All Articles Tagged "race"

Ya Think?! President Obama Says Some Folks Don’t Like Him Because He’s Black

January 20th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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There’s a little bit of buzz surrounding President Obama’s name this week. In an upcoming interview with The New Yorker, the president spoke candidly about race, saying:

“There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President.”

But he also acknowledged the fact that his blackness has been beneficial to his political career as well.

“Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black President,”

One the first glance, reading that quote, it’s like “Duh! You ain’t said nothing we haven’t known to be true for years now.” It’s just a big deal because it’s probably something that never occurred to a whole lot of white folks.

In fact, some are mocking the claims, citing the president’s other shortcomings as reason for their distaste.

orwell force

But that’s the job of president, nearly everything that goes wrong in the lives of the people will be attributed to the head honcho. Some of it legitimately. During the interview though, Obama did admit that sometimes the Democratic party has been labeled as shrugging off “the concerns of middle and working class folks, black or white.”

Truth is, whether blatantly or latently, some white folks don’t like that the man the President of these United State, is black. Can’t stand it in fact.

It’s the same thing Jimmy Carter said in 2009, right after South Carolina representative Joe Wilson screamed “You lie!” as the president was speaking to Congress.

“When a radical fringe element of demonstrators and others begin to attack the president of the United States as an animal or as a reincarnation of Adolf Hitler or when they wave signs in the air that said we should have buried Obama with Kennedy, those kinds of things are beyond the bounds. I think people who are guilty of that kind of personal attack against Obama have been influenced to a major degree by a belief that he should not be president because he happens to be African American. 

It’s a racist attitude, and my hope is and my expectation is that in the future both Democratic leaders and Republican leaders will take the initiative in condemning that kind of unprecedented attack on the president of the United States. I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he’s African-American. I live in the South, and I’ve seen the South come a long way, and I’ve seen the rest of the country that shares the South’s attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African-Americans.”

The key is, it’s not so much that folks fundamentally disagree with the president but the fact that several people, those who hold office and others, outright disrespect the man who holds the highest office in the land as if he were… I can’t even think of what type of person would deserve such treatment.

Anyway, my friend brought another layer of interesting to this discussion. She noted that The Obama administration tried to distance themselves from the issue of race during his first term. When Carter made those comments, President Obama’s former press secretary Robert Gibbs tried to downplay it or gloss over the whole racial component as one of the primary reasons behind the attacks and disrespect. But now that the president is speaking for himself on the issue, it’s no need to lie (Craig).

We all know first term President Obama was really not trying to let race shroud the actual work he and his staff were attempting to do in office. But second term Obama has nothing to lose and is better off just keeping it real and acknowledging that this country is still dealing with the disease of racism.

At the end of the day President Obama and the White House’s handling of the race issue, in some ways, mirror the lives of millions of African Americans attempting to be judged on merit alone in this country. We would love to live and work in environments where something as socially constructed and ultimately trivial as race would not influence the way people treat us and rate our job performance. And we acknowledge that there are certain privileges and loyalties we’re afforded because of our blackness. Even though many of us wouldn’t trade it, being black is a trip. And in this country, race and racism is always there and sometimes just too “in your face” to ignore. And in those instances there’s certainly nothing wrong with speaking out.

What do you think about President Obama’s assertion? Are you surprised he finally acknowledged the racial disrespect?

Garcelle Beauvais: Why Should My Kids Have To Dismiss Their Dad’s Heritage?”

December 15th, 2013 - By Drenna Armstrong
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Back in October, actress Garcelle Beauvais released the first book from her I Am series titled, I Am Mixed. The book tells the story of biracial twins and how they’re able to learn about multiple cultures thanks to their parents being of different races.  I Am Mixed has received quite the warm reception, especially from those who are biracial.

Recently, Beauvais spoke to UK publication The Voice about her thoughts on biracial people, particularly her twin boys whose father is white. In the interview, she said:

“But I don’t know why anybody [of mixed heritage] should have to choose. Why should my kids have to dismiss their dad’s heritage because they have a black mum? It just doesn’t make sense to me. Why can’t people just be happy with what they are and not have to choose?”

She also stated that she noticed how enraged the black community was when he was on the Oprah show (yes, she took it that far back) and didn’t refer to himself as being black.

Beauvais added that she thinks the books are important because they will start conversations between parents and children about the multicultural society we live in today.

