Some interesting essays round the blogosphere this week touching on all kinds of diversity—race and more!
Cynic’s blogging for Ta-Nehisi Coates, and he has a really interesting look at the progression of ethnic groups through his neighborhood: first the Irish, then the Jews, now the African Americans. Each group starts as outsiders, whom the insiders swear never to accept, so they create their own institutions and maintain their culture but eventually assimilate, spread out and leave the enclave available for the next group of outsiders—and with the vibrant African American community there now, he wonders, what comes next for them?
An old but good video this week, featuring a teacher who split classes—here a group of corrections officers being trained—into brown eyes and blue eyes and used that as the basis for (temporary) discrimination:
Diversity means more than meeting the status quo in the workplace. It means more than blindly complying with societal norms. It means more than a 2 hour seminar in your office’s conference room. Luckily, there are individuals out there who realize this is a much bigger project.
“Race: Are we so different?” is a traveling exhibition developed by the American Anthropological Association. The exhibit examines racial issues through three different lenses: history, science, and lived experiences. “Race: Are we so different?” utilizes interactive components, historical artifacts, iconic objects, photography, and a wide range of multimedia displays to open the American public’s eyes about this important subject. The exhibit is typically open for a few months in each location. Here is a list of the upcoming dates:
Well, it’s HOT, and it seems like the urge to stay out of the heat has led to lots of thoughtful conversations around the web this week.
We begin with a new take on To Kill a Mockingbird, the classic by Harper Lee that celebrated its 50th Anniversary just this week. While it’s been taught for years as the quintessential anti-racism novel, Stuff White People Do has a fascinating argument for why the book can also be read as racist. Among the arguments: “The novel reduces black people to passive, humble victims, thereby ignoring the realities of black agency and resistance.” Even if you’ve got a deep love for To Kill a Mockingbird, it’s worth thinking about who it was written for, how it can be read differently by different readers, and how it fits into the larger picture of a literature curriculum heavily dominated by white authors.
This video is from Australia. Videos from abroad give Americans an international perspective on race relations. I always enjoy videos or statements that confront racism with humor and wit. Sure, overt racism is disturbing, but if one is able to collect oneself, avoid the knee-jerk reaction, and calmly and reasonably respond, I feel more wars would be averted and peace would prevail. Besides, it is no small feat to turn an ugly situation into one where we can actually laugh (Warning: Contains adult language).
Racialicious starts us off this week with a thoughtful look at books about black southerners written by white authors, and street-lit written by black writers.
The Washington Monthly takes a look at some disturbing rhetoric that’s come up in the Elena Kagan hearings—not rhetoric about Kagan, but about Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice.
Most of the country looks poised for a hot weekend, so here are some pieces to read while you lurk in the air-conditioned splendor of indoors.
Hampton Stevens, guest blogging for Ta-Nahisi Coates, shares a story of a child trying to puzzle our increasingly globalized world, courtesy of the FIFA World Cup, and points to the communication issues inherent in terms like “African American.”
A loving ode to the diversity of voices heard in New York City every day:
The oil spill in the Gulf has been all over the news lately, and, frustrating though the lack of progress has been, there have been many efforts to stem the oil geyser. What about oil spills that don’t have a large impact on Americans? The Times looks at the Niger River Delta, which has seen the equivalent of the Exxon-Valdez spill a year every year for fifty years, with little attempt at cleanup or attention to the disastrous effect on the area’s ecosystem or economic future.
This week’s Video Thursday is a flashback to 1965, and a movie whose distributors sold tickets by using blatant racial scare-tactics.
Via Shani Hilton guest-blogging for Ta-Nahisi Coates via PostBourgie via Oscar Willis.