Saturday, December 13, 2008

white weekend links

"Racism Revealed in Comments about Custom Browser" (Jesse @ Racism Review)

Mozilla, the folks that created the browser Firefox, have released a new browser called Blackbird, that offers customized search engine results thought to be of particular interest to African Americans, or in the short hand of one blogger, it’s a browser for black people. Blackbird is operated by 40A, Inc., a company founded by three African American entrepreneurs, Arnold Brown II, Frank Washington, and H. Edward Young, Jr. . . .

What’s interesting to note for my analysis here is the kind of white-liberal-racism that’s erupted in the comments section at TechCrunch, a popular technology blog, following the announcement of this custom browser. . . . What those white folks at TechCrunch fail to grasp is that the notion of a “color-blind web” is just as fictional as the notion of a “color-blind” society. Indeed, as noted scholar Henry Jenkins wrote way back in 2002 (light years in Internet time), the notion of a color-blind web is little more than a fantasy to assuage liberal guilt. White people need to stop denying race and racism, then crying “foul!” anytime race unexpectedly (for white people) comes up.

Yellow Rage
Michelle Myers and Catzie Vilayphonh
(Profanity Alert; h/t Renee @ Womanist Musings)

"What if you’re not sure whether you’re sexist and racist or just prejudiced and bigoted?" (The Professor @ Professor, What If . . . ?)

All white male cabinets and supreme courts and juries and school boards and city councils and committees and etc, etc were the name of the game (without much dissent) until quite recently. Yet, when suggestions are made to make things all female, or all POC, people start screaming about racism and sexism. And, typically, it’s the same people who thought letting white males run the world was A-OK who cry “sexism!” or “racism!” when those in power begin to reflect the diversity of the world’s populace.

I have a real problem with these “reverse” ideas of -isms (such as reverse racism) as they discount the power dynamics and the institutionalized nature of socially sanctioned inequalities. In fact, I am of the camp that believes you cannot be “racist” against whites. You can be prejudice or discriminatory, but not racist.

"Post Racial Racism in the Post" (Derrick Muhammad @ Common Dreams)

As we come closer to the "post-racial age" of a Barack Obama presidency, I am intrigued to find that post-racial racism is already being propagated in the pages of the Washington Post. In "An Enduring Crisis for the Black Family," Kay Hymowitz blames the economic disfranchisement of African Americans upon the personal behavior of Black people and the silence of Black leaders concerning this behavior. Ms. Hymowitz portrays the massive national growth of single parent homes as a Black pathology. She uses the real challenge of the breakdown in the traditional family to further stereotype and lay blame on African Americans for racial inequality in this country.

As one who studies racial inequality and the African American condition in particular, I have often been told to ignore the studies that show there is still racial prejudice in employment, homeownership, and predatory lending, and to instead look at the rapid decline of two parent households for African Americans. In the report "40 Years Later: The Unrealized American," I looked at the decline of the two parent household for Blacks and whites and found some surprising results. Using data from the 2007 State of Our Unions report I discovered that the share of Black children living in a single parent home increased by 155% between 1960 to 2006. The share of white children living in single parent homes increased by 229% during this same time period. The white two-parent family has declined at a faster rate than the Black family. Yet, Ms. Hymowitz never once mentions that the increase of single parent Black families exist in a context of an even greater rate of increase in single parent white families. Ms. Hymowitz attacks Black leaders for not addressing this issue yet as a white woman she never sees fit to mention this issue as it relates to white Americans.

"Medal of Honor: The All-white War" (Gwen @ Sociological Images)

[On the covers of every eidtion of the Medal of Honor series of video games, the image] is that World War II was an all-White war (or that gamers will only identify with a White soldier).

It is true that during most of WWII, Black soldiers were segregated in their own units. Initially they were not allowed to fight on the front lines, but that policy changed. . . .

There were also 22 Asian American soldiers fighting for the U.S., according to this
New York Times article. Medals of Honor were belatedly awarded to several in 2000 (though at least some had received Medals at the time of the war, unlike African American soldiers). And the Department of Veteran’s Affairs estimates that up to half a million Hispanic soldiers served (the exact number is unknown because the government did not keep track of “Hispanic” ethnicity in the Armed Forces at that time). Finally, 44,000 American Indian soldiers joined the war effort (and according to the Department of Defense, that was out of a population of only 350,000 at the time).

