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April 26th, 2014
thesmithian
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Michigan’s voter-approved ban on affirmative action in admissions to the state’s public universities reinforces an ugly reality: that most Americans support affirmative action only when it is for whites and no one else. Nearly every time American rhetoric privileges states’ rights, it leaves marginalized groups open to even bolder discrimination than they already encounter. Michigan is simply reminding us that the South has never been the only place where Americans believe that whites are the only ones who should enjoy equal protection.
April 25th, 2014
thesmithian

(It reminds one of the Confederates who went on about how slavery was a matter of states’ rights while insisting on a Fugitive Slave Act, which would put federal resources at the disposal of slave catchers, even in the streets of New York or Philadelphia.)

more.

April 25th, 2014
thesmithian
When I tell people that my upbringing in Tucson was rarely marred by anti-black racism, many don’t believe me. How could a city so white, in a state that makes headlines monthly for its extreme conservatism, not also be an inhospitable place for black families? I attribute this not to the fact that Tucson was ever a haven of equality, of course, but to the fact that racism is about power arrangements, and the lack of black residents made it clear that we were not a threat to the city’s status quo. Instead, it seemed as if most of the white people with whom I interacted reserved their racial animosity for Tucson’s large population of Latinos, like when a high school teacher I had always respected allegedly told a friend that his job as a restaurant dishwasher was one better suited for “wetbacks.”
Cord Jefferson, at Tuscon Weekly
April 24th, 2014
thesmithian

'…that would entail acknowledging that safety-net opposition and voting-rights opposition and other conservative policies draw political sustenance from sources other than heady libertarianism.'

more.

April 19th, 2014
thesmithian

…both serious history and a serious pleasure, a story that reads as if Huddie Ledbetter spoke it while W. E. B. Du Bois took dictation.

more.

…both serious history and a serious pleasure, a story that reads as if Huddie Ledbetter spoke it while W. E. B. Du Bois took dictation.

more.

April 19th, 2014
thesmithian

To speak of diversity, in light of this country’s history of racial recidivism, is to focus on bringing ethnic variety to largely white institutions, rather than dismantling the structures that made them so white to begin with. And so, sixty years after Brown, it is clear that the notion of segregation as a discrete phenomenon, an evil that could be flipped, like a switch, from on to off, by judicial edict, was deeply naïve…For the tragedy of this moment is not that black students still go to overwhelmingly black schools, long after segregation was banished by law, but that they do so for so many of the same reasons as in the days before Brown.

more.

To speak of diversity, in light of this country’s history of racial recidivism, is to focus on bringing ethnic variety to largely white institutions, rather than dismantling the structures that made them so white to begin with. And so, sixty years after Brown, it is clear that the notion of segregation as a discrete phenomenon, an evil that could be flipped, like a switch, from on to off, by judicial edict, was deeply naïve…For the tragedy of this moment is not that black students still go to overwhelmingly black schools, long after segregation was banished by law, but that they do so for so many of the same reasons as in the days before Brown.

more.

April 19th, 2014
thesmithian

…based on the true story of Dido Belle, a mixed-race woman raised as an aristocrat in 18th-century England. It follows Belle, adopted into an aristocratic family, who faces class and color prejudices. As she blossoms into a young woman, she develops a relationship with a vicar’s son who is an advocate for slave emancipation.

more, plus two clips, here.

April 13th, 2014
thesmithian
The brogrammer is always someone else—he is THOSE Facebook guys who yell too loudly at parties and wave bottles in the air, he is not the nice, shy guy who gets paid 30% more because of his race, gender and appeal to the boy-genius fetishes of VCs. The loud and tacky ‘brogrammer’ is a false flag—if you are not a brogrammer, the logic goes, you must be an outcast genius who has suffered long and would never oppress a fly. The industry is full not of the former but the latter— programmers who are smart and may present as harmlessly ‘nerdy’ but whose sense of themselves as being ‘the underdog’ means that it is very hard to see the ways in which they participate in unconsciously but potentially harmful ways in an industry that has coded them as kings. In reality, programmers in Silicon Valley can be fully and invisibly privileged without ever touching a Grey Goose bottle-service setup or a tube of hair gel.
April 7th, 2014
thesmithian

'I never doubted my ability, but when you hear all your life you're inferior, it makes you wonder if the other guys have something you've never seen before. If they do, I'm still looking for it.' —Henry ‘Hank’ Aaron

On this day in 1974, Aaron tied Babe Ruth’s home run record.

April 7th, 2014
thesmithian

Reality shows with…African-American casts now are among the biggest hits on cable. But as offerings that are driving ratings highs…one marker goes ignored: Most of the viewers are black as well. Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta, the crown jewel in its flagship franchise, swelled to a network-best 4.6 million viewers in February.

more.

April 3rd, 2014
thesmithian
…while black women in the US are making strides in education and business and affecting political trends with stellar voter turnout numbers, they remain more vulnerable to health problems and violence than any other group. Their strength at the polls is not reflected in elected positions.
April 3rd, 2014
thesmithian
…being reasonable has never worked in history. All other big racial justice movements, all of the big historical figures in racial justice were never reasonable. They were always painted as crazy during their time, and even afterwards…people forget that because they want to look at these things in the past and not the present, and I think people need time and space to understand the sickness of things that happen now, especially because they don’t understand digital lives and our generation…Whiteness will always be the enemy. It’s not like I want to hurt them, it’s not like I want them to have any pain, but like, I just want them to realize that what they have, and to honor the advantages. And I don’t think it’s much to ask to just even acknowledge it.
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