All Articles Tagged "racism"
A Virginia family received the shock of their lives when they came home to a Prince William County police officer waiting at their doorstep, questioning whether or not their three daughters really belonged to them.
According to a Fox News affiliate, it all started when Joseph and his three little girls made a trip to their local Walmart. Because Joseph is White and his daughter’s are biracial, some of the store’s staff and patrons suspected that he had actually kidnapped the girls. After they left Walmart, Joseph stopped by to pick up his wife Keena and when they made it home, the family was greeted by a police officer.
“He told us very sincerely, ‘Hey, I was sent here by Walmart security. I just need to make sure that the children that you have are your own,’” Joseph said of the officer.
“I was dumbfounded for a moment. I said to myself, ‘Did he just ask us if these were our kids?’ Especially knowing what we went through to have our children,” Keena added.
“He checked my ID and he asked my 4-year-old to point out who her mother and father were.”
According to the officer, the police department was contacted by a Walmart security guard who saw Joseph with his children in the parking lot and thought it was “strange.”
An outraged Keena says she then called Walmart, demanding an explanation for the incident, but security wouldn’t take responsibility for the false alarm and insisted that it was a customer who initiated the allegations by expressing that he saw her husband with the girls and “didn’t think that they fit.”
Walmart reps say they are looking into the situation. Joseph and Keena have promised to never shop at Walmart again.
Check out footage of Joseph and Keena describing the troubling incident below. What are your thoughts on this?
Decades ago, two Swedish economists compiled data that became the World Values Survey, which outlines the world’s most and least racially tolerant countries. The economists were trying to examine whether economic freedom made people any more or less racist, so they created something called the World Values Survey to measure a country’s level of racial tolerance.
Max Fisher at The Washington Post revisited the results of the survey, which asked respondents in more than 80 countries to identify the kinds of people they would and would not want as neighbors and filled in some of the holes in order to create his own map. Ultimately, the study concluded that economic freedom had no correlation with racial tolerance, but it does appear to correlate with tolerance toward gays.
Even with all of this research, there’s the issue of honesty; how truthfully survey respondents will answer these sensitive questions. Take for example the fact that the data suggests Swedes are more racially tolerant than Finns but it could be possible that the two groups are equally tolerant but that Finns were just more honest on the survey, explains Fisher. Another problem with the survey is that it not conducted every year, meaning some of the results are very recent while several years old.
- “People in the survey were most likely to embrace a racially diverse neighbor in the United Kingdom and its Anglo former colonies (the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) and in Latin America,” reports Fisher. Exceptions included Venezuela, where income inequality sometimes breaks along racial lines, and the Dominican Republic, perhaps because of its proximity to Haiti. Scandinavian countries scored high as well.
- “In only three of 81 surveyed countries, more than 40 percent of respondents said they would not want a neighbor of a different race,” writes Fisher. Just over 43 percent of Indians, 51.4 percent of Jordanians, 71.8 percent of those in Hong Kong, and 71.7 percent of Bangladeshis were not racially tolerant.
- Europe showed wide variations. France, for example, showed a low tolerance level with 22.7 percent saying they didn’t want a neighbor of another race, Fisher reports. But former Soviet states such as Belarus and Latvia scored as more tolerant than much of Europe.
- The Middle East also has issues with tolerance, largely because of the issues faced by countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia that take in many migrants from poor countries in the region.
This is seriously getting ridiculous. Just yesterday we wrote about Pakistani designer Aamna Aqeel’s “Be My Slave” photo shoot, which showed a white model being waited on by a small black boy, and now we’ve just learned that the store Zara apparently thinks slavery is trendy too.
Huff Post blogger and culture critic/DJ/visual artist, Amanda Seales, brought our attention to a Zara necklace adorned with both gold faces and dark black faces with bright red lips that closely resemble slave and other historically racial-insensitive figures.
