Tag Archives: black

PEARL BUCK on Black America

Re-blogged