Entries Tagged as 'Race'

A post-Charlottesville reading list

August 20, 2017

Here is the thing I want white liberals to know about Charlottesville: I highly doubt that most 2016 Republican/Trump voters are terribly upset about Nazis marching with torches, or that the past week has been any sort of tipping point for them. I would love to be wrong about this, but it seems pretty unlikely that if you voted for him/this party, that you’d suddenly be like, Oh, wow, these statues *do* need to come down, or that you’d actually see a difference between neo-Nazis and BLM (a LOT of white people think Black Lives Matter is a hate group! a lot!!!), or that you’d care if the POTUS said both sides had bad people — because you probably agree. And also, intimidation of or violence against black people (or the white people who care about us) actually…doesn’t…move…a lot of white people? I don’t think they really care what happens to us or care if a Nazi drives a car into a crowd of us, because they believe on some level that we deserve what we get if we don’t know our place. And that sucks! But, like, come on — most of those “nice” white Republicans (like the parents of all my friends growing up, and a not-insignificant amount of my college friends) or even the “nice” white people who “don’t do politics” aren’t actually bothered by any of this, or have honestly even thought that much about it at all. And if you think that I am wrong about this, please go read the comments from all the “nice” white ladies on this video of Heather Heyer’s mother on GMA

Onto the reading list…

White Feelings: 0-60 for Charlottesville, Erynn Brook.

White Liberals Still Don’t Understand White Supremacy, Harper’s Bazaar. “Racism doesn’t always look like the KKK marching hoodless in broad daylight. Racism also looks like white liberals getting angry at people of color who ask them to confront how they benefit from white supremacy and white privilege. It looks like white women telling me that I am being divisive by asking for an honest conversation about race and racism within feminist circles. It looks like tone-policing, emotional labor, objectification, fetishization, the white-savior complex, staying silent when you hear overt racism, saying nothing about working in a mostly white to all-white office, ignoring gentrification and the school-to-prison pipeline, loving The Help but hating Girls Trip.”

The Truth About Women and White Supremacy, The Cut. “Tyler spearheaded the Women of the Klu Klux Klan, the all-women, autonomous arm of the KKK that had roughly half-a-million members during the 1920s. As I wrote in a Timeline piece on the WKKK, the organization was savvier than its male counterpart because ‘they were better than the men’s group at hiding their white supremacist mission behind a facade of social welfare.’ The group helped to normalize the terrorism of the men’s KKK. Pamphlets from the time read, ‘Are you interested in the Welfare of our Nation? As an Enfranchised woman are you interested in better government?’ Through picnics, lunches, and cross burnings, these white women rallied around racist immigration laws, anti-miscegenation, and segregation.”

And some other “nice” white ladies.

The Many Lives of Hazel Bryan, Slate.

Love Needs Fury To Defeat Hate, Fader. “Neither is love inaction, silence, or complicity. Love does not stand down in the face of terror. Love does not demand silence in the face of injustice or submission in the face of oppression and its attendant brutalities. Real love proves more expansive and powerful than previously imagined when tested by the specter of death.”

For Our White Friends Desiring to Be Allies, Sojourners. “Privilege means that you owe a debt. You were born with it. You didn’t ask for it. And you didn’t pay for it either. No one is blaming you for having it. You are lovely, human, and amazing. Being a citizen of a society requires work from everyone within that society. It is up to you whether you choose to acknowledge the work that is yours to do. It is up to you whether you choose to pay this debt and how you choose to do so. Sometimes living with privilege can disillusion us into thinking that being in community with other humans doesn’t require work. This is a lie; it requires a great deal of work. And all of that work requires being a human and trying to love other humans well.” This quote will stick with me for a long time.

There Was Never Doubt Over What Trump Thought of Charlottesville, Salon. God, the number of “Why won’t he just denounce the neo-Nazis?” headlines this week was OUTRAGEOUS. WE KNOW WHY.

Is America Headed for a New Kind of Civil War?, The New Yorker. The article is less terrifying than the hed, FYI.