Read more at BlackVoices.com
Another Day, Another Questionable Act: Arizona High School Celebrates Redneck Day Complete With Confederate Flags
From Black Voices
We’ve heard of school spirit day and college day, but school redneck day? That’s a new one.
An Arizona high school came under fire after members of the student council organized a school-wide redneck day earlier this week. According to AZ Central, the idea was for students to dress up like, and effectively satirize, characters from A&E reality series “Duck Dynasty,” which follows the Louisiana family responsible for a popular duck-call hunting product known as the Duck Commander.
When one student showed up at the school wearing a Confederate flag, some students, parents and teachers, were less than thrilled.
Read more at BlackVoices.com.
Confession: Believe it or not, the reality of America’s racist past didn’t become real to me until college. (Insert gasp!) And I live in Georgia. (Insert disbelief and head shake.) While I grew up knowing about Martin Luther King Jr.—as my elementary history books glossed over the depths of slavery and segregation in America and presented him as the great savior that made all people get along now—I didn’t know much else. Stories of Malcolm X, W.E.B., and others came across my eyes by way of my mother, but my shallow understanding of racism and my upper middle class status left me thinking racism was a thing of the past that had no real effect on the present or future. Yes, I was downright ignorant.
It wasn’t until I went to college and practically minored in African American Studies (Why didn’t my counselor tell me I was one class away from having that credential?) that I found myself in my dorm room crying as I viewed pictures of lynchings and read articles that addressed racism as an institution whose effects have been deep and wide. America’s veil was torn. I realized that by those stars and stripes, we were not healed. But I was also awakened to the legacies of brave souls like Ida B. Wells, Frederick Douglass, and the countless individuals whose stories haven’t been told but to whom we owe our current freedoms. I’d never been more excited about academia than I was then, because I was discovering my own past. And a sense of responsibility, dignity, pride, and accountability to my ancestors filled my heart. There’s something about knowing scores of individuals either had to fight for or never had the opportunities you currently have (and possibly squander) that inspires greatness.
Seeing Jackie Robinson’s life depicted in “42,” this past weekend did just that. Watching the Major League Baseball player turn the other cheek while being barraged with racial slurs, letting the example of Jesus instruct him in the face of persecution, was nothing short of inspiring. But I couldn’t help but leave the film wondering whether my generation is too far removed to be inspired by such a film. Do these films become mere one-time experiences that have us reflecting for roughly a week but then going on about our business as usual afterward? I might sound like an old timer, but I think we’ve forgotten where we came from. And many young people have no real clue where that even is. We are growing up with a black president — dare we think we have arrived?
As I was also remembering MLK’s assassination on April 4, I couldn’t help but wonder how we’ve gone from a people who fought for our dignity and right to be educated — with our greatest threat coming from outside — to a people whose youth don’t see value in education or one other. Of course this is a generalization of a people of great accomplishment, and I realize that the effects of racism still stain us and affect our betterment, but is our culture headed for doom? Are we stuck on N***a Island? If so, how did we get here and is there any hope for getting off?
While “42″ finds Dodgers’ president Branch Rickey quoting Bible scriptures left and right, what the film doesn’t highlight is that it was Jackie Robinson’s own faith that gave him courage, and it’s what truly made him great. Perhaps that element of our culture has been lost, and we need to get it back. While he is keenly aware that there are no quick fixes to the many issues that plague African Americans, Sho Baraka (an artist whose Talented Xth album draws from W.E.B. DuBois’ work on how black culture can be uplifted), believes the decreasing importance of the black church has played a role in our decline. “I don’t believe the church is a important as it once was. Mainly because of the lack of a universal Black problem. Once Black people could comfortably live in suburbs with whites, their problems changed and we no longer have a common struggle.” Well, we know what Frederick Douglass had to say about that: “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”
Am I saying we need to enter back into the chains of racial degradation? Heck no, we won’t go! But perhaps we have forgotten the lines of those ol’ negro spirituals that sung of our Great Emancipator as we find ourselves floating in that vast ocean of material prosperity MLK spoke of — unaware that we are headed towards a fool’s paradise. And our youth are paying the price. We need to remind ourselves of the struggle and educate our young people on our history. I don’t say that as a passing statement; I believe it plays an integral role in combating our current trajectory. We are as grateful for what we have today as we are cognizant of what we didn’t have the days before. We must remind them, because it will give them hope to become more. And we need them to have this hope because if “there ain’t no hope for our youth, then the truth is there ain’t hope for the future,” as 2pac so eloquently told us. They need to know that while entertainment and athletics are worthy arenas to aspire to thrive in, they can be more than rappers and athletes. They can be leaders and role models.
