out the obviously wrongness in this question. But just in case, let’s start with:
- The devaluation and blatant disregard of the not only the office of the FLOTUS, but what is considered traditional women’s work in general.
- The idea that a possible First Husband is above the supposed trivial tasks of his job description – all because of his gender. Granted, Bill Clinton is the former POTUS; but traditionally, the office of the FLOTUS has always been centered on presenting a non-partisan and hospitable image of the presidency. Therefore why should he be above doing what is still a very important and essential role to a successful presidency?
- There are male florists and married men with good taste in food and décor.
- The fact that this is really a question to begin with.
- Why wasn’t the supposed trivialness of the office of FLOTUS a concern for anyone before? In particular when Michelle Obama, who is a graduate of both Princeton and Harvard Law School and who has real world experience as an attorney, was forced to do cheesy fitness videos to silence those who felt she was too bossy. Or better yet, when Hilary was getting dragged by the Republicans (and many on the liberal side) for not staying in her lane as FLOTUS?
And that is just the obvious stuff.
But as asinine and flat-out offensive as the question was, particularly in a debate that spent zero-minutes addressing women’s issues, I was kind of disappointed in Clinton’s overall response.
Granted, I wasn’t expecting Clinton to go full rural-Arkansas on Raddatz. But I was expecting her to politely and directly hold Raddatz accountable for the adherent sexism in even asking her such a lazy and irrelevant question during what was supposed to be a serious discussion.
That’s what I expect from a candidate who calls herself a champion for human rights and voice for women.
But instead, Clinton played “respectability” politics.
More specifically, she laughed uncomfortably, gave some scant defense about how every first spouse has historically defined their own agendas and then fed into the obvious sexism more by adding:
“I am probably still going to pick the flowers and the china for state dinners, and stuff like that,” Clinton said. “But I will certainly turn to him as some presidents have for missions and advice, and particularly how we’re going to get the economy working, which he knows something about.”
And this is why I have a huge problem with supporting candidates based solely on identity.
Yes, Clinton is a woman.
Yes, Clinton is a feminist.
Yes, I know she is not afforded the same opportunities to be brash and loud like Bernie Sanders or interrupt people all night like Martin O’Mallery did.
Yes, Clinton is running a campaign, which has taken a number of progressive stances as it related to women rights and issues.
But those are all promises and labels. And how can we believe that if elected to the highest office in the land, Clinton will be willing to actually put herself on the line for the rights of women when she can’t even call out blatant sexism is a silly question during a debate?
Folks may feel like I’m not being fair to Clinton, but when President Obama was running for office he was besieged almost daily with questions related to race and what his presidency meant for the Black community. Like Clinton, he too thought he could just smile graciously and coyly sidestep the elephant issue in the room. But regardless of how hard he tried to not make his skin color an issue, the rest of the country would never let him forget he was Black.
As such, President Obama had to be a poster boy for race relations. He had to defend himself, renounce relationships and even had to make a historic speech just to prove to folks that he was capable of dealing with the complicities of race in this country. He had to do all of this even though race was not the central part of his candidacy.
And yet, Clinton continues to run as the progressive candidate for women, but hasn’t fully said or done anything to make us believe that she is up to the challenge of actually challenging the status quo.
Nor is anyone really challenging her. Because really out of all the gender related questions to ask Clinton, a woman decided that the best thing she could come up with is to ask her about flower arrangements and patterns for fine China?
When it comes to gender, Clinton is kind of skirting by. And quite frankly, this is unacceptable. If we have learned anything from President Obama’s last eight years in office, particularly in the wake of Black Lives Matter movement as well as and a number of other race-related issues that have rocked the country, is that we are going to need more than symbolism to fix everything that is wrong with us.
So I ask of us ladies: is Hilary doing enough to call out and speak to sexism in her campaign? And should we be pushing her to do more?
No matter where you go in this world, as a Black person, someone is always going to remind you that you are Black and Black only. It doesn’t matter if you are an English-speaking Black or Spanish-speaking Black or Swahili-speaking Black (or any other language-speaking Black), folks are going to say, “Nope. That’s a Negro. And they can’t sit with us…”
You may laugh, but sadly, it is true.
For instance, Lupita Nyong’o, along with Star Wars: The Force Awakens co-star Oscar Isaac, recently did an interview with Univision’s Jorge Ramos. Of course, the interview was a light piece about how the two stars of “Latin origin” landed their roles in the new Stars Wars flick. (This according to the Facebook translation app. And as a note, all translations in this piece are based off on the app.) And of course, the entire interview is done in Spanish, which both Nyong’o and Issac are fluent in.
It should have been a cute little fluff piece where we, at most, lightly mock the irony of social constructs and national boundaries drawn by imperialism and colonization.