How Corey Long Fought White Supremacy With Fire, The Root.

Father of White Nationalist Denounces His Son After Charlottesville: He’s ‘Not Welcome at Family Gatherings Any Longer’, The Cut. TBH, I thought this was going to be kind of basic, but it’s legit.

Why the Charlottesville Marchers Were Obsessed With Jews, The Atlantic.

If you’re still sad about the removal of these statues, please read this thread about the origins of Confederate monuments, and just how worthless they are.

Speaking of statues, can y’all get this out of the goddamn Capitol?

“Condemning killing is the easiest thing. It does not take courage. It doesn’t mean one supports the advancement of civil rights or equality.” Read this thread from Hannah Nikole-Jones.

This episode of The Daily is great — legitimately so inspiring.

And here’s one link that’s just for my black and brown friends who are reading this.

I’ll post my regular links for the week later tonight.

Your post-election reading list

November 13, 2016

Art by Penelope Dullaghan for A Cup of Jo

This week was my first experience with mass, shared grief. And, as tragedies are wont to do, it all just happened so fast.

On Monday night, I wrote in my journal: Today felt like the last day of “Before.” God help us tomorrow. But Tuesday morning was bright and brisk, a perfect fall day. It felt like a happy, fancy, special occasion. By 8:15 a.m., I had voted and also cried three times. I took a bunch of “I voted” selfies that I never got around to posting. I knew it was going to be a long day, so I just tried to stay focused at work — put my head down, stay off Facebook, try not to worry, etc. That night, I watched the results come in at the BuzzFeed office. They produced the live show on the 13th floor, but I was on 12 with a group of about 20 people.

Just before 9 p.m., we heard a coworker become upset. It took a second for it to become clear what had happened, but then we learned that she had just seen Hillary’s “Whatever happens tonight, thank you for everything” tweet, and she felt like that meant she was giving up. Even though it was still early, a sense of dread rolled through the room like a wave and it never really left. A couple minutes later, Dallas texted me that she was worried. She hadn’t seen that tweet, but she was worried. And then, within a few minutes, I got texts from four other people. Every single one either said “I’m scared” or “I feel sick.” We weren’t all watching the same channel. No new states had been called. But within a five minute period, this shift happened and that was it.

Wednesday was awful for me, as I’m sure it was for most of you. One of the first things I saw when I woke up, after I saw that Trump had officially won, was the breakdown of the exit polls. And I just felt so betrayed. Getting out the door took so much effort. It was a cloudy day, but it also just seemed…dark. Like I wasn’t seeing the world in actual color. When I walked into the office, I saw my coworker Augusta first, and she hugged me for like five minutes and we just sobbed. We all cried pretty much all day. BuzzFeed had puppies brought in for us to play with, which was the nicest and BuzzFeediest thing they could have done.

And now it’s Sunday and the world is so different and I mostly feel numb and I don’t know what to say except I’m sorry and I hope you are all doing OK and starting to take steps to protect yourselves and those you love, and here are a lot of things for you to read.

Everyone should read…

Shattered, New York Magazine.

A Time for Refusal, The New York Times. “Evil settles into everyday life when people are unable or unwilling to recognize it. It makes its home among us when we are keen to minimize it or describe it as something else.”

An American Tragedy, The New Yorker.

This thread on taking care of yourself.

If you want to cry…

Mourning Trump and the America We Could Have Been, The New Yorker. “As psychologists note, after a death we mourn not only the deceased but also the version of ourselves we got to be with that person. What makes Clinton’s defeat unique, I think, is that we’re grieving for the nation we could have been, a nation some of us feel we are: a nation that elected a female President and rejected the rhetoric of nativism and fear that Donald Trump so casually embraced.”

Hillary Clinton’s Grace Is Yours, Jezebel.

Her Loss, The New York Times. “We, as a culture, do not take women seriously on a profound level. We do not believe women. We do not trust women. We do not like women. I understand that many men cannot see it, and plenty more do not care. I know that many men will read this and laugh, or become defensive, or call me hysterical, or worse, and that’s fine. I am used to it. It doesn’t make me wrong.”

