All Articles Tagged "racism"
When XO Jane published Ona Anosike’s article “I Am Sick of Seeing Women Crying Because of Their Dark Skin” earlier this month black women around the internet collectively rolled there eyes. We don’t know when the world is going to straighten their color issues out, but until then here’s a list of 15 things women with dark skin are tired of hearing.
Skin Color Isn’t That Big A Deal
It’s an unfortunate reality, but skin color effects the way you experience the world.
This past winter, we all mourned the tragic and senseless death of Renisha McBride, the 19-year-old Black woman who was shot and killed on the front porch of Theodore Wafer, a 55-year-old White man.
Now, Wafer is on trial for second-degree murder and manslaughter in Renisha’s death.
Al Jazeera reports that his defense attorney, Cheryl Carpenter, told the 12-person jury, consisting of four Black members, yesterday that Wafer was acting out of self-defense.
“He was acting and reacting to escalating fear. He had never been so scared in his entire life. It’s horrible and it’s sad that a 19-year-old woman is dead. But Ted is justified in what he did.”
The jury has to decide whether or not Wafer had a reason to shoot and kill McBride when she was banging on his door at around 4:20 am. An autopsy found that her blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit for an adult driver. She had crashed her car a few hours before when she started knocking on Wafer’s door.
The prosecution is arguing that Wafer took a “shoot first, ask questions later” approach because “there was no sign of attempted burglary, there’s no evidence of any effort to breaking in. His actions that night are unnecessary, unjustified and unreasonable. Because of that, a 19-year-old girl is dead on a porch in Dearborn Heights.”
Wafer and his attorney claim that he had no idea that McBride was Black or female and have tried to downplay the racial significance of it, especially in light of other Black teens being shot and killed by other, often older White men.
Civil rights advocates state that the fact that the defense is citing Wafer’s unawareness of McBride’s race prove that it is a factor.
Mark Fancher of the Racial Justice Project says that this case could be racially significant even if McBride’s race is not what initially motivated Wafer to shoot. He said, “I don’t know if the prosecution believes race is an element of the crime, but the defense felt they needed to head off assumptions the jury might make whether he’s biased or not … If they assume the jury will see this through a racial lens, then race is relevant here in that way.”
The prosecution has yet to mention race in their arguments, instead they’re focusing on the time and thought it took for Wafer to find, position and fire his weapon.
“It is the state’s position that taking a gun and having it loaded, having the safety off, opening a locked door and aiming at an unarmed stranger was a situation created likely to cause great bodily injury,” she said. “It has to be loaded, locked, the safety has to be off and the trigger has to be pulled. There’s no hair trigger on this shotgun. It requires 6.5 pounds of pressure to fire it.”
McBride’s mother and best friend have taken the stand so far during the trial. Between the two women, the jury learned that McBride and her mother argued that she hadn’t cleaned the house the evening she was killed. And they learned that she’d drunk vodka and smoked weed on Nov. 1, hours before she encountered Wafer.
She got into the car accident at 1 am, hitting Carmen Beasley’s vehicle. Beasley said that she tried to get McBride to wait for the police and an ambulance to arrive to the scene of the accident but as they were waiting, McBride left.
Beasley testified, “She just wanted to go home. She wasn’t belligerent. She was young and she just wanted to be at home. That was her goal, to be home.”
At this point, defense attorneys have yet to reveal whether or not Wafer will take the stand.
As this trial progresses, we’ll be sure to keep you posted on the updates and final outcome.
Let’s maybe give Feed A Child’s founder and CEO Alza Rautenbach the benefit of doubt when she says she didn’t realize a recent ad depicting a white woman hand feeding a black child as he sits at her feet like a dog was racist. She told South African news network eNCA, “From Feed A Child’s side, we don’t look at color. To us there isn’t a black and a white and an Indian. … The reason was not to stir a negative reaction or offend anyone. We do apologize for that. To us it was a woman and a child.”