But instead, folks in the comment section got into one serious debate over the question of identity and authenticity. Specifically, who is Latin American?
The right answer is anyone born in Latin America. As Latin America, which includes over 20 sovereign states and territories from Mexico to South America and through the Caribbean, is made up of various ethnic groups and races including European, African, indigenous native and Asian.
But you know folks aren’t about being right.
And of course, we know that this wasn’t about the olive-colored, wavy-haired Issac either. Because a person with lighter skin can be born anywhere in this universe and folks will have little question about the authenticity of their identities. Just look at “Brazilian” supermodel (and former fiancée of Rohan Marley) Isabeli Fontana, whose roots are straight-up Italian. Or comedian Louis C.K. whose father, a native of Mexico, is of Jewish heritage. Or even Isaac himself, whose father is actually Cuban and his maternal grandmother French.
Instead, folks took issue with Nyong’o who was born in Mexico City, Mexico to two Kenyan parents.
One such commenter put it like this, “Lupita N’yongo no es Latina! Es una actriz increíble, una mujer hermosa, pero de Latina no tiene nada. Nació en México mientras su padre estaba allí de negocio y solo vivió allí unos meses. Sus papás son de Kenya.”
Facebook app translation: “Lupita N ‘ YONGO IS NOT Latina! It’s an incredible actress, a beautiful woman, but of Latina has nothing. She was born in Mexico while her father was there for business and only lived there a few months. Her parents are from Kenya.”
And another commenter said, “Lupita es Mexicana por accidente no por que tenga Origen Latino como Lo dice el señor Jorge Ramos. Ella es Africana. Oscar si es de Origen Latino.”
Facebook app translation: “Lupita is mexicana by accident not because I have latin origin as it says Mr Jorge Ramos. She is African. Oscar if it is of Latin origin.”
Again, if there is some poor translation, blame the Facebook app and my four years of being a mediocre student in both high school and college-level Spanish. However, you can read the entire thread for yourself here.
For those who are not aware, Nyong’o, who lived in Kenya for most of her childhood but went back to Mexico when she was 16, identified herself as a “Mexican-Kenyan.” More specifically, she told El Mañana (as translated and reported by The Wire):
“I’m Mexican and Kenyan at the same time,” she said, according to El Mañana. “I’ve seen the quarrels over my nationality, but I’m Kenyan and Mexican at the same time. So again, I am Mexican-Kenyan and I am fascinated by carne asada tacos.”
It should be noted that most of the up-voted comments proudly claim Nyong’o as one of their own. In particular, this comment that said the following:
Si Lupita fuera Rubia y de ojos azules ahi estubieran reclamandola como Mexicana! Como es posible que sea el 2015 y tengamos la mente tan cerrada? Y la verdad no me sorprende en lo absoluto, nuestro hermoso continente Americano es un gran arco iris de colores pero lamentablemente lo unico que casi se ve en la tele es blanco, claro! Eso tambien se debe a que nuestras razas de color casi estan marginalizadas y no tienen las mismas oportunidades.
Facebook app translation:
If Lupita She was blonde and blue eyes there were reclamandola like Mexican! How is it possible that it is 2015 and we have the mind so closed? And the truth I am not surprised at all, our beautiful American continent is a big rainbow of colors but unfortunately the only thing that you can almost see on tv is white, of course! That also is due to the fact that our races of color almost are marginalized and do not have the same opportunities.
Well said in any translation.
And while we are honoring progress, we should also note that just last week, Mexico released its new Census form, which will now officially recognize the 1.38 million “Afro-” Mexicans living in the country. According to Quartz, Afro-Mexican activists wanted the inclusion as a way to help fight back against discrimination and erasure, which has painted the look of Latin culture in only one way.
Still, in a region (who am I kidding, in a world), which is largely grappling with its Afro-Latin identity and is plagued with issues of both racism and colorism, it’s clear in the way that some folks insist we need “proof” of Nyong’o’s identity that we have a long ways to go.
Once upon a time there was light. Light skin, light fluffy hair, lighter jobs as a house slave, the spotlight of the big screen and the Cotton Club. Hi Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge, how you doing Billy Dee Williams, Vanessa Williams, Whats up Halle Berry? We doing great!
Then out of the blue there was darkness. Dark hair. Dark skin. Everywhere. Michael Jordan, Viola Davis, Lupita Nyong’o and Hellooo Idriss Elba!
I’m told it’s a reflection of the times, but as a light-skinned chick that used to be on the receiving end of generations of privilege, I’m left a little dazed and confused. What happened? What’s a light skinned person’s place in society today?
