Saturday, August 2, 2008

this week's white news and views

  • "Vogue: All White Now?" (Priyamvada Gopal @ The Guardian)

    By simultaneously marking blackness as "special" and yet ensuring conformity to dominant (white and European) ideas of sophistication and beauty, the "black issue" tells us a great deal about race and ethnicity in the media today. To be non-white is to be constantly relegated to a "special issue", while the regular edition remains determinedly white. . . .

    The real problem is less the absence of non-white faces from the media than the repeated underlining of "whiteness" as universally relevant even within the already "special" domain of women's interests. A quick survey of columnists writing on "women's issues" in the British media underscores this. Hardly any are non-white, while those that are will be invariably positioned as specialists on "multicultural", "Muslim" or "black" issues. Put simply, white people have ordinary lives and concerns while non-white people have "issues". "White" is content-free; everybody else is marked by their ethnicity.

  • "Does Your Region Determine Racism?" (Siditty: Angry & Black Since 1976)

    I know up on the east coast, there is a perception people in the south are all red necks, and we have not discovered central air and heat (is there a reason in every movie about the south, people are always sweating and drinking ice tea, even inside their own homes), but there is also a perception that whites down here are more racist, and then I think of thinks like Bensonhurst, Sean Bell, and Amadou Diallo. I know when I think of Florida, I never think of Miami, I always think of northern Florida with backwood rednecks. Or Mississippi, I always tend to think that the KKK is still out and about, even though I have no evidence of this. I think of Washington state as the white holy land, filled with neo nazis, but great coffee and lots of rain. Georgia I always think of Deliverance and the KKK.

    So I am curious, does region really affect racism, or does it affect the type of racism?

  • "Gen Y and the Colorblind Lie" (Saaret E. Yoseph @ The Root)

    "Are you serious?" he asked. And though I was, I couldn't help but notice the disbelief in his blue eyes, his pale face furrowed in confusion. I searched his expression for an inkling of empathy. There was none.

    "Why," he had to wonder, "can't I say the word 'nigga'?"

    Before you judge, consider the confusion, the people and the times. He, the semi-down white boy and me, the weary black chick restricting language deemed suitable by the three other black folks in the room. We are both products of our generation—Generation Y.

  • "Talking about Racism" (april del fuego's blog)

    Another thing missing from my experience growing up was the chance to hear diverse perspectives on news stories. I was in an all-white bubble, surrounded by people who, like me, had the unearned privilege of not hearing newscasts chock-full of negative stereotypes about us, and who had the choice of staying oblivious to the realities of the racism around and within us.

    I remember having moments of awareness, thinking things like, “Geez, every time they show a sketch of someone wanted by the police, its a black guy…surely that’s not right!” But those moments were just blips on the radar. Most of the time I lived in oblivion, like all the other white people around me.

    So, back to the news story. Basically its about a young black athlete, Cedric Benson, who was boating on Lake Travis and got hassled by the police. . .

  • "Can White Journalists Judge McCain Effectively?" (A. Serwer @ Tapped)

    [A]n AP reporter asks this important question in a write-up of Obama's speech at the recent UNITY conference: "Can minority journalists resist applauding Obama?" Well, no, because they simply lack the same ability to make decisions based on factors other than race, which, history has shown, is a quality only white people are born with. . . .

    In all seriousness, it would be a great improvement if people recognized that white journalists have as much of a particular cultural and racial perspective as journalists who aren't white.

  • "Beyond the Pale" (book review: Christian Lander's Stuff White People Like and Stephen Hunt’s The White Guy: A Field Guide, by Denise Balkissoon @ CBC News)

    Each book suggests that its white male author is waking up to the historical context of being white and male, and trying to work out the baggage of his historical dominance. Since the current cultural mood is satirical, neither book adopts a serious tone: Lander and Hunt take their journeys through whiteness with tongues lodged in cheek.

    While the irony is initially amusing, the end result is that neither book digs deeply or truly enough into either author’s psyche to be meaningful.

  • "A Question of Wealth" (Andrew Sullivan @ the

    A few years ago, my parents were going through a property dispute and had to dig out the deed of my childhood house, part of a California development constructed in the '40s. Unbeknownst to us, the original deed stipulated that blacks couldn't buy the house. While this law is now null, the neighborhood remains exceedingly white partially because of these former restrictions. The segregation of the neighborhood undoubtedly drove up property values, and through there is no longer a racial barrier to owning a house in such neighborhoods, the economic barriers (created in part by former racial barriers) help to maintain inequality and de facto segregation.

  • "NASCAR's Diversity Drive: Smoke and Mirrors" (the Editors of DiversityInc)

    NASCAR says it has 75 million fans and that 8.6 percent are Black and 8.9 percent are Latino, according to Scarborough USA research. NASCAR has had great difficulty producing successful Black or female drivers and, according to an article on, it lags behind other racing series. NASCAR admits that it is the "whitest sport in the country" but says it is developing non-white talent.

    "From talking to many in the African-American community and even to white females, many say they see [NASCAR's programs] as window dressing. They're not really and honestly attacking the issue of diversity and inclusion," said Wayne Clapp, founder and executive director of the Association for Diversity in Motorsports and a member of NASCAR's Diversity Council. . .

  • "The Whitest Place in the Universe" (Jude @ First Draft)

    A couple of days ago, I saw a recumbent bicycle. Okay, that's pretty white, but not that remarkable.

    Hold on. There's more.

    It was a tandem recumbent bicycle. Now we're breaking new ground.

    But wait! It continues.

    The two, mid-fifty-ish people on this extremely honkified contraption had headset radios for communicating with each other.

    Now, my friends, we have broken through to a whiteness that is whiter than pure, unrefracted light. Space and time were warped by this dazzling whiteness. Dogs howled. Birds fell out of the sky. Parents shielded their children from the intense, burning whiteness. The very stars were moved from their courses. I believe, as I stood there, that I could hear God weeping.

1 comment:

  1. I'm curious about your thoughts on Andrew Sullivan because in my experience he's pretty fucked up. Have you read, for example, what Richard Goldstein wrote about him in 'The Attack Queers' a few years ago?


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