Jackie Robinson breaking into major league baseball is much more than a story of athletic prowess. It is a story of claiming and maintaining one’s dignity and having the guts to fight not with carnal, but divine weaponry. We must embark on that same fight for our people’s dignity. We owe it to those before us and behind us, and we owe it to ourselves. But most importantly, we owe it to the God who created us all equal.
Mattel has been caught in the middle of a lot of controversy surrounding their Barbie dolls lately. Earlier this month we reported on a group of Harlem moms petitioning for the company to offer more diverse Barbie merchandise. Now they’re being slammed for their relaunched “Dolls of the World” line. Mattel says that each doll included in the line comes with a passport and most come with an “animal friend.” Seems pretty harmless, right? Well, according to NPR, the line’s “Mexico Doll” has triggered much criticism.
Many have come out blasting Mattel for the Mexico-inspired doll, claiming that the company was being “stereotypical” when they selected her clothing and accessories.
“A little stereotypical? Mexico Barbie is wearing a traditional Mexican dress, has a chihuahua, and a passport,” one tweeter questioned.
Mattel has insisted that there was no offense intended in the production of the doll and that many of the country-inspired Barbies come with animals.
The company’s issued statement on the controversy, which can be found on their website reads:
“The Barbie Collector Dolls of the World line was launched in 1980 and is the largest and longest-running series in the history of the Barbie brand. Each doll wears an ensemble inspired by the traditional costume and fashion of the country. In 2012, the Barbie Collector Dolls of the World line launched dolls from Argentina, Australia, Chile, China, Holland India, Ireland and Mexico. Every doll in the current line includes a ‘passport’ and stamps as well as an animal friend providing additional play value.
We consulted with the Mexican Embassy on the Dolls of the World Mexico Barbie, especially with respect to the selection of the Chihuahua. Our goal with the Dolls of the World Mexico Barbie, as well as the entire Dolls of the World Collection, is to celebrate cultural differences and tradition, introducing girls to the world through play.”
The dolls do appear to be a great way to educate children about the world around them. Even the interactive website for the collection seems to be very informative, offering interesting facts about each country that a doll has been released for. But while we are on the subject, it’s interesting to note that so far, there aren’t any Black dolls included in the relaunched collection.
Do you think people are making an issue out of nothing or is there a valid argument to be made about “Mexico Barbie” and the collection in general?
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?
Boy, Bye! Director Antoine Fuqua Doesn’t Think Hollywood Is Racist, Says Some Are Just ‘Unqualified To Do The Work’
It feels as if it is every other day that a Black Hollywood actor comes forward telling horrible tales of racist encounters they’ve experienced while working in the industry. Olympus Has Fallen director Antoine Fuqua, however, seems to think that unfair treatment experienced by Black actors is less about color and more about being “unqualified.” He also implies that people who perceive Hollywood as racist are “ignorant” to the culture, and had no qualms about expressing this to The Voice while on a press tour in the U.K.
“I wouldn’t use the term racist, as much as I would say the playing field is not even in Hollywood. But ultimately, you have to put in the work [...] It’s very easy to cry racism when you’re not qualified to do the work or your work isn’t transcending to where you want it to be.
