In an interview with NPR, novelist and funnyman Paul Beatty discusses his novel The Sellout, and what’s on his mind when creating a world where plantation culture is reborn in California. The novel focuses on Bonbon, an African American man who reacts to the accidental shooting of his father by the LAPD by re-segregating his hometown and taking on a personal slave—an elderly man famous for his role in Little Rascals....more
Posts Tagged: Racism
Politics are not widely considered a legitimate source of amusement in Hollywood, where the borrowed rhetoric by which political ideas are reduced to choices between the good (equality is good) and the bad (genocide is bad) tends to make even the most casual political small talk resemble a rally.
Authors who worried the FBI might have been monitoring them were absolutely right, especially for Harlem Renaissance era authors. For more than half a century, the FBI kept tabs on black authors, tracking their movements and writing pages of reports critiquing their writing, reports the Guardian....more
When the grand juries failed to indict Darren Wilson or Daniel Pantaleo, they added to a lineage of injustices enacted against black people in America. Rumpus contributor Kaveh Akbar speaks to Claudia Rankine about her poetry collection Citizen, which explores the microaggressions supporting the system that let it happen:
I didn’t have a directive in the sense of raising consciousness.
Jacqueline Woodson responds to Daniel Handler’s racist watermelon joke at the National Book Awards with a moving and direct piece in the New York Times. She neither condemns nor forgives Handler, but instead focuses on her personal history with the watermelon joke, the positive direction of diversity in publishing, and her mission in writing:
This mission is what’s been passed down to me — to write stories that have been historically absent in this country’s body of literature, to create mirrors for the people who so rarely see themselves inside contemporary fiction, and windows for those who think we are no more than the stereotypes they’re so afraid of.
Daniel Handler’s (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket) recent racist joke at the National Book Awards exposed an uncomfortable truth about the American publishing industry: its overwhelming whiteness. For the industry to survive, it must embrace diversity. Over at the Guardian, Carole DeSanti points out that regardless of changes in the business of publishing, what matters is the content:
…any gains in the format and pricing wars are going to be wiped out if content is less and less relevant to the way people live, who we are, and what we aspire to be.
Comparing cognitive tests like the Duncker Candle Problem against views of racial essentialism reveals that racists lack certain problem solving skills, reports Hazlitt:
Creativity is fundamentally the ability to recombine old ideas, moving beyond preexisting categories in order to create things that are genuinely novel.
Ron Hogan, who runs the literary website Beatrice, wants to help change that by starting a new book-review column that intentionally focuses on the work of a diverse range of authors....more
At Slate, computer-science professor Philip Guo discusses an odd side effect of stereotypes about Asian men: when he was first learning to code, they actually worked in his favor.
Even when Guo was a novice, people gave him the benefit of the doubt, which allowed him the time to learn everything he needed to learn....more
Moving to the US as a person of color isn’t easy, even when you do everything completely above-board, come from a nation friendly with the US, and arrive with a respectable family in tow.
My iris is captured in a biometrics file with the U.S Immigration Service….My deep brown eyes, the eyes that have held the gaze of my beloved, the eyes that look like my mother’s, that my newborn sons searched for and struggled to focus on: these are now U.S territory.
This post by Soraya Chemaly looks at the numbers and finds that kid-lit books feature twice as many male protagonists as female ones (three times as many when the characters are animals), and about a bajillion more white protagonists than protagonists of any other race—and that’s just for 2012....more
I am well aware, for example, that voter suppression is a serious problem. If we’re going to consider degrees of magnitude, which is a masturbatory exercise at best, voter suppression is the more serious problem. Or is it?
For Salon, our essays editor Roxane Gay discusses the racism that permeates American culture in forms big and small....more
The paint was several layers thick, each new message or drawing layered on a chaotic background of the preceding scrawl….“It’s the chink hate wall,” he said. Kevin did not consider my Chinese ethnicity when he said this.
For Maisonneuve, Kimberley Fu writes about moving from the sanctuary of a color-blind high school where “our quarterback was Iranian one year, white the next, Japanese the year after that,” to the real world and its unexpected barrage of stereotypes and anti-Asian suspicion....more
In the latest installment of an Autostraddle feature described as “a biweekly devotional to whoever the fuck I’m into,” Carmen Rios throws a little love party for bell hooks.
Inspired by an eerily prescient hooks quote about “the white male home owner who made a mistake,” Rios ends her celebration of hooks’ legacy as a writer and activist with nine more “quotes that haven’t stopped ringing true.”...more
Not to overload anyone on political coverage, but Ta-Nehisi Coates’s reaction to the George Zimmerman trial is an absolute must-read.
In it, he looks at the actual legal text involved in the case and points out that what’s so deeply frightening about it isn’t that the verdict flouted the law; it’s that the law—and in many ways, the entire concept of American justice—is written to enable this kind of verdict....more
When there’s an injustice as great a man walking free after killing an unarmed teenager, at least we have writing to turn to.
Our essays editor Roxane Gay has done some of that writing for Salon in a piece about the George Zimmerman trial titled “Racism is every American’s problem.”An essay or an Op-Ed won’t solve anything,” she says....more
Clue: Post-Racial Edition. It was the black kid in the hoodie, with his cell phone, and “hostile” girlfriend....more
Texas State Senator (and now folk hero) Wendy Davis filibustered the bill for close to thirteen hours under the state legislature’s stringent rules: no sitting, leaning, drinking water, using the bathroom, or speaking about subjects not germane to the topic at hand....more
When the transcript of Food Network host Paula Deen’s trial for workplace harassment was leaked, the reaction was nearly universal: “Hoo boy, is that woman unbelievably racist!”
Or was there something else that bothered us about Deen’s behavior? In an incisive essay at Salon, Rumpus essays editor Roxane Gay argues that it wasn’t so much the racism that shocked us, but rather the breaking of social rules about disguising racism:
This entire debacle reveals that there are unspoken rules around racism.
In Charles Moore’s iconic black-and-white photograph, Coretta looks on stoically, lips parted, hands clasped in front as her husband, Martin Luther King, has his right arm bent behind his back by a police officer in a tall hat....more