But you can’t tell me that no one in the South African humanitarian organization or at the ad agency, Oglivy & Mather, questioned the ad, which has now been pulled.
In one scene, it shows a white woman watching television while a young black boy lies on her lap and she is feeding him popcorn. In another, while the woman lies in bed, the boy delivers her a newspaper and he is rewarded with a piece of her breakfast. In one more scene, the woman is icing a cake and she holds out her finger for the boy to lick.
The commercial ends with the words: “The average domestic dog eats better than millions of children.”
According to Feed A Child, the commercial was intended to raise awareness about starving children “and the plight of many children in South Africa who go to bed hungry.”
“Unfortunately, the core message of the commercial became diluted or even lost through the interpretation thereof,” a note on the organization’s website reads.
The South Africa”s Advertising Standards Authority said it looked into the issue and “no further action” would be taken, reports News 24. According to ASA spokesperson Mpumi Mda, they had considered what action to take after receiving several complaints.
Feed a Child SA has since apologized for the commercial, pulled it from television channels and its YouTube channel. They even uploaded a video of Rautenbach apologizing and explaining the intent of the commercial.
“The directorate is therefore satisfied that the voluntary removal of the commercial and the accompanying apologies are adequate under the circumstances, and that no formal consideration of the merits of the matter is needed,” Mda said.
ASA has ordered Feed a Child SA to never broadcast the commerical again. You can still visit The Huffington Post for clips from the ad.
You know what conversation has gotten old? Black women and reality television.
We’ve seen the memes, read the think pieces, and have played party to the same humdrum and overreaching conversation, which usually goes: “Black women on reality television are bad black people; black women watch reality television are bad black people too; black women are embarrassing themselves and the community by projecting and supporting images of negative ourselves; black women are embarrassing the black community by making us look bad on television in front of white people; black women are taking a check from white folks to destructively coon out on television, blah, blah, blah…”
And of course it also follows the same conversation trajectory as ones on: “Scandal” and Olivia Pope; “Being Mary Jane”; weaves and perms; birth control; feminism; abortions from Planned Parenthood; and a laundry list of activities, goods and services, which women enjoy. Point is, folks never get tired of telling black women, how our interests, needs and likes, particularly around what entertains us, are a waste of our time, money and a perpetration to white supremacy even when it is hypocritical at best.
But missing from all this repetitious screeching over reality shows is any real critique about the launching pads for many of the characters on these reality shows. Where are the serious analysis, the accusatory memes and finger wagging about black faced white supremacy and the impact on the downfall on the black community on ESPN or in Sports Illustrated or in the black versions of both? Where is the urging of men to step away from the hot wings and plasma television at the local sports bar and grill and throw down their throwback jerseys in mass protest?
What I’m saying is, how can you make claim about Basketball Wives trivialness and overall destructive nature, particularly to the black women’s psyche, and then in our next step, hang around with the bunch of your homies to either watch and play actual basketball?
You know a sport, which is most revered by black men?
You know a sport, which like feminism, was invented by an actual white person? And yet nobody accuses all the brothers, who participate in the sport of self hate, or trying to be like the white man, for playing along with the rules of the game.
The same sport, which today might be dominated by African Americans but had to be integrated, aka bought into, just like we had to do with the rest of the American society? Yet nobody calls the brothers in this particular sport, sellouts or coons or the male versions of Negro Bed Wenches for kowtowing to get into the white man’s game.
It’s no secret that “blame the black man” is a time honored tradition in America. And since there is still so much fear and suspicion that lingers when it comes to black men, it’s proven quite effective, even today, when you want to pin a crime on someone.
But luckily, four year old Abby Dean of Whatcom County, Washington was there to save the day with her heroic honesty. As a child, it can be hard to speak truth to authority figures, hell even as an adult. But when Abby’s 17 year old babysitter claimed that her employer’s home had been burglarized by two black men, it was Abby who stepped forward to set the record straight.