The Day After The Election, I Told My Daughter The Truth, BuzzFeed.

The Pride and Privilege of Symbolic Voting, Jezebel.

My Plan For Making Peace With President-Elect Trump, GQ.

‘What Do I Say?’: Stories From the Classroom After Election Day, Jezebel.

And SNL‘s cold open.

If you want to laugh (and then probably cry)…

Every Way Jezebel Described Donald Trump During the Presidential Election, Jezebel.

19 Totally Real Conversations Obama And Biden Have Had Since The Election, BuzzFeed. “Joe.”

This fantastic Tumblr post, followed immediately by Donald Trump Doesn’t Like This Any More Than You Do on Deadspin.

15 People Who Just Need To Get Over Losing Already, BuzzFeed.

This guy calling out his sexist father on Facebook. Seth Meyers on Wednesday morning. This hed. This tweet and this one. And this absolutely perfect mashup.

If you want smart people saying smart things…

I’m a Coastal Elite From the Midwest: The Real Bubble is Rural America, Roll Call. “We, as a culture, have to stop infantilizing and deifying rural and white working-class Americans. Their experience is not more of a real American experience than anyone else’s, but when we say that it is, we give people a pass from seeing and understanding more of their country.”

How Trump Made Hate Intersectional, NY Mag.

White Won, Slate.

Heather Havrilesky on the way Midwesterners talk (or don’t talk) about race and culture. This thread is spot on.

Blaming political correctness for Trump is like blaming the civil rights movement for Jim Crow, The Guardian. “This week, I had to listen to supposedly reasonable, leftist men – not trolls this time – insist that Trump’s victory was at least partially a result of ‘divisiveness’ and ‘incivility’ and ‘political correctness gone too far’. This is the consequence of ‘confrontational movements’, one man told me on Twitter. There’s always a backlash. ‘Learn from this,’ he admonished. As though any social-justice movement in history got anywhere by asking politely and taking a seat. As though there was some magical moment in the semi-recent past when we’d reached a perfect stasis – no racism, no sexism and white dudes could still have a chill time – but those greedy feminists just had to keep pushing.” Thank you, Lindy West.

Facebook, I’m Begging You, Please Make Yourself Better, The Intercept.

There is no “person at the top” to fix everything.

Please Stop Saying Poor People Did This, Jezebel.

Siyanda Mohutsiwa’s thread on how white men are radicalized online.

6 Books to Help Understand Trump’s Win, The New York Times. (I bought The Unwinding and am starting it tonight — click the link in the NYT article to read a full review of it.)

How Trump Conned America, Slate.

Is This the Second Redemption?, The Atlantic.

I Will Never Underestimate White People’s Need To Preserve Whiteness Again, Very Smart Brothas.

America Elects a Bigot, The New York Times.

Emily Ellsworth on having your voice heard.

You have to watch Van Jones’ powerful message about the 2016 ‘whitelash’, Fusion. “We don’t want to feel that someone has been elected by throwing away some of us to appeal more deeply to others.”

President Trump’s First Term, The New Yorker. I read this a couple months ago…time for a re-read.

I’m Tired of Good White People, GQ.

The smug style in American liberalism, Vox. This is long and there is a LOT I disagree with (including the entire GWB section), but it has some good points and food for thought.

An Open Letter To Supposedly Pro-Choice, Pro-Same Sex Marriage, Non-Racist Trump Supporters, Wonkette.

27 Productive Things You Can Do If You’re Upset About The Election, BuzzFeed.

This thread on racism, this thread on “healing the divide,” this thread on the bullshit of the “real America” narrative, this reminder that “common ground” is a trap, this accurate summation of the Trump/Obama meeting, a reminder that it’s about men too, and #5 in this old post from Michael Moore, which perfectly sums up the politics so many straight white men I know.

