Sunday, February 1, 2009

white weekend links

"N.J. Mayor Steps Down Claiming Racism" (MSNBC)

It's a sad day for Charles Tyson and it's a shameful day for the state of race relations in our country. Tyson is stepping down from his post as Mayor of South Harrison Township in New Jersey. He says the death threats and racist vandalism he and his family have endured are not worth it anymore. . . .

Not long after being elected two years ago, Tyson said he received emails and phone calls warning him that he was being watched and calling him a “dead man.” No arrests were ever made in relation to those threats. Investigators said whoever made the calls used disposable phones.

Tyson also had his tires slashed and a sign on his lawn bedecked with “KKK.”

"RIGGING THE RACE: Stop With the Race Orders, Already!" (Davita Cuttita @ pregnant drug-dealing prostitutes)

There are a few things I really don’t get—no, a few things that really confuse me when having a discussion about racism or slavery with certain White people.

They get nervous. Why?

Typically, that same White person has the argument of “Well, I, personally didn’t do ANYTHING wrong! All those slavery supporters are dead; it has nothing to do with me!”

Yeah, OK. I agree with most of the above statement but then I usually have to point out a few things before we continue with our conversation . . .

"Researchers Try to Cure Racism" (Brandon Keim@ Wired)

As the first African-American president in United States history takes office, researchers have shown that it may be possible to scientifically reduce racial bias.

After being trained to distinguish between similar black male faces, Caucasian test subjects showed greater racial tolerance on a test designed to to measure unconscious bias.

The results are still preliminary, have yet to be replicated, and the real-world effects of reducing bias in a controlled laboratory setting are not clear. But for all those caveats, the findings add to a growing body of research suggesting that science can battle racism.

"Any time you can get people to treat people as individuals, you reduce the effect of stereotypes," said Brown University cognitive scientist Michael Tarr. "It won't solve racism, but it could have profound real-world effects."

"The 'Obama Effect,' and Holding Blacks to Higher Standards" (Mary Sanchez @ Midwest Voices)

Researchers from three major universities have released preliminary findings of a study that suggests that Obama’s rise to the presidency has already improved the abilities of black test-takers.

The joint study by Vanderbilt, San Diego State and Northwestern tested the verbal abilities of black and white people at various points during the presidential campaign, culminating in an exam after he was elected.

The study is a fascinating look at the ability of a powerful role model to affect performance. Before Obama’s nomination as the Democratic candidate, black test-takers scored substantially lower than their white counterparts, but after Election Day they effectively closed the performance gap.

As impressive as that is, another important Obama Effect is occurring as well, though less studied. As Obama was sworn into office, a huge chunk of the national patience with the grievances of race just dried up. You hear the sentiment sometimes in hushed tones, sometimes stated outright: “If he can do it, what’s wrong with the rest of you?”

African Americans now sense they will be held to higher standards. As one black elected official put it to me bluntly: “Black people know we have no more excuses. We cannot fail.”

Obama’s image for white America is that powerful. He confirms a belief many Americans hold dear: that personal initiative does more to determine a person’s life chances than do the effects of racism.

"The Future of U.S. Race Relations: Are We Starting to Think Like Brazilians?" (Erik Loomis @ Alterdestiny)

[Of} course race still matters in this country. A lot. The rise in people denying this seemingly obvious fact begs the question: Are we beginning to copy the Brazilian model of race? I really think the answer might be a qualified yes. . . .

Basically, most Brazilians deny that racism exists in their society. They point to never having a system of legalized segregation, as opposed to the United States, the ability of individual people of African descent to rise to positions of power, and the interracial mixing of the population as reasons none of this matters. While all these points have merit, it serves to obscure the severe racial problems in Brazil that extend back to slavery. The darker you are, the higher the chance that you are poor, live in a favela, experience police brutality, have limited opportunities for education, economic advancement, and access to health care. . . .

Essentially, Brazil is a society with massive racial problems and a total unwillingness to admit that any of those problems have anything to do with race at all.

