Friday, October 3, 2008

white weekend links

  • "Troy Davis Deserves a New Trial" (Amy Goodman @ AlterNet)

    The U.S. Supreme Court will consider Monday whether it will take on Davis' case. If it decides not to, he very likely will be executed.

    Among Davis' defenders is former President Jimmy Carter. He said: "This case illustrates the deep flaws in the application of the death penalty in this country. Executing Troy Davis without a real examination of potentially exonerating evidence risks taking the life of an innocent man and would be a grave miscarriage of justice."

  • "Racism as Reflex: Reflections on Conservative Scapegoating" (Tim Wise @ Red Room)

    A few years back, a study of Citigroup (which includes Citi, the group's sub-prime lender), found that Citi in North Carolina was charging higher interest even to borrowers who could have qualified for regular loans. In the process, over 90,000 mostly black borrowers were roped into predatory loans, and as a result paid an average of $327 more per month for mortgages than those getting loans from a prime lender. This added up to over $110,000 in excess payments over the life of the loans, on average.

    In other words, folks of color who could have qualified for lower-interest loans (that they would have been able to pay back far more easily) were steered to higher-cost instruments by greedy financial institutions, looking to make a quick buck at their expense. That's not the fault of civil rights protection, it's the fault of economic civil rights violations.

  • "Just a Reminder" (Big Man @ Raving Black Lunatic)

    Every time she said "doggone it," or "darn it" or "aw shucks" I got a little more angry and frustrated. And it wasn't just because her voice reminds me of a Minnesotan on crack.

    Listening to her spew colloquialisms, I wondered if a "plain-speaking" black person would be considered a legitimate presidential candidate. You know, a black person who said stuff like "fo' sho," or "girl, please" or "that ain't right."

    A black person who speaks the way many of us speak when we're around our friends.

    As a friend of mine pointed out, Sarah Palin even took the time to give a shout out to some third graders in Alaska, all while winking at them. Can y'all imagine if Obama gave props to all the homies down at the Boys and Girls club and then gave his chest a fist bump?

  • "My Son Was Gobsmacked" (madscipiper @ Daily Kos)

    I told my son that the reason we wanted him to watch the speech was that we were watching history being made, the first time a black person had a real shot at being president of the United States.

    We tried to give him a quick history of the civil rights movement, but first we had to get him to believe a truly startling preposition.

    We had to back up and explain to my son about racism---he looked at us as if we were aliens when we explained that some people judge others by the colour of their skin. He really couldn't believe it, couldn't understand why that might be. Bigotry was a startling, foreign concept to him----why would anyone think the colour of your skin had anything to do with anything?

    If you're a parent there are moments when you just fall in love with your kid all over again. My sweet, sweet boy, whose teachers praise him for being a truly gentle spirit. Can't wrap his head around the concept of bigotry.

  • "Race, Class, and Gender in TV Dinners" (Lisa @ Sociological Images)

    I use TV dinners to show my students that nearly everything, even things they’d never expect, are awash in race, gender, and class meaning.

    Hungry-Man is probably the most obviously meaning-laden of the TV dinners. It is aimed directly at men, of course, with one and a half pounds of food, an excellent blue box, and a strong font in all capital letters. But it also advertises a particularly working-class masculinity. In these two boxes, notice the references to “backyard barbeque” and “sports” (XXL). The food itself, barbeque chicken and pork, mashed potatoes, and beer battered chicken, reinforces this class message. But this is also about race, as the working-class masculinity is implicitly white.

  • "Remember the 'Terrorist Fist Jab'? What about the 'White Power Grab'?" (AWARE-LA @ DOUBLETAKE 08)

    Fox News’ coverage of the Obamas’ fist-bump raises serious questions about the implications of such coverage. Why do we need such an elaborate analysis of, what essentially amounts to a goodbye/ good luck send-off gesture? Do we do the same thing when it comes to handshakes?

    Of course we don’t because handshakes are the primary greeting among white folks, so therefore they are normal, but “the fist bump” is something that, within the lens of whiteness, is odd or peculiar: it is outside whiteness. More accurately, it is cast as something specific to black folks; not something the majority of white folks would do, much less understand.

    Fox’s report sets up the experience of black folks as foreign to what is normal, where normal is equated with whiteness. And the assumption that whiteness is normal is thoroughly racist.

