Allison Meier writes for Hyperallergic on the hand-drawn, recently digitized data visualizations produced by W. E. B. DuBois (in collaboration with others) to demonstrate the size and scope of black life in America at the turn of the 20th century. These sociological charts cover population percentages, property ownership, chosen fields of study and professions by black people leading up to Paris’s Exposition Universelle of 1900....more
Posts Tagged: race
There’s a tendency to take writers who write about race and shuffle them into a genre, into a predetermined conversation, whether they wanted to be there or not. But even if the constraints of the game are rigged, what Jenny Zhang, Tanwi Nandini Islam, and Karan Mahajan have to say cuts through the BS pretty quickly:
It’s a real detriment to the quality of these spaces when they end up being dominated by white folks.
Despite its uncanny salience in the context of this most recent wave of social injustice and protest, Paul Beatty’s The Sellout was written well before the #BlackLivesMatter movement began. Far from a coincidence, the book’s resonance is a product of the same paradox of time it describes, in which dated social conditions cannot possibly continue to exist, yet do:
All of the characters, regardless of how completely absurd they seem, are reacting to living in a time in which Beatty also resides; one in which he is daring to call something “‘Racism’ in a post-racial world.”
One of the world’s most read and beloved poets since the 13th century, and an immensely important artistic, academic, and spiritual figure in the Muslim community, is getting his own movie. So who is going to take on the leading role of Rumi, whose poems about love, faith, and spirituality have guided generations?...more
Over at Catapult, Kashana Cauley explores the origins of the Midwestern accent and discovers its roots in racial segregation:
Apparently it wasn’t enough for GLVS [Great Lakes Vowel Shift] speakers to move very far away from minorities in order to avoid us: They desperately needed to adopt a nasal accent to make sure they didn’t resemble us in any way.
Hey! We’re white! And we all voted for Obama! Twice! We should do something to help the literary downtrodden.
American literature is already frustrating enough with publishing sorely lacking in diversity. But things can be even worse when the white-dominated industry tries too hard to appeal to writers of color....more
Brooklyn Magazine’s Gina Florio poignantly discusses the pain of experiencing microaggressions from her own extended family, and “mastering [her] biracial identity:”
I know we’ll eventually find ourselves in another similar situation, in which they’ll hurt me without trying to, marginalize me without realizing it.
It seems counterintuitive that technology could facilitate these kinds of humanistic affirmations. That the voices of the oppressed could find not just a home, but an incredibly powerful platform, online. Yet, here we are reaching out, speaking out, and asserting our humanity in ways that could imperil our very lives, offline.
“The guys with the biggest mouths are always the most fragile.”
–Donald Trump, at a rally in New Orleans, March 4th 2016
Leaving the airplane hangar, thousands of Trump 2016 signs sandwiched under the arms of red, white, and blue t-shirts and American flag windbreakers, I find myself unlucky enough to be walking behind a trio of white, middle-aged men back to the distant parking lot....more
The problem, however, lies in the fact that, whenever these labels are internalized by those in positions of power, they flatten a writer’s experiences. They shrink someone to just a sliver of his or her identity.
Brandon Tensley writes for Pacific Standard on the limited roles available for writers of color....more
As part of a series on diversity in publishing at Brooklyn Magazine, Molly McArdle talks with professionals across the publishing world about the state of diversity in the publishing industry today....more
For Lenny Letter, Doreen St. Félix writes on the legacy of Phillis Wheatley, the first black poet to have her work published in America:
In her second life, Wheatley’s poetry—and the imagined determination it took to create it, to appropriate the language of white imperialism for her personal truth—has become a founding myth, of a newer black-female canon.
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.