"Asian Teen Has Sweaty Middle-Aged-Man Fetish" (The Onion)

AOMORI, JAPAN—At first glance, 17-year-old Misaki Nakajima seems like any other shy and submissive Japanese schoolgirl. She loves shopping, text messaging, and the color pink. But beneath her wholesome exterior lies a wicked secret: Misaki Nakajima is consumed by sexual fantasies involving sweaty, middle-aged American men.

"I can't explain it," said Nakajima, dressed in a pleated miniskirt and pure white knee socks. "There's just something about American men who are at least twice my age and nearly three times my body weight that totally drives me wild."

Added Nakajima, "They're so hot."

Though she finds all pasty, middle-aged men intoxicating, Nakajima said balding Midwesterners who carry most of their weight in their stomach particularly turn her on. According to the sexually inquisitive teen, she often daydreams about sleeping with a 43-year-old divorcé with poor hygiene habits.


  1. That Onion article qualifies as hipster racism.
    It still boggles my mind that white people have to be trained that all black people don't look alike. Africa is probably the most genetically diverse continent. That plus the fact that most slave descendants are multiracial explains the great amount of variety in looks of blacks in America. Jamie Foxx and Chris Brown are both tall black men with freckles yet they look nothing alike. Back when I used to read woman's magazines I noticed that they'd give makeup tips for 4 shades of white women then have one nonwhite woman who was supposed to represent all of us. SERIOUSLY?

    It drives me nuts to hear a suspect described as a black male, wtf does that mean? Was he yellow or brown or red-brown, or blue black or cafe latte? Did he have a small round nose or a long pointy nose or almond eyes or small eyes was his hair brown or black or the occasionally light brown/blonde, was he skinny or fat or short, what did he really look like? Even if their lives depended on it they still could not see what black people really look like.

  2. Of course all black people do not look alike. Nor do Asians, Mexicans, whites, or any other ethinic group. Yet, every single one of those groups will have a pre-determined impression of the other ethinic group. Ask the general Asian, or Mexican and they will probably say that all whites look alike to them. Especially if you are just going by facial decriptions. What makes it easier to distinguish different whites is the wide variety of hair types, styles and colors that are available to them. The lighter skin also makes it much easier to identify blemishes that might not be as easily noticable on darker skin.
    Many of these other races are genetically pre-disposed to dark hair. That is one of the blanket charictaristics that makes it difficult to identify a "suspect". My point, is that it is not wrong, nor racist for police to be "trained" to look for the more subtle differences in a black persons face, or anyone's face for that matter. It is the responsible thing to do on the part of the police.
    In times of extreme stress, with the adrenaline pumping, it is very difficult for anyone, of any race, to pick out specific details in an antagonists' face without proper training.

  3. What does the Japanese girl having a fetish for middle aged white men have anything to do with the other articles?

  4. they aren't training cops they did the testing on college students, did you even read the article? how are college students in some classroom or lab in emotional duress?

  5. Anonymous, consider the source, The Onion, which often publishes fake news articles that function as satire. I'll leave it to you to figure out the (largely white) object of satire in this fake bit of "news."

  6. Honestly, I was responding to your post about white people needing training and the generic "black male" description you were lamenting, not the article itself. After reading it however, I still affirm that virtually all ethnic groups have pre-conceived notions of other ethnic groups physical attributes. Although cops may not be being trained in this fashion as yet, they are trained to look for details that most of us would not readily pick up on. I think, if this study continues to hold true to it's early findings, that it would not be a huge stretch for it to be implemented with current police training for a more aware and tolerant police force.

  7. >Anonymous, consider the source, The Onion, which often publishes fake news articles that function as satire. I'll leave it to you to figure out the (largely white) object of satire in this fake bit of "news."

    what was your reason to post it?

  8. jw, I posted it because I thought it would interest some of my readers. I also think that the object of satire is worthy of, at the very least, satiric derision.

  9. I see, so the whole purpose was to show how the white men are being objectiflied or is it the fact that it's a reverse of fetish?

  10. Anonymous, to spell out how I read it, the whole purpose is to reverse the exotifying fetish that a lot of older white guys have for young Asian women, thereby showing how grotesque it is, and how unlikely it is that the sexual and/or romantic interest is ever mutual. That's how I read it; there may well be other ways.


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