The extremely intelligent four year old told a Fox affiliate that “Wednesday was the worst day in my life.” She was there when the house was burglarized and told reporters that the robbers “… told us to get out of the house ’cause they wanted to steal stuff.”
They stole a number of the employer’s belongings and Abby recalled that they nabbed her kitty bank, iPod, Xbox and Wii.
When questioned by authorities the babysitter told police that one of the thieves looked like the next door neighbor, a black man.
Cody Oaks, Dean’s neighbor, was handcuffed and questioned by police for hours until Abby chimed in to tell authorities the truth.
She said,“It wasn’t the right skin color.” She said that the robbers were white and not black. Once Abby spoke up the babysitter’s edifice of lies started to topple and she confessed to the crime, admitting that it was her 16 year old boyfriend and another accomplice who had actually robbed the house. Abby’s mother said she’s very proud of her daughter, noting that within 30 seconds her admission changed the questioning scene which had been going on for five to six hours.
Oaks, the neighbor, says what he finds troubling is the fact that the babysitter doesn’t realize the type of danger she could have potentially caused for him and his family and he hopes she learns from this situation.
The babysitter and her two accomplices were arrested and may face robbery, burglary and perjury charges.
Take a look at this video of Abby explaining the ordeal to the news crew. Listening to her speak, it’s clear that the babysitter didn’t understand what type of child she was dealing with. This little girl is too sharp for the shenanigans and potentially life altering, bold-faced lies.
Katy Perry is under fire again after images from one of her stage sets from the Prismatic World Tour leaked to the Internet. During the set, the controversial singer dances on stage with a group of women dressed as buxom mummies with large backsides, big breast, full lips and black bobs. Many have taken offense to the set, stating that it promotes stereotypes and objectifies the black female body. And of course, folks wasted no time in taking to Twitter to blast the 29-year-old singer over the stereotypical images used in the performance.
Just saw the pictures of Katy Perry and the mummies…uh…this is not okay. And white feminists, we need to be active in saying so.
— Abby Norman (@AccidentalDevo) June 10, 2014
It isn’t okay to take stereotypes of ANY body and use them as props. This seems like basic dignity to me. — Abby Norman (@AccidentalDevo) June 10, 2014
Aha, so Katy Perry continues to be a racist piece of appropriative, talentless garbage. Why are people still giving her money?
— Bailey (@the_author_) June 10, 2014
WHITE ENTERTAINERS: Quit trying to stay relevant by debasing black bodies. You ain’t cool. Miley, Katy Perry, etc. You are ill-informed. — ProfB (@AntheaButler) June 10, 2014
Others argue that the mummies weren’t offensive and that they simply went along with the performance’s ancient Egyptian theme.
ALSO, when are mummies appropriation. Y’ALL be turnt to the dance crews re-doing THRILLER with a costume, But cause it’s @katyperry…
— Aaron Lopez (@A2RONLOPEZ) June 10, 2014
This of course, isn’t the first time one of Katy’s performances has left folks with a sour taste in their mouths. At the American Music Awards, the singer was pegged as racially insensitive after she appeared on stage dressed as a Japanese Geisha. Katy however, defended the performance.
“All I was trying to do is just give a very beautiful performance about a place that I have so much love for and find so much beauty in, and that was exactly where I was coming from, with no other thought besides it,” she told GQ back in February.
What are your thoughts on this?
If you haven’t by now, please read Ta-neshi Coates’ phenomenon piece entitled The Case for Reparations, on why it is a scam that black people in America pay taxes.
In fact, go read the article first and then come back and read this because seriously without the context, this entire conversation will likely confuse you. And I am not saying this to be snarky. But rather acknowledging the depth of information and valuable perspective, which is covered within this 17 page cover story.
