Posts Tagged: race
Race is an important and central issue in the United States, but what about abroad?
It appears that both the United States and the United Kingdom are witnessing one of those moments when we confront what Toni Morrison said in an early interview about Beloved (1987), ‘something that the characters don’t want to remember, I don’t want to remember, black people don’t want to remember, white people don’t want to remember.
As much as we cherish the books from our childhood, there is no denying that some of the stories are just a little (or a lot) racist. But how do we reconcile this truth?
They were the feckless prisoners of their times, and much as we’d like for people in the past to share our enlightenment, especially people we otherwise admire, it’s just not going to happen in an unfortunate number of cases.
Man Booker prize-winner Marlon James was right: the people who work in publishing are overwhelmingly white and female. New data shows that publishing executives, editors, and the staff behind books are predominantly white women:
At the executive level, publishing is 86 percent white, 59 percent female, 89 percent “straight/heterosexual,” and 96 percent normatively-abled.
Did Du Bois and the Atlanta School have a distinct standpoint? Of course…. But white privileged departments of Sociology also had their distinct standpoint. And theirs was the standpoint of imperial power.
In the Berkeley Journal of Sociology, Julian Go reviews a new history of sociology (Aldon Morris’s The Scholar Denied) and the systematic dismissal of black scholars’ scientific discoveries, starting with W.E.B....more
An actress of color is predicted to play Nancy Drew in the upcoming CBS adaptation of Nancy Drew. At the Atlantic, Lenika Cruz reflects on this decision:
The announcement will do little to quell fears that the future of entertainment will primarily be reboots, sequels, origin stories, prequels, and remakes; dooming audiences to year after year of studios excavating material from the past and trying to make it all feel new again.
Florence Okoye, the founder of Afro Futures_UK, will be guest curator for an Afrofuturism-themed month at How We Get to Next. To kick off the collection, Okoye offers a long look into the abundance of futurist ideas and imagery, and the impact of social technology, in black culture:
Indeed, one of the best things about the movement is being able to dream of a truly intersectional future between any number of social identities… Afrofuturism is not just a genre— it’s a way to reframe science, history, technology, and religion, as well as race and society.
Why do black characters, in particular, black women of color, have to have some curated, Huxtable-like experience? Why can’t black women, like every other human on earth, be sexual, nerdy, outrageous, or flawed? Why aren’t we allowed to share our stories of affairs, unrequited love, career failures and sexual diversity on camera?
There are assuredly very complex reasons for why and how this phenomenon of gentrification plays out in Atlanta and in general. But one has to wonder what it means for the vibrancy of Black culture which resides in these cities and in Atlanta.
First, Brandon Hicks allows us a peek into psychological disorders of the animal kingdom, the most elite bars in the world, and more in “Just Some Jokes.”...more
It’s daunting knowing that you will be the only one of your kind at some of these events. When you’ve been made to feel your otherness so concretely in the past, it’s hard not to notice it. I can’t help but feel out of place, even if it’s only for a moment.
One of the things I run into surprisingly often is people saying to me, ‘I’ve never heard of you before’… Yet I’ve been publishing in ‘mainstream’ journals and my book won [the Pulitzer] prize, so what is it that is making me invisible?
Elissa Nadworny at NPR’s Education Team interviews a researcher and former teacher, Travis Bristol, on the decline of black men in the teaching profession. Bristol’s research discovered that, in several cities, the overall number of black teachers had fallen and the largest loss was among black male teachers....more
From Alice Walker:
Standing there knocking on Flannery O’Connor’s door, I do not think of her illness; her magnificent work in spite of it; I think: It all comes back to houses.
Of all the preserved writers’ houses of the world, there are only four belonging to people of color that are open to the public....more
At Notches, a peer-reviewed blog on history and sexuality, Robert J. Gamble explores the figure of the 19th century female huckster as well as the middle-class anxieties that slandered and vilified them....more
In a short interview with the Los Angeles Times, Junot Diaz discusses how he chooses what works to read at events, some books he’s reading now and loving, and America’s uncanny ability to erase racial struggle from its collective mind:
I think that we’re in another moment where historically, periodically issues of race and the kind of panorama in which we live becomes more clear and comes into focus.
A must-read profile of Sesshu Foster, unofficial poet laureate of East Los Angeles, steadfast advocate of racial equity, eloquent witness to the changes of gentrification, full-time school teacher, and arguable embodiment of the vibrant tangle of roots that comprises modern Los Angelean culture:
In any other city, and in any neighborhood besides East L.A., it’s unlikely that a half-Japanese, half-Anglo poet would be so enmeshed in Chicano cultural production.
I’m pretty good / at not loving / anything enough / to fear its ruin. / The cruel speed / of our guaranteed / obsolescence suits / me. This way / I get to be / at least one / of my favorite / versions of myself / every other week: / brooding philosopher, / race man, public apology / connoisseur…
In the latest release from Wave Composition, three brilliant poems by Joshua Bennett, drawn from the experience of our contemporary racialized American world....more
In the existing ways that our fashion, speech and music are ripped from our bodies and plastered as spectacle, this otherwise radical platform becomes a tool of injustice and control. This is the shortcoming of inviting the white gaze. While many see visibility as a step toward progress, when we open our cultural products to folks with no access, their cultural power is cheapened.
Vann R. Newkirk II (@fivefifths) writes for Seven Scribes on the experience of discovering novels by black writers to act as a necessary complement to reading Harper Lee’s reductive portrayals of race in Mockingbird and Watchman:
These books, this canon, represented the exact opposite of what To Kill a Mockingbird meant.
For Electric Literature, Adalena Kavanagh has a conversation with poet Elisa Gabbert on Google Chat about how to advise white male writers to publish ethically. Their conversation also explores topics related to power structures in the publishing industry, and the implications of white authors writing from the perspective of a different race:
There is a long tradition of male novelists writing female characters, and that doesn’t feel *necessarily* problematic to me.
At BuzzFeed, Mat Johnson breaks down the logistics of an oft-ignored, always tumultuous descriptor for multiethnic folks everywhere:
I know that many people, they hear mulatto, and they think of the word mule. This is often the first complaint I hear about mulatto: that it derives from the hybrid product of breeding a donkey with a horse.