Harry Reid’s statement. “We as a nation must find a way to move forward without consigning those who Trump has threatened to the shadows. Their fear is entirely rational, because Donald Trump has talked openly about doing terrible things to them. Every news piece that breathlessly obsesses over inauguration preparations compounds their fear by normalizing a man who has threatened to tear families apart, who has bragged about sexually assaulting women and who has directed crowds of thousands to intimidate reporters and assault African Americans. Their fear is legitimate and we must refuse to let it fall through the cracks between the fluff pieces.”

Why We Ignore the Obvious: The Psychology of Willful Blindness, Brain Pickings.

If you’re white…

What Whiteness Means in the Trump Era, The New York Times. “Conveniently, for most white Americans, being white has meant not having a racial identity. It means being and living and experiencing the world as an individual and not having to think about your race. It has meant being free of race. Some people are proud white nationalists, but probably not many of the millions who voted for Donald Trump. Thinking in terms of community would seem to be the job of black people. The Trump campaign has disrupted that easy freedom.”

Once Again, Black Women Did The Work White Women Refused To, Very Smart Brothas.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: What it means to be black during a Trump administration, The Washington Post. “Let the other groups denigrated and threatened by Trump speak for themselves. The women, immigrants, Muslims, Jews, the LGBT community and others who now must walk through the streets of their country for the next four years in shame and fear, knowing that their value as human beings has been diminished by their neighbors. I only speak for myself as an African American and I speak with the rage of betrayal.”

Stop Telling Me to Fight, Sojourners. “All of you who are going home for Thanksgiving need to make this year’s dinner a NAAWP (National Association for the Advancement of White People) meeting and decide that the ‘advancement’ portion of your organization’s name is finally going to mean that you are taking it upon yourselves to advance your beliefs and morals and, above all, your maturity. Because what we have in front of us — a Trump presidency — is ridiculous. It is so flat-out ridiculous and yet so real, and here’s an even bigger yet for you: You should have seen it coming.”

Hey White People: You Need To Start Doing The Ugly Work That Isn’t Safe For Us To, Feministing.

The Cinemax Theory of Racism, Whatever, Scalzi.

This reminder (from me) that if you’re white, and you’re silent, we really don’t actually know where you stand.

If you want a tiny bit of politics-free joy…

This tweet, this one, and this little baby fox.

If you’re pretty sure that this is how it all ends (and/or you want others to understand why you think that)…

Autocracy: Rules for Survival, The New York Review of Books. This takes a little while to get going, but keep reading.

Climate change may be escalating so fast it could be ‘game over’, scientists warn, Independent.

What to Expect Under a Trump Administration – Part One and Part Two, Leah McElrath.

Racist Messages Sent To Black UPenn Students Linked To Oklahoma Student, BuzzFeed.

A Running List Of Reported Racist Incidents After Donald Trump’s Victory, BuzzFeed.

One woman’s experience with the alt-right.

The forces that drove this election’s media failure are likely to get worse, Nieman Lab.

With Trump, Coal Wins, Planet Loses, The New Yorker.

Is this the end of the West as we know it?, The Washington Post.

The Mike Pence (Donald Trump) Assault On LGBTQ Equality Is Already Underway, The Huffington Post.

I’m a disabled American. Trump’s policies will be a disaster for people like me., Vox.

Trump’s conflicts of interest are without precedent in American presidential history, The Washington Post.

Trump’s Revenge, BuzzFeed.

Some extremely chill Breitbart heds, a GOP strategist reminding us to “stay vigilant,” actor Kumail Nanjiani being harassed in a bar, this fact, this reminder and this one what it’s like to be Jewish online right now, and a crash course in white nationalist symbols.

Oh, and this excerpt from The Handmaid’s Tale.

BuzzFeed: 17 Tips For Getting Dascha Polanco’s Pink Hair Color

July 9, 2015

 

A photo posted by SHEISDASH (@sheisdash) on

I interview Dascha’s fabulous stylist Cynthia Alvarez for this post. Read it here!

Let the record reflect: Charleston

June 21, 2015

I. Say Their Names

Rev. Depayne Middleton-Doctor

Sharonda Coleman-Singleton

Reverend Clementa Pinckney

Susie Jackson

Cynthia Hurd

Tywanza Sanders

Rev. Daniel L. Simmons

Myra Thompson

Ethel Lee Lance

Read their stories. Say their names.

