This Week in Diversity: American Geography

Oh, Arizona. Why are so many things happening in your beautiful state lately that give us reason to talk about you in these roundups? This time around, it’s a mural featuring the faces of local schoolchildren—but the schoolchildren are a diverse crowd, the mural was drawing racist slurs, and the school’s principal asked for a prominent Latino face to be lightened on the mural. He’s since reversed the decision, and the mural will stay. The Atlantic Wire has a good summary of the situation and the response to it.

The repercussions of Arizona’s anti-immigration law are still rippling outward. RaceWire elaborates with a look at the disappearing schoolchildren, as parents, particularly illegal immigrants, are keeping their kids—often natural-born citizens themselves—at home to protect the family.

Moving from the southwest to the southeast, The New York Times takes a look at jury selection in the south, and concludes that blacks are consistently barred from serving on juries. The racism behind this is disturbing enough, but it gets worse—studies have shown that “racially diverse juries deliberate longer, consider a wider variety of perspectives and make fewer factual errors than all-white juries.”

Much of the Gulf Coast is being hit hard by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, but Cambodian and Vietnamese fishermen on the Louisiana coast, still recovering from Katrina’s damage, have been hit particularly hard, and the language barrier—many are not fluent English speakers—makes recovery harder.

Nationwide, there remain very few successful black politicians—Barack Obama aside, of course. There are only three—three!—African Americans holding major statewide offices now, and that number is likely to drop even further, with the possibility of not a single black governor or senator next year.

In sports, despite the legacy of Jackie Robinson and other African American baseball greats, the number of American-born black players in major league baseball has been dropping, and that trend starts young—many black boys who play baseball are pressured to switch to football or basketball when they reach middle school. The Times looks into the trend, and profiles a player who’s stuck with baseball anyway.

A pair of posts sheds some light on interracial dating. First there was a piece offering advice for non-South Asian people who want to date Indians. It’s a really problematic piece, stereotyping Indians as a model minority and recommending nothing short of cultural appropriation for wooing them. Luckily, Feministing has a rebuttal: simple guidelines for determining if you’re dating a racist.

Lastly, Racialicious has a great piece on reading literature of color, what authors bring to their work, and how readers should approach any piece of writing (as the person that you are.)

Read something that might belong in the next roundup? Drop us a line at web[at]leeandlow[dot]com.

4 thoughts on “This Week in Diversity: American Geography”

  1. What an interesting post. You add new dimensions to topics I thought I new something about! So, I’ll just be quiet and go read your links!

    1. Thanks for the interest, Teresa! It takes several years to produce a high-quality picture book, so it’ll be a while before we have anything to offer you, but it’s great to keep reminding us that there’s a need for us to fill!

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