Tricky. Do I ask white people to reverse that ‘one drop rule’ because it ain’t working for me anymore? It isn’t making me special anymore? Do I write a book like Taye Diggs preaching for the empowerment of mixed kids? They, with their ‘awesome hair,’–it’s the first line in his book’s description–need empowerment today. I’m telling you, times have really changed.
The truth is, light-skinned/mixed people are tired of this status or non-status to be exact. They want to be seen as their own tribe, with their own products (ever heard of the hair care line Mixed Chicks?), their own books, and their very own leader, Barack Obama. He is mixed, not Black. Taye Diggs will tell you that much.
I mean, Black folks are being used for target practice, and while that’s nothing new because it’s been happening since slavery, there’s no more benefit to staying in the Black community and taking that abuse if you’re not getting any special privileges. When Taye is championing for his kid to be seen as mixed, not Black, he’s looking out for his boys’ future. It’s not personal.
And really, mixed kids are both white and Black.
Why shouldn’t they be able to identify as such if they so choose?
And everybody should just stop with the one drop rule. White people, because they don’t want to share with their offspring or turn beige, and Black people because we don’t want our kids left holding the Black bag and all the weight that comes with it.
That said, I have two final points. First, when we open this mixed identity door, where does it end? First generation mixed vs. third generation mixed; curly hair mixed vs. nappy hair mixed? Will each shade want his own label? Talk about 50 of shades of shady.
And second, I find it quite ironic that Taye Diggs, a direct benefactor of the sexualization of the dark-skinned man, is out there as the spokesperson for mixed people, talkin’ ‘bout awesome curly hair, and such. I know he’s doing it for his kid, but it sounds a little mixed up. Just sayin.’
Check out Erickka Sy Savané’s column, Pop Mom Daily, right here or visit PopMomDaily.com. Before Erickka became a writer/editor, she was a model, actress, and MTV VJ. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Jersey City. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
There has been a lot of talk about whether or not biracial people should see themselves as Black or White, or simply both. These multiracial celebrities speak up about how they identify themselves in America.
These Black celebrities have personal gripes with their own people. Do you agree with some of their points? Or are these celebs way out of line?
Michael B. Jordan
Michael B. Jordan said he was sick of all of the criticism that Black men get for dating White women. When shade started circulating his way after he was rumored to be dating Kendall Jenner, Jordan told GQ that in 2015, people need to get over themselves.
“A lot of black fans were feeling like, ‘Oh, my God, he should have been with a black woman’ and that whole thing.
I get it, but on the other hand it’s, like, relax. You know – it’s 2015. It’s okay! People can like one another, not necessarily from the same history or culture or whatever the f— it is.”
Working While Black: My Co-Worker Told HR I Sexually Harassed Her Because I Didn’t Help Her With A Project
Editor’s Note: James Baldwin said to be conscious and Black in America is to be enraged most of the time. And sadly, those words are still true for many of us. In addition to the deeply depressing and unjust news headlines, there are the hostile situations we deal with everyday. For many of us, these incidents happen at work. In a culture where we spend more time working than with our families, these environments, with ignorant and entitled White people, can be everything from tiring to infuriating. In our new series, “Working While Black,” we compile some of those stories and share them with you, as a way to let you know you’re not alone, to offer advice on how to navigate these situations and hopefully to keep you from losing your mind, your temper or your job.
As told to Brande Victorian
Last week I was at work and a white woman at my job came to my desk and asked for help. I told her that I was busy at the moment but said I could help her in about 10 minutes. She became visibly annoyed and proceeded to stand over my desk, as if to force me to stop what I was doing and immediately assist her. I asked her if she wanted to leave the information I needed to help her on my desk and said if she did I would work on it as soon as I could. She proceeded to tell me the matter was urgent and asked if I could work on it right now.
I’d already told the woman no, but to ease the obvious tension between us I started being playful with her to bring some levity to the situation. I joked that she was getting all “swole in the chest,” i.e. puffed up and angry. She proceeded to tell my supervisor that I refused to help her and that I sexually harassed her.
Because the woman said I made her feel uncomfortable those types of complaints are automatically are forwarded to human resources (HR). My supervisor told me not to worry about it but said HR would have to meet with me next week to discuss the “incident.”
As it turned out, HR didn’t seem to care much about my coworker’s white tears. When the HR specialist came to the office, she asked another rep about the incident and she said the white woman overreacted. As a side note, the HR woman is a Black church lady; she likes me and she knows what’s up. She asked if I ever touched the woman or had any interaction with her before. She asked how I made the “swole in the chest” comment and I relayed it to her in the same tone and then told me just stay away from her. Plus tomorrow is my last day at the job anyway and, considering in my next gig I’ll be working from home, I shouldn’t have to deal with this type of nonsense again for a long time.