Ok, so it’s a video game. Fine, whatever. It’s probably not a place to look for accurate depictions of anything. And of course there were more White soldiers in the war (though minorities were over-represented compared to their percentage of the overall U.S. population). But not even one non-White soldier on any of the covers? Really?

"The Broken Home: Napoleon Dynamite, Brady Bunch, and the Split-Level House" (Shane Waggoner @ Drinking Upstream)

I myself am the product of a generational culture for which the split-level house has served as the backdrop for recurring fantasies of attachment.

In the ‘seventies, ‘The Brady Bunch’ depicted two families sutured by the conciliatory space of the split-level house. It ‘was the story’ of the reconciliation of a sexualized rupture.

The force of the show was its hard-working symmetry – a woman and four girls paired up with a man and four boys, all with corresponding ages, tidily placed and positioned by narrative and physical space. The dropped den of their split-level house acted as a visual model of mended domesticity.

Book-ending my generational experience - in step with our commodity-culture’s habit of nostalgically recycling the past - was the indie hit, ‘Napoleon Dynamite’. Napoleon’s split-level ranch house staged another take on the attachment fantasy, consciously parodying the idealism of those earlier shows.

"In racially exclusive neighborhood, residents worried Bush will make it a 'target'" (Andrew McLemore @ The Raw Story)

[The] exclusive Dallas community the Bush family will soon join has a troubled history of its own.

Until 2000, the neighborhood association's covenant said only white people were allowed to live there, though an exception was made for servants.

Enacted in 1956, part of the original document reads: "Said property shall be used and occupied by white persons except those shall not prevent occupancy by domestic servants of different race or nationality in the employ of a tenant."

The entire covenant can be seen here [pdf].

"Aspiring to Whiteness" (Tanglad; h/t: Racialicious)

Filipinos can be quite forthcoming when talking about race. In news interviews in the Philippines and in Pinoy gatherings, many immigrant Pinoys have made it abundantly clear that their “discomfort” over Barack Obama is not due to the rumors that he’s an inexperienced, socialist, Muslim politician. Their discomfort is from Obama’s blackness.

Filipino Americans have long been proud of our ability to assimilate into American society. Decades of colonization helped ensure that Filipinos buy into the American Dream completely — minimal input from a government that back home is often corrupt, working hard to pull oneself up, and evidencing said hard work through conspicuous consumption.

But as writer Benjamin Pimentel points out, buying into the American Dream also includes embracing “the views of the dominant white society – including the prejudiced, distorted image of blacks.”

And finally, another installment in this blog's occasional series on dancing white people. Dance, white people, dance!

Charlie Chaplin
Gold Rush (1925)


  1. Greatness!! I love "white weekend links." Is it ok if I snag the "Yellow Rage" video for my blog?

    LOL...Charlie Chaplin. I have that saved on Youtube-- still funny as shit almost 100 years later.

  2. Of course, Lorraine, snag away! I snagged it from Renee's blog, and she snagged it from another--it's making the rounds.

  3. it doesn't matter that black folks created Blackbird. it's still messed up.

  4. pretty sure there were more than 22 Asian Americans fighting in WW2 for the US... the sentence in the article you're referring to seems to me to indicate that there were 22 Medal of Honor winners. Given that 1. there are provisions in the 1945 War Brides Act that allow Chinese American veterans to ignore the Chinese Exclusion Act and reunite with their families and
    2. there are still substantial claims by Filipino veterans of WWII to compensation from the US government (at the outbreak of the war, the Philippines was a US colony)

    I enjoy your blog! Keep it up!

  5. Salamat for the linklove, Macon D. And thanks for linking to the Yellow Rage video. Made my morning.

  6. lol everyone has to check this out. so true:

    love the site, macon.

  7. "Rakeem" (if that is your name, I often get whites who use black sounding names in order to escape repudiation or you could be a black person who has completely failed at learning and understanding the importance of building our own institutions and companies which has been detrimental to our progress)

    "it doesn't matter that black folks created Blackbird. it's still messed up."

    How, elaborate.

    Macon, great links as always.

  8. Oh how I miss Def Poetry Jam. I was very impressed with Yellow Rage. I love their passion.


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