Perhaps April is
Trying to write
Rhymes and rhythms
Yesterday, today—Poetry Month!
Only one more week of Poetry Month—enjoy it! (And yes, that means only one more week of reading my terrible attempts at poetry.)
New York Times columnist Charles Blow starts us off with his experience as a black man at a Tea Party rally.
Starting off with some despiriting news: in the wake of the Health Care Reform debate, several black congressmen, including John Lewis, have been called racial slurs and one was even spat on by protesters.
At Love Isn’t Enough, there’s a great piece on DNA and identity. It adds another layer to the discussions on being biracial and multiracial we’ve been having, because it looks at how little we know about our own personal genetic and racial makeup, but how much we know about our own personal cultural makeup.
For your watching pleasure, Colbert’s best comments on race collected in one four-minute clip:
In response to a growing interest in foreign language books from parents and kids alike, Amazon.com announced an update to their digital reader—the Kindle—that would allow three new languages into their growing digital library. In a February 19th announcement, Amazon unveiled an update to the Kindle text platform, allowing Spanish, Portuguese and Italian authors to upload and sell digital versions of their books over the internet.
Continuing last week’s conversation on being biracial or multiracial—in a video and link to an essay about census—we have a video looking back to the 2008 presidential campaign and a group of multiracial students at Rutgers:
Yesterday we posted a video on the frustrations of biracial people being put into little boxes. Taking a very different view is Michele Elam, with a thought-provoking article about the pitfalls of “mark one or more races” on the census.
On her blog, author Shannon Hale takes a look at the lack of girls in children’s movies, the limited roles they play, and an appeal to parents: take your sons to movies with girl heroes. The same goes for books and the same goes for other types of diversity: give the children you know books with heroes who don’t look like them.
Recently I was in Hawaii on vacation and one of the things I noticed right away was how Asians are the majority of the people living there. In the city of Honolulu on Oahu, street signs are in English and Japanese. Generally rice, and even miso soup, are served with all meals, including breakfast. I learned from attending a luau that immigrants from Japan, China, and the Philippines make up a big part of Hawaii’s cultural diversity. When I got back home, a quick web search revealed that Hawaii is the only state in the United States where whites are not the majority of the population.
These children, honestly answering questions about race and racism, illuminate some of the problems we have talking about race in America. We know that children as young as 6 months old respond to skin color, so when the kids at the beginning of the video don’t know the words race, ethnicity, or racism, that’s a problem: they don’t know how to address their own reactions and experiences. They’re not having the conversations they need to understand the complicated culture in which they live.
I LOVE the Olympics. I’ve spent many (er, too many) hours over the past week mesmerized by ice dancing, ski cross, super-giant slolom, half pipe. . . these athletes make it look like somebody literally turned off gravity in Vancouver for the week and the laws of physics no longer apply.
Still, it’s hard not to notice how white the US Olympic Team is. If this is a team sent to represent one of the most diverse countries in the world, well, it doesn’t look all that representative. Take a look at this year’s 218 Team USA members and you’ll see what I mean. I could count the number of African Americans on one hand. Out of 218! What about Latinos, Asian Americans? Some…but not that many.
This week we’re starting close to home: from the New York Times, an article on the lack of diversity at top New York City Schools—and a reminder that a lack of diversity doesn’t mean that everyone is white.
A long but very interesting paper looks at the role parents’ English ability plays in the juvenile justice system.