I know this sort of dedication might be too much for the TL, DR clan (okay that was a bit of snark), so I will try to capture the gist as best I can: basically Coates wants us to consider Mr. Clyde Ross of Chicago, whose lifetime of enduring systemic racism and discrimination policies, specifically as it relates to housing, has left him and his family as permanent second class citizens, unable to build wealth. And worse, many of these discrimination practices were co-signed by the government including redlining, and the denial of low-interest home loans through the government sponsored G.I. Bill (which ultimately led blacks to seek out homeownership through predatory lenders), the state-sanctioned air-bombing of “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the denial of blacks into the newly formed suburbs, etc…
He also goes to great strides to dispel myths that the failures of our communities in America are due to African Americans not trying hard enough, being lazy and criminal or lacking moral integrity. In one of the more compelling passages, he writes:
“From the White House on down, the myth holds that fatherhood is the great antidote to all that ails black people. But Billy Brooks Jr. had a father. Trayvon Martin had a father. Jordan Davis had a father. Adhering to middle-class norms has never shielded black people from plunder. Adhering to middle-class norms is what made Ethel Weatherspoon a lucrative target for rapacious speculators. Contract sellers did not target the very poor. They targeted black people who had worked hard enough to save a down payment and dreamed of the emblem of American citizenship—homeownership. It was not a tangle of pathology that put a target on Clyde Ross’s back. It was not a culture of poverty that singled out Mattie Lewis for “the thrill of the chase and the kill.” Some black people always will be twice as good. But they generally find white predation to be thrice as fast.”
I should preface my thoughts by noting that this is not the definite case for reparations; just a really good one. As someone, who has been championing the cause of reparations for a while (And by that I mean I made a White House.gov petition on the issue not too long ago, but nobody gave a damn so…), I feel like this is our only grievance politically. Not high crime or low graduation rates. Not single mothers or deadbeat dads. Not littering in Harlem, rolled eyes or sagging pants. Not unemployment, underemployment and not have the right job skill training. All of those issues, as far as I see it, are only symptoms to the largely issue of black subjugation in this country – if they are issues at all. Sometimes what we perceive as “issues” are just diversions to derail the conversation we need to be having: and that is how America plans on really addressing past and current injustices against black people.
However it would appear that even among us black folks, there is an inability to even consider the possibilities And I mostly get it: “what’s the point? It’s not going to happen anyway. Plus what does reparations look like and how will it be paid anyway? And to whom are we to pay considering there is no way to know who is descendant from slavery?” These are just some of questions, which have come up lots in the last few days since the article was published. Although I believe these questions to be defeatist, I do believe they are legitimate. And while there are more studied and brilliant minds around, I would like to take a stab at answering them.
What should reparations looks like?
Good question. Here is one of my ideas: Black people should not have to pay taxes. No income taxes. No sales taxes. No wage taxes. No business privilege taxes. No property taxes. No gas or utility taxes. No Exise taxes. No telecommunication taxes. Not a single iota of money, which is collected by the United States government should come from the pockets of black people. It is just unconscionable at this point to ask people, who are descendants of slaves to foot the bill for any maintenance of this country. And the way I see it, the lack of tax burden will provide incentive and space enough for black folks to acquire and more importantly maintain wealth in this country. It certainly would serve as an incentive for global corporations to seek out partnerships with black owned businesses, who too would benefit from not having to be held down by a whole bunch of business-related taxes
This is an important point considering many black folks, with newly acquired wealth find themselves indebted to the government for failure to pay taxes including Lauryn Hill and Wesley Snipes, who both went to prison for failure to pay back taxes. So did Ron Isley too. And then there was Lil Kim, Nas, Kelis, Chris Tucker, Toni Braxton, Doug E. Fresh, Lil’ Jon…the list is honestly way too long to just be a coincidence. And according to at least one study, targeting blacks in particular is actually quite common.
So are you saying that white people (and other non-blacks) should take care of black people?
No. I’m saying the tax burden of this country should no longer be placed on the backs of black people. Everything cost more in poor, particularly for black neighborhoods. Some call it a poverty tax, but it often results in mostly poor African Americans and Latinos paying in upwards of thousands of dollars extra in fees because they live in economically disenfranchised communities.
But for how long?