II. Again

What happened in Charleston is so tragic, so heartbreaking, so…American. And so is the reaction to it.

When Elliot Rodger murdered six people and injured 14 others last year, I wrote:

Every time someone goes on a shooting spree, we ask why. And then this guy did us a favor and told us why! And the thing about the manifesto is that it is so. Damn. Articulate. Even though you might think someone so concerned with being an alpha male would attempt to come across as one in what is essentially his memoir, it actually reads as remarkably honest. He talks about his pain, his humiliation, and how he’d go home and cry out of frustration after seeing couples out together in public. He seems to own the fact that he wasn’t what he so desperately wanted to be (powerful) because he’s writing with the guns in his possession and his “Day of Retribution” planned. He’s comfortable talking about his own weaknesses, and his motivation is unbelievably clear. It’s also exactly what you’d think his motivation would be if you’ve ever witnessed a misogynist in action, or spent any time on an anti-PUA forum (something I do not recommend if you want to be able to get out of bed ever). So we don’t need to ask why because he told us why.

And yet. Even with the manifesto in front of us, there are still choruses of “This wasn’t about women!” and “But mental illness!” and “Neither guns nor misogyny kill people; people kill people!” and “Not all men are like that!” and “We’ll never really know why he did it” and “But…but…maybe he was gay?” YOU GUYS. DID YOU DO THE READING?

And so here we are again, watching people have the “Gee, I wonder what his motive is” conversation. Even though the alleged shooter targeted a historic black church, one that is a symbol of both resistance and sanctuary. Even though a witness said he straight-up said, “You’re raping our women and taking over our country.” Even though he’s been photographed wearing racist symbols, driving a car bearing racist symbols. Even though, like Rodger, he spelled it all out for us his manifesto. Even though. Even though. Even though.

III. Fear

A few weeks ago, my coworkers and I were on the subway, heading to drinks for one’s birthday. When we got on the train, we made that classic mistake of getting in the mostly-empty car. A few moments later, we heard a guy talking very loudly; at first we thought he was lecturing another rider, but then it became clear he was talking to himself. He was a white guy, appeared to be in his 50s or so, and looked a little shabby but still like he had a bed to sleep in at night. And he was racist.

If a single subway car is mostly-empty, there’s a reason for it.

At first we exchanged glances in that Ugh, NYC, oh no what have we done? way. But as our car rattled along the track, I moved further away from him. I wasn’t the only brown girl in our group, but I was the only black girl, and I didn’t want him to notice me. As we rolled up to the next stop, I said to the group — too lightly, too softly — “Shall we change cars?” No one heard me. As the train progressed to the next stop, he got louder. “Let’s change cars,” I said firmly and loudly as the train began to slow this time. When it comes to angry men ranting about their hatred for women and/or black people, I’m done waiting for someone else to make the first move, done talking myself out of being afraid. The truth is, I am afraid.

IV. Terrorism

Reading last night that the director of the FBI said he doesn’t think this act fits the definition of terrorism left me sputtering with rage.

“Speaking in Baltimore, Comey said his agency is investigating the murders as hate crimes, but that he does not believe they meet the legal criteria for terrorist acts.

‘Terrorism is act of violence done or threatened to in order to try to influence a public body or citizenry, so it’s more of a political act,’ he said.

‘Based on what I know so far I don’t see it as a political act. That doesn’t make it any less horrific… but terrorism has a definition under federal law,’ he said.

The official FBI definition of terrorism defines it as ‘the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.'”

Mr. Comey: Did you do the reading?

V. The manifesto

It’s disgusting, but it’s not shocking. Just your basic, run-of-the-mill racist stuff. Which is why I was afraid of the man on the train — because you just don’t know which ones are going to escalate.

VI. Community

VII. Further Reading

Our Racist History Isn’t Back to Haunt Us. It Never Left Us., The New Republic.

