Saturday, July 26, 2008

this week's white news and views

  • "Friend of Mexican Immigrant Beaten to Death in Pennsylvania Gives Eyewitness Account of Attack" (Amy Goodman @ Democracy Now!)

    Luis Ramirez, a twenty-five-year-old Mexican immigrant, was beaten to death last week by a group of teenagers in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. He was walking home last Saturday night when six white high school students brutally beat him while yelling racial slurs. Despite eyewitness testimony, no charges have been filed. We speak with Arielle Garcia, a friend of Ramirez who witnessed the attack.

  • "Not Quite White: When Racial Ambiguity Meets Whiteness?" (Nadra Kareem @ Racialicious)

    I grew up trying to spot the otherness in whites—such as Janet on “Three’s Company” or the star of “Wonder Woman,” who, it turns out, is half-Mexican—because I was hungry to see myself represented in a medium in which my kind was mostly invisible. But that’s not the only reason I make such connections. On a subconscious level, I believe that I respond to white society’s rejection of blackness by projecting blackness onto whites. The rationale is that, if whites are part-black themselves, their racism doesn’t just amount to hatred of people of color but to a sort of self-hatred. In this way, it is easy to see how racism isn’t just damaging to its so-called targets but to society collectively.

  • "What if you (don’t) got white skin? (Consuming Whiteness part 2)" (the professor @ Professor, What if . . . ?)

    Of course, milk is not pure (unless you consider growth hormones pure) and is neither healthy or curative for the majority of people. Nevertheless, the US still equates wholesomeness, purity, and good health with milk. Just last week my daughter stayed at her cousin’s house where she was only allowed milk as it is ‘good for you.’ Too shy to refuse to drink it, she has been suffering stomach pains as milk does not do her body good. And, today, my aunt reprimanded me when I told her my kids don’t drink milk. These relatives of mine are not unique I suspect — they, like many other Americans, have been misled by a very successful ad campaign into believing that a beverage that is unhealthy and damaging to the majority of the world’s populace ‘does a body good.’ Not only is it an unhealthy product for many, it is also promoted via a racist narrative that conveys a white supremacist paradigm.

  • "Do Americans Expect Their Business Leaders to Be White? Study Says Yes" (Melissa Lafsky @ Discover Magazine)

    In one example of how embedded racial biases can play out, researchers at Duke, the University of Toronto, and Northwestern business schools found that Americans still overwhelmingly expect business leaders to be white, and rank white leaders as more effective than their minority counterparts.

    The study’s data came from 943 undergraduate and graduate students, nearly all of whom had experience working for a company or corporation. They were given fictitious news reports and performance reviews from a fake company and then asked to guess the race of a set of CEOs, project leaders, and other employees described in the materials.

    The participants overwhelmingly (up to 72 percent) guessed that the people in power were white, even when the students were told that the company was predominantly African American, Hispanic American, or Asian American. The same “presumption of whiteness” didn’t occur when the subjects assessed the less powerful and accomplished employees.

  • "Post-Racial = Assimilation, Folks" (Tennessee Slim @ . . . on whatever crosses my mind)

    [B]lackness is such a drag. For White folks. They are tired of talking about it and they are tired of being reminded of it. Post-racial is about getting past all the things about "blackness" that makes White folks uncomfortable. It's not about getting past whiteness so that race takes on a meaning having nothing to do with a power dynamic (which would be truly post-racial). That would require the acknowledgment that there is a relationship of power between Black folks and White folks. And we still aren't there.

    Obama makes does make White folks feel better in their whiteness. In this sense, we are at a place where some Black men aren't necessarily frightening, but this is not the same as redefining the image of blackness in the White imagination. In other words, Obama is the exception that proves the rule.

  • "The End of White Flight: For the First Time in Decades, Cities' Black Populations Lose Ground, Stirring Clashes Over Class, Culture and Even Ice Cream" (Conor Dougherty @ The Wall Street Journal)

    For much of the 20th century, the proportion of whites shrank in most U.S. cities. In recent years the decline has slowed considerably -- and in some significant cases has reversed. Between 2000 and 2006, eight of the 50 largest cities, including Boston, Seattle and San Francisco, saw the proportion of whites increase, according to Census figures. The previous decade, only three cities saw increases.

    The changing racial mix is stirring up quarrels over class and culture. Beloved institutions in traditionally black communities -- minority-owned restaurants, book stores -- are losing the customers who supported them for decades. As neighborhoods grow more multicultural, conflicts over home prices, taxes and education are opening a new chapter in American race relations.

  • "White Women Who Don't Get Racism" (Jesse @ Racism Review)

    [Katie] Couric didn’t stop there, though. She went on to suggest that there is sexism in the news business and beyond in the larger society, but that “sexism is worse than racism.” . . . With this assessment, Couric joins a long and growing list of white-women-who-don’t-get-it, when it comes to racism, such as Geraldine Ferraro. As Adia Harvey wrote here back in March, “Making the case that sexism is worse than racism or even that it is the primary source of women’s oppression ignores the experiences of minority and working-class women (who simultaneously contend with racism and capitalist exploitation) and ultimately alienates these women from feminism and feminist causes.”