Well how long was slavery? Around 250 years. At least that long plus time incurred through Jim Crow and American apartheid to present installations of subjugation and inequality. Monied white folks certainly were able to benefit from all that free labor we gave them. So around 350 years should be long enough for black folks to play catchup.
But how do we determine, who should receive reparation by way of the tax exclusion?
Ah yes, the ole’ but everyone is mixed up argument. It would be a legitimate concern if not for the fact that throughout history, local and state governments, sanctioned and often co-signed by the federal government, put into place certain structures, which already help us determine such colorful issues. And I’m talking about the “purity” laws, which were mostly enacted to deter the miscegenation of the white race. Not only were interracial marriages and families banned, but places like Louisiana, as well as other places down South, often established freedoms based upon how much “black blood” you had.
Such was the case of Alexina (Jane) Morrison, who in 1850s sued her slaveholder on three separate occasions for freedom, claiming that her blonde hair and blue eyes meant that she “been born free and of white parentage.” She eventually won, due to a forged bill of sale provided by the owner. However if not for the fraudulent piece of paper, it was likely that Morrison, who for all intents and purposes was a white woman, would have to spend the remainder of her life as a black slave.
The point is that this system of color coding people has longed been used to help the government determine who could be kept for enslavement and who could be disenfranchised legally. And I don’t see how we can’t use the same system as a way to properly award restitution.
But Charing won’t that result in white folks today being hurt financially and economically based upon past injustices, which they had nothing to do with?
Yup but that’s the point. A transfer of power so that it is no longer held by a select group of people based upon race. And to put it crudely – some folks are truly going to have to ante up. And while some non-black folks might see their wealth decline, black owned enterprises and industries in particular will now have opportunities to rise in their places. And without justice, there is no equality. The real question to ask is how fair is it that America should continue to reap the benefits of inequality?
No seriously, how is that fair though? Not every white person held slaves.
True. However it is safe to say that the majority of white folks benefitted from slave labor and American apartheid. And it doesn’t matter when they arrived in this country and by what aim; they too benefitted from the spoils of slavery. After all great grandfather Johann from Poland likely couldn’t have bootstrapped his family up through society, based upon his own merits, if not for the total exclusion and denial of access from those same merit-based opportunities. From colleges and universities, to country clubs to neighborhoods and parks and trails and museums, etc and so on, Your ancestors got access to places where mine could only enter by holding a broom and a mop.
But where will the government get the money?
Where did the government get the money for two damn wars at the same time? And black folks are around 12 percent of the population, so I imagine that it would cost lots less than what we are led to believe. Besides, the government should consider suing or even taxing corporations, who have ties to the trans-atlantic slave trade.
But Charing, the Republicans are never going to take it serious though. I mean it’s not really realistic to think of that.
Again another truism, but the obstructionists in Congress also has to be the dumbest reason not to pursue our just cause. I mean, if that is the case, why do I bother to go vote considering the Republicans are just going to block and hinder progress. Just like every cause we have fault, it will be up to us to make reparations a political issue. We must not only speak on it but be infatuated in our claims. Likewise we have to hold our politicians and civil and human organizations accountable for their lack of leadership in getting reparations into the national conversation.If gay rights and immigration are national platforms, why can’t the cause for black reparations be treated with the same dignity and respect?
So that is my plan for helping to right the wrongs of the past. And just like Coates, this is not the definite idea of what reparations looks like; just one (and a damn good one I think). I’m curious as to what are some ideas folks have about what black reparations should look like. Remember at this moment, there is no right or wrong answer; just as long as we are talking and thinking actively on the issue.
Update: Mark Cuban has apologized to the family of Trayvon Martin for his remarks about racism and prejudice.
“In hindsight I should have used different examples,” he posted on Twitter. “I didn’t consider the Trayvon Martin family, and I apologize to them for that.”
However, “beyond apologizing to the Martin family, I stand by the words and substance of the interview,” he wrote.
