Posts Tagged: Racism

Outrage Laced With Vulnerability

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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.

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Mirrors and Windows

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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.

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Diversity Matters

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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.

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Racists Are Less Creative

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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.

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A Book Review Column That Isn’t All About White Men

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As VIDA’s annual stats have made very clear, most publications favor male writers reviewing books by other male writers.

Our inimitable essays editor Roxane Gay has also talked about the lack of representation of writers of color in many publications.

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.

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“I Am an Alien”

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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.

Toni Nealie discusses her experience coming to America from New Zealand in an essay for Guernica:

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.

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Children’s Books Still Dominated by White Boys

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We’ve blogged before about the issue of representation in children’s and young-adult literature.

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.

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On Realizing You’re Not White

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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.

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“bell hooks’ Feminism Is My Feminism”

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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.”

Read it!

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Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Brilliant Take on the Zimmerman Verdict

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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.

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Staving-off-Despair Roundup

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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.

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Victories for Pro-Choicers, Gay Marriage; Defeat for Voting Rights

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As you’re probably aware, we’ve been covering Texas’s grotesque anti-abortion bill SB5, and we’re overjoyed to report it did not pass.

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.

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The Real Reason We’re Shocked About Paula Deen

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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.

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A Very Non-Accidental Response to Brad Paisley

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You may have noticed one or two jokes about Brad Paisley and LL Cool J’s collaboration “Accidental Racist,” partially because of every aspect of the song, but mainly because of every aspect of the song.

But Ta-Nehisi Coates puts humor aside for his response in the Atlantic, choosing instead to “seriously and directly engag[e] Brad Paisley and his stated motives for the song.” And he does it really well:

“Booming System” is dope.

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