  • "White privilege.. its everywhere I am not" (Blackgirlinmaine's weblog)

    Imagine walking around in a large city when the urge to take a sudden and powerful bowel movement hits (I know this is sounding crazy but stick with me), well the spousal unit just looks for a nice hotel and wanders in and uses their facilities. The first time he shared this with many years ago, I looked at him like he was crazy, see when I used to live in Chicago and found myself in a similar predicament it never dawned on me to go to a hotel. Perhaps, because I have had experiences when traveling and staying at top notch hotels where just my appearance required showing a key card and proof I really belonged at the hotel and wasn’t loitering. Its a small thing but it was one of the first times I stopped to ponder how we, Black folks and White folks at times can inhabit different worlds.

    In more recent days, a white girlfriend and I were discussing local beaches we take our kids, and my pal shared that she regularly uses one particular beach that is private… I knew the beach in question but was fascinated that she regularly just used it with no concerns, I even asked her aren’t you concerned that the organization that owns it might ask you to leave? She told me no; see white privilege allows you to go and do seemingly simple things like shit or use a beach with no concerns that someone might question you, hound you, or disturb you in any way. Damn, it must be nice. . .

And finally, a poem about white folks, by Dana Kaiser-Davidson (@ Everyday Whiteness)

My People: White People

My people: white people
Truth be told “we” never were a people, fragments of cultures that bought into privilege
called whiteness, the invisible word
I remember 10th grade family history project being more concerned about my place in the human race
Bypassed cultural legacy for oneness, WE are all one my white people said
Not a color thing, just people.

My people: white people, Land of independent nuclear families
Smothering ideals of perfection, Bottled up resentments, Blistering silences
No such thing as mistakes or getting messy
We keep quiet to our own addictions, then blame people of color for all things called bad
poverty, drugs abuse, domestic violence, molestation. . . perceived as isolated problems that white people are free from.

My people: white people
We say we are not racist, yet we are raised in a racist society
Pass on stereotypes of what we think people of color are really like to our children
We are fed half-truths and lies in history books
We sit silently while children are made into puppets on T.V color
White children learn diversity through Disney’s Pocahontas and Aladdin
Stereotypes that my grandparents taught me filtered my own perceptions
My people we have been hurt to think this separation does not chain our minds and hurt our souls

As I mind my mind with forgiveness, I let go of shame for my own people
I’ve deemed myself better than
I’ve acted out the lies I’ve been told, believing I was never racist
I sat in silence, guilt immobilized my mind
Held my own spirit captive
ego chatter categorized good and bad white people

Heaven on earth looks like oneness
With my own people
What is the use of pretending I am not like those white people
Who latch onto other cultures in order to cope with fragmented family histories

My people
From Irish, Scottish, English, German and unknown descent
Carried legacies of hurts with them
Pulled up from bootstraps laced in shoes stained in blood of slavery and genocide

My people: white people
Let’s love the hurts of forgotten legacies into wholeness
Let’s forgive our forefathers and mothers as we forgive ourselves for the violence, silence, shame and separation that internalized racial superiority has caused
For living in comfortable bubbles of safety
For believing we were never racist
Lets educate ourselves and other white people to histories ignored instead of asking people of color to be our teachers or explain the hurts they have faced

My people: white people
I vow to love you arms wide open as I love my baby niece
All white people no matter what you’ve said,
done, kept silent in the name of privilege
You are good people
It’s time to mourn the hurts we’ve afflicted as a people
It’s time to grieve our separation from our own indigenous heritages
each cultural legacy dropped in the name of survival

It’s time to love our peoples, love ourselves
consciously awaken from our legacy of racial smog
Into awareness of our white privileges and culture
Let us create pride in our people
birthed in freedom, shared power, prosperity
and tangible oneness with all people
My people: white people,
the spiritual revolution is calling you


  1. Re: White Milk

    It sounds crazy, linking milk with racism, but within the past year or so, I stopped drinking milk, as I realized it didn't do my body good. I used to drink milk every day while growing up, even though I have a bit of lactose intolerance and milk allergy. I look back and wonder why I did that, since I had bloating and stomach cramps. I just bought into the milk propaganda that told me milk was healthy for me.

    I take calcium supplements now, because I don't want to get osteoporosis, and soy drink may contribute to breast cancer, but I think on the whole, I am healthier for not drinking milk. My body just doesn't process it well.

    Maybe drinking milk helped me get taller during adolescence, I'm not sure. Maybe I could have taken calcium supplments back then. Either way, I wished I had figured this out (that milk isn't good for me) way earlier.

  2. Restructure,
    So glad you discovered milk does not do your body good!
    Yes, linking milk with racism sounds like a stretch, but after researching this idea some years ago, I was convinced that milk promotion has a very racist past (and present)...

    Macon D -- Great poem about white people! Thanks for posting this.


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