Charleston Shooting: Speaking the Unspeakable, Thinking the Unthinkable, Esquire.

No Quarter, No Sanctuary, No Succor, The New Republic.

The Deadly History of “They’re Raping Our Women”, Slate.

The Charleston shooter killed mostly black women. This wasn’t about ‘rape’, The Guardian.

Murders In Charleston, The New Yorker.

Shooters of color are called ‘terrorists’ and ‘thugs.’ Why are white shooters called ‘mentally ill’? The Washington Post.

Jon Stewart on his “profound sadness”

Why calling the Charleston shooting terrorism is important to so many people, Vox.

Hundreds Rally To Remove Confederate Flag From South Carolina Capitol Grounds, BuzzFeed.

Take Down the Confederate Flag—Now, The Atlantic.

BuzzFeed: Christian Louboutin Is Adding New Shades Of “Nude”

April 24, 2015

nude

Photo: Kat Irlin

Read more here.

BuzzFeed: This Dad Is Photographing His Daughter Dressed As Inspiring Black Women

March 11, 2015

This is SO CUTE.

Photo: Marc Bushelle

See all the pics here.

BuzzFeed: 24 Couples Who Honored Their History And Jumped The Broom

February 20, 2015

So much love in this post!

Photo: K van D Photography

See all the couples here.

BuzzFeed: These Women Re-Created Iconic Photos From Black History

February 13, 2015

The #WeAreBlackHistory series celebrates legendary black women.

black history

Photo: Jerome A. Shaw

See them all here.

BuzzFeed: 19 Vintage Photos That Celebrate Black Women’s Beauty

January 14, 2015

Photo by Charles “Teenie” Harris

See the rest on BuzzFeed.

Rooting in 2014

January 6, 2015

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in our apartment in a predominately black neighborhood, listening to Christmas jazz and reading the writing of Ida B. Wells. And I thought about my verb for 2014, and just felt so strongly that yes, I had lived my year with the “root” in mind.

Root: 1. to implant or establish deeply 2. to pull, tear, or dig up by the roots 3. to poke, pry, or search, as if to find something 4. to unearth; bring to light

The fact that this verb has two opposite meanings was part of why I chose it, and the tension between putting down roots and digging them out was present throughout my year, culminating in the decision to uproot my family to move to New York to really establish myself in my career. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was (or, at least, it appears to have been) the right one. And that job was due, in no small part, to a post I published that felt incredibly true to my roots.

While my professional obligations meant I couldn’t do as much writing about race in 2014 as I had hoped, I still feel proud of the work I did, the things I read, and the stories I shared. And I know that that won’t end in 2015. I also got back to my roots in the more literal sense (see ya later, weave!), I rooted for someone else (Wendy Davis, bless her), and I spent a ton of time learning about and photographing flowers (which I loved). And Eric and I made our new family tree official when we jumped the broom.

I also dug into a my dad’s script right at the end of the year (like, the very end, the day after I was listening to Christmas music and thinking about my verb). While there’s a lot more to come on that front, I can say that things started to happen in a really beautiful and mysterious way within 24 hours of thinking that that was the last big thing I needed to check off for 2014.

In 2014, I read more, I wrote more, I explored a lot of the cool/weird things I loved when I was younger, I wrote about the things I love earnestly, I had to start wearing my glasses again. In other words, I did and celebrated all the things that have always felt like the most me things, and I did them without really wondering or caring whether these things matched other people’s vision of me. I hadn’t really planned or expected to get in touch with my roots this way in 2014, or thought of roots as being about my own strength and confidence, but that was another way my verb shaped by year.

One of my favorite scenes in The Time Traveler’s Wife (one of my favorite books!) is the day of Henry and Claire’s wedding, when Henry realizes that he doesn’t look like he should in his wedding photo (which he’s already seen in the future), so he goes and gets his long hair cut short. The line about him seeing his new haircut says something like “and suddenly, I am the man of my future.” That’s how I felt repeatedly during 2014…it was the year when suddenly my past completely connected with my future.

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