Hollywood is a business and you have to look at it that way [...] I do see other things – like people who don’t understand or are ignorant to our culture. But I wouldn’t call them racist. If anything, it’s our job to expand their minds to our experience
There are no African Americans that run major studios and most of the executives at the top level are not African American. So when the people in those jobs are developing stories, nine times out of 10, their stories won’t be about African Americans – they’ll be about people who look like themselves. To say that those people are racist is not necessarily the case.
99.9 per cent of the people that have given me my opportunities in this business were not African American [...] Denzel [Washington] gave me a great opportunity when we did “Training Day” together, and I also became friends with Mr. Sidney Poitier, who has given me great counsel and advice. But in terms of people in the studio system, most of the people who have given me my jobs were not African American. So I can’t sit back and say Hollywood is racist.”
Students at a Wilcox County high school confess that they are totally embarrassed that in the year 2013, their school is still holding segregated proms and homecoming dances.
“You have some people who still have a past state of mind,” one student told 41 NBC.
“It embarrasses me to say that I’m a part of a county that does this,” adds another.
How is this still happening, you ask? Well, according to 41 NBC, when the Wilcox County high school integrated thirty years ago, the school stopped sponsoring the annual prom event and parent committees took over, hosting two separate proms, with one being for Black students and the other for White. The practice still continues to this day.
“If you’re an African-American and you show up to the White prom, you’ll problem be asked to leave,” said Ethan Roundtree, a student with hopes of bringing an end to the school’s outdated way of doing things.
Roundtree isn’t alone in his efforts. He has a crew of students behind him and together they’ve been raising money to host the school’s first ever integrated prom.
“We live in rural south Georgia, where not too many things change. Well, as a group of adamant high school seniors, we want to make a difference in our community. For the first time in the history of our county, we plan to have an integrated prom,” she the mission statement on the group’s Facebook page.
“In some way, it will shape the history of Wilcox County and what will happen next,” says Roundtree.
Through spring break fundraising efforts, the student group was able to raise more than $1,000 on their own, though they admit that it was a tough sell, as some were not in favor of an integrated prom.
“When we put our flyers up, they got torn down,” revealed student organizer Mariesha Rucker.
Wilcox County School Superintendent Steve Smith reveals that he is well aware of the segregated dances and that parent organizations are well within their rights in hosting them. According to Gawker, the school agreed to have only one homecoming king and queen this year, as opposed to two. This would’ve been a major step for the learning institution, but considering that the White king and the Black queen weren’t allowed to pose for the yearbook photo together, I think most would agree that the district took one step forward, only to take two steps back. Student fundraising efforts, however, have not been in vain. The students will host their first ever integrated prom later this month.
Public Enforcement Patrol officers who filed a discrimination suit in 2011 are finally getting justice as Battery Park City will pay them thousands of dollars — $165,000 to be exact — to settle their case.
In 2011, the 13 minority officers were transferred from their post and replaced by lighter-skinned officials. That’s a big enough problem, but just as significant are the racist slurs that the officers said were directed at them by some of the privileged Battery Park City residents and themselves. Swastikas and the N-word littered public property, leading the workers to believe that the graffiti was directed to their attention. This prompted the workers’ lawsuit. Each worker (both the originally employed and replacement workers) will receive $8,000, although one worker, George Parker, will receive $14,000 due to claims that a white resident chased him after being asked why his dog was off the leash. It appears that the Battery City Park Authority, employers of the PEP officers, did not step in to alleviate the problem, but rather masked it in hiring new workers.
The disrespected and discriminated get paid, but the problem still remains. You can’t erase racism and ignorance with a check. What will happen next? Even the lawyer who represented the disgraced PEP workers, Linda Cronin, believes this to be true, stating that “the settlement didn’t address the ‘blatant disrespect.’”
“The lawsuit alleged that the outrageous and despicable comments made towards the minority officers (and) the hostile work environment … have gone unchecked,” says Cronin in the NY Daily News article.