  • "Racism without Racists" (Frank Rich at The New York Times)

    John Dovidio, a psychologist at Yale University who has conducted this study over many years, noted that conscious prejudice as measured in surveys has declined over time. But unconscious discrimination — what psychologists call aversive racism — has stayed fairly constant.

    “In the U.S., there’s a small percentage of people who in nationwide surveys say they won’t vote for a qualified black presidential candidate,” Professor Dovidio said. “But a bigger factor is the aversive racists, those who don’t think that they’re racist.”

    Faced with a complex decision, he said, aversive racists feel doubts about a black person that they don’t feel about an identical white. “These doubts tend to be attributed not to the person’s race — because that would be racism — but deflected to other areas that can be talked about, such as lack of experience,” he added.

  • "Black Support for Obama Wasn't Automatic" (David Squires @

    Stanford researchers wondered why the presidential race is so close in the polls — despite a sick economy, a war, eight years for the other political party and one of the most unpopular presidents in American history.

    What they found is that deep-seated racism might prevent some white voters from pulling the lever for a black man because many still think blacks are "lazy or violent."

    Black people obviously haven't had that same problem voting for white candidates, so why do these haters and e-mailers try to flip the switch and say black folks are voting for Obama "because he is black."

    Sure, black folks are proud that one of us has overcome to get to this point, but the reality is that black folks have voted Democrat since JFK — and with mixed results, I might add.

    To suggest, state or argue that black folks would vote for Barack Obama merely because he's black is one of the greatest insults ever put upon the black community and an insult to Obama and his organization, as well.

And finally, something that's not necessarily a white thing, but everyone should see it anyway, the short video below about brown lawns and green swimming pools in the Inland Empire:

"Foreclosure Alley" (Lisa Ling @ KCET)

For the past few years, the Inland Empire in Riverside County has been one of the fastest growing counties in the state - home to a major housing boom. But now the Inland Empire is pretty much the poster child for the foreclosure crisis. In the newer developments, house after house sits vacant - either up for auction, for sale by a bank or going for what’s called a “short sale” which is when the owner owes more than the house is worth.

SoCal Connected tracked down some surreal sights associated with the crisis - a company that specializes in removing whatever people leave behind in their foreclosed homes. The process is called a “trashout” - a term the company came up with because it perfectly describes what happens. Everything that’s left is dumped in a trailer and taken to the landfill.


  1. Thanks for the goodies, macon, especially the video, which really is surreal. David Lynch can stop making movies now!

  2. Re: "Gobsmacked," we know kids have to learn bigotry. The fact that the kid in question was clueless about its existence at age ten is evidence of his family's white privilege, not the kid's special little soul or his parents' mad childrearing skills.

    I learned about racism earlier than that because my parents raised me in a mixed-race community--i.e., I saw it firsthand. I knew about the Civil Rights Movement earlier than that because my parents taught me about it; so did my public elementary school. I didn't have better parents or a better school, I simply had the fortune to grow up in an area and at a time where such things could not be denied or ignored.

  3. Blacks steered to lenders charging higher rates? Nonsense.

    Or are you making the argument that whites are smart enough to compare mortgage rates offered by more than one lender, while claiming that blacks are not that smart?

    Your position supports the argument that one race is smarter than another.

    Is it news to you that lenders can charge high interest rates if they choose? Is it news that prices for any product can vary?

    There is no law stating that all lenders must lend money at the same rate. Thus, rates vary.

    In a competitive economy, buyers must seek the best terms available. If the lender wants business, the lender must offer attractive rates. But nothing prevents a lender from seeking higher rates, no matter what you believe.

    A gas station could offer gas for $10 a gallon, but buyers would avoid the place because there are plenty of other gas stations selling gas for about $4.00 a gallon.

    However, a buyer might pay $4.10.

  4. Macon, the video, Foreclosure Alley, was fantastic. I've visited the site that hosts these films and they're all so informative and well made. Thanks and take care.

  5. I love Jimmy Carter. I remember an interview where he was discussing growing up in the segregated south. His mother was the only person living in their area who acknowledged that people of color were also living there too and she went out of her way to interact, offer support, etc. She was a major influence on human rights activism.


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