On June 3, Cuban and the other NBA owners will vote on whether or not to force LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell his team. Cuban said, when he first heard the remarks Sterling made, that he found them “abhorrent” and said, there’s “no place for racism in the NBA, any business I’m associated with.” But, he said, forcing Sterling to sell the team could be a “very slippery slope.”
Mark Cuban, a noted entrepreneur and owner of the NBA team the Dallas Mavericks, spoke with Inc about prejudice and racism, a timely topic in light of recent controversy surrounding his fellow NBA owner Donald Sterling. In his remarks, he starts by owning up to a personal prejudice, but also stating that everyone is prejudiced in some way.
“If I see a black kid in a hoodie and it’s late at night, I’m walking to the other side of the street. And if on that side of the street, there’s a guy that has tattoos all over his face–white guy, bald head, tattoos everywhere–I’m walking back to the other side of the street,” he says to the camera.
Stating that “we’re all prejudiced in one way or the other” and that some people just have trouble adapting, adopting and evolving new ways of thinking, he says he’s an advocate for trying to help someone who makes racist comments or has prejudiced beliefs rather than just firing them or sending them away.
“It’s part of my responsibility as an entrepreneur to try and solve it. Not just to kick the problem down the road because it does my company no good, does my customers no good and it does society no good,” he says.
What do you think of Cuban’s comments?
In the year since George Zimmerman was found not guilty of killing unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin, there has been a focus on the lives of black men in America. Not that there doesn’t need to be. Black males face unique challenges. According to the Black Star Project, only 45 percent of black men graduate from high school in the United States and just 22 percent of black males who began at a four-year college graduated within six years. A whopping 53 percent of black men aged 25-to-34 are either unemployed or earn too little to lift a family of four from poverty. Lastly, in 2001, black males had the highest chances of going to prison, 32.2 percent.
There have been a number of films and documentaries as of late to address these issues, such as After Trayvon and Afraid of Dark. The latest is “Life Cycles of Inequity: A Series on Black Men” created by Colorliines, a daily news site. According to writer Kai Wright, the project is a monthly discussion including infographics, essays and video, “content focused on a life stage or event that for black men in the United States is uniquely confined by broad, societal inequities,” reports The Huffington Post.
The first video of the series was directed and produced by André Robert Lee and features eight Oakland, California, teens talking about their experiences with discrimination and unfair judgement they experience in school. The series, which will continue throughout the year, will cover a range of themes, from fatherhood to the incarceration of black men, to mortality rates and job opportunity.
For more on the first installment, click here. And check out the first video below.
Basketball legend Michael Jordan shares his struggle growing up with racism in a North Carolina community where the Ku Klux Klan was heavily active in a new book entitled “Michael Jordan: The Life.” During an interview with Sports Illustrated, author Ronald Lazenby said his research revealed how powerful the Klan was at the time.
“As I started looking at newspapers back in this era when I was putting together Dawson Jordan’s [Michael’s great-grandfather] life, the Klan was like a chamber of commerce. It bought the uniforms for ball teams, it put Bibles in all the schools. It may well have ended up being a chamber of commerce if not for all the violence it was perpetrating, too,” Lazenby said. “A lot of the context just wasn’t possible to put it in a basketball book. A lot of it ended up being cut.”
In the book Lazenby chronicles the basketball legend’s rise from his youth to his status as a sports superstar and how both his upbringing and his race played major roles in his life.
Jordan, who believed he was a racist in his youth because he hated all white people, said he began to understand race relations after watching the critically-acclaimed television miniseries “Roots.” He also opened up about being suspended from school in 1977 after a girl called him the n-word.
“I threw a soda at her,” Jordan said in the book. “I was really rebelling. I considered myself a racist at the time. Basically, I was against all white people.”
Lazenby calls Jordan’s tale a “black power story,” exploring the affects racism had on his family’s economic standing and how that ultimately molded him into the man later praised for his incredible athletic ability.
Read more about Micheal Jordan’s book at EurWeb.com