It seems like the book has been reaching people in the way she envisioned it. Hopefully, future books in the series which discuss adoption and divorce will also be just as influential.

The Innumerable Problems Behind “Why Every Black Woman Should Marry A Jewish Man”

December 10th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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Somewhere along the way, MadameNoire got the reputation of being the Black Women’s website that promotes interracial dating and marriage and all that. Perhaps it was because of articles like this one. Whatever the case, I feel the need to say that while we believe you should keep your options open when it comes to finding love, you shouldn’t begin your quest with skin tone or racial and ethnic modifiers. And personally, I, Veronica, believe that while black men are flawed like all men, you’ll never catch me out here denouncing all of them. There are enough people outside of our race who do that already. I would think the universal truth that characteristics that make a good partner are not predicated by race and ethnicity is understood by all. But apparently, it’s really not because Dr. Nazaree Hines-Starr, a full time pharmacist and author, recently published a book called Why Every Black Woman Should Marry A Jewish Man. 

Yes ya’ll, every black woman. Before I even begin to dissect the problematic nature of such a premise, let me just share a bit of Hines-Starr’s background and the reasoning she shares for dating and marrying a Jewish man.

All throughout college, graduate school and all of her twenties Hines-Starr, a black woman, dated only black men who shared her religious background. And after that all she had to show for it were a group of men she placed in what she calls the “Scumbag Files.” But Hines-Starr did not give up on love. Instead, she went to the internet and joined an interracial dating site called Let’s pause right here for a minute. I can understand, perhaps, why a black woman would be drawn to a site called Afro Romance but I’m a little perplexed as to why people of other ethnicities would go there unless they’re trying to fulfill some type of chocolate fantasy. But that’s just me. Admittedly, I’m a bit paranoid about such things.

Anyway, looking at the site, I’m guessing Hines-Starr selected “white” for her preferred race and it wasn’t long before she met “Michael, a professional, never-married Jewish man who was two years her junior.”

And apparently, Hines-Starr believes you can do the same. In fact, the way the world is set up right now, you might not even have a choice. She provides the following statistics: “According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 1.8 million more black women than black men in 2000, and that number has not improved since then. That means that if every black man in America married a black woman today, many women hoping to marry a black man would not make it down the aisle.”


And then, according to a press release Hines-Starr lists reasons why Jewish men are the new hotness for black women.

- They are the perfect Alpha Male.

– Many African American men and non-Jewish men fall short in the romance department

-Jewish men open wide instead of down low (Is that a sexual innuendo I failed to grasp?)

– Jewish men are not looking for someone to take care of them

– Jewish men attend and graduate college

– Jewish men at least attempt to marry before making babies

-Jewish men are great with financial planning and stability

– Jewish men don’t take everything as a challenge to their masculinity

-Jewish men are often raised with traditional gender roles where the men seek to take care of the women.

That’s enough. Do you see the problems here? Hines-Starr successfully manages to stereotype two groups simultaneously. On the one hand she dogs out black men, calling them unromantic, uneducated, uncommitted and unstable all while lauding not only her Jewish man but all Jewish men above the rest. I think somewhere along the way, people lost sight of the fact that just because a stereotype is positive, it’s still a stereotype. When you reduce people down to a few characteristics, it robs them of their humanity, which is complex.

I wonder if it ever occurred to Hines-Starr that while there are certain culture attitudes that are passed down from generation to generation, the emphasis on education, family and financial security are not just things the Jewish community cares about.

I wonder if in regard to her own dating history if she ever considered the fact that it wasn’t that the men she dated were scumbags because they were all black but because they were just scumbags. And furthermore, since this synopsis seems to present her as blameless in her own dating history, I wonder if she ever stopped to ask herself why she kept attracting and then tolerating scumbags?

I know that since there are far too many, black men berating and degrading black women, some of you will argue that she’s just looking out for numero uno, giving them a taste of their own medicine, trying not to be left behind as she pledges allegiance to black men and black men alone. And I get that. I’m not saying limit your options. If you can, of course you should be open to love regardless of the package it comes in. I just hope black people, men and women alike, haven’t reduced the phenomenon of finding love into some type of calculated trip to the market where you pass up the brand you’ve known and grown up with in favor of something new and exotic.


Black Woman Berates White Girlfriend In A Harlem Barber Shop, What Would You Do?

December 9th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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What Would You Do

Source: YouTube

If you’re familiar with the show “What Would You Do?” You know they put people in tight, yet realistic situations that test people’s moral fiber. And even have you asking yourself what you would have done in the same situation. In one of the latest episodes, an actress “Rachel” is pretending to be a stylist in the popular Harlem barber shop Denny Moe’s. She’s giving eyes to one of the male customers, a black guy, when all of a sudden his white girlfriend walks in. And instead of playing cool or sucking her teeth and rolling her eyes on the low she begins to question the black man for his choice and out and out disrespect the white girl in the place. I mean, she goes in.

Take a look at the video to see how the women and men in the shop respond in this scenario. And then ask yourself–though you could never know until you’re in it–what would you have done in this situation?

15 Celebrities Most People Don’t Know Are Black

September 18th, 2013 - By Meg Butler
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Celebrities Most People Don't Know Are Black

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Race politics can be complicated and bi-racial stars often find themselves on one side of the Hollywood divide. Unsurprisingly, for the stars in this list that side tends to be the white one, with most people not even realizing these actors, actresses, and public personas are in fact mixed — and for all intents and purposes, black.

The Food-Race Connection: Does Race Play A Factor In Access To Healthy Food?

August 26th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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Since race is an issue in most all aspects of life it seems, does it also play a factor in getting access to healthy food?

“The connection is not explicitly based on race; socioeconomic factors play a major role in access to healthy food,” reports the Huffington Post.  Take free lunches for children in public schools. The decision on who qualifies is based on socioeconomic information. Still, larger percentages of African-Americans and Hispanics in the U.S. were living below the poverty line in 2011 than whites or those identified as “other.” Because of these stats, more children who are of Hispanic or African-American backgrounds need free or reduced-priced school lunches.

And being able to get healthy food is vital for long-term health benefits.

At a recent town hall meeting in West Oakland, Nikki Henderson, executive director of People’s Grocery discussed race in the Bay Area and pointed out the connection between food and race. She said this connection “lives very presently because Trayvon Martin was going to the liquor store to get Skittles and iced tea. That’s what he was doing when he was out late at night. That’s what many of our kids do.”

People’s Grocery is more than a place where people come to get food, but also a place that is well-lit, so that children coming to get food are not putting themselves in danger, simply by being outside at night, reports HuffPo. It is a community food store that offers fresh foods, affordable groceries, health services.

This discussion isn’t really new. The debate has been going on for decades but now it has hit the national forum.

“For decades, low-income communities of color have suffered as grocery stores and fresh, affordable food disappeared from their neighborhoods. Advocates have long drawn attention to this critical issue and crafted policy solutions, but access to healthy food is just now entering the national policy debate,” according to a report by The Food Trust organization.  The report, “The Grocery Gap,” found that many low-income communities, communities of color, and sparsely populated rural areas do not have sufficient opportunities to buy healthy, affordable food.

The result is those communities suffer more from diet-related diseases such as obesity and diabetes than those in higher-income neighborhoods with easy access to healthy food.

On one point we’d like to ask: What do you think of the connection between access to healthy food at safe locations and the Trayvon Martin case? Is that too much of a stretch?

It’s A Black Thing: 50 Cent Lawsuit Ruling Went Against Him Because Of His Race

August 18th, 2013 - By Drenna Armstrong
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50 Cent is not happy about a recent ruling against him and it may not have anything to do with money.

According to TMZ, 50 recently lost a lawsuit he filed against Sleek Audio. He said the company owed him $261,00 but they disagreed with that. In the end, an arbitrator sided with Sleek and it is assumed they had to pay considerably less money.

But 50 is not taking this ruling lying down and is in the process of appealing it.  In a new claim that he’s taken to federal court, 50 says the arbitrator (whose name has not be identified) sided against him because he’s black, associates with controversial black figures and because he’s a rapper.

In addition, 50 claims the arbitrator never looked at any of his evidence and didn’t cross-examine any of the witnesses. He wants the ruling thrown out and is asking for a brand new hearing.

Sleek Audio says 50 is reaching with this claim and is trying to get his way, which would be a trial in front of a judge.

No word on when the federal court will hear this case and make a ruling.  If what 50 says is true, he may have found a way to get a new hearing, whether it be in front of a judge or a new arbitrator.

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

July 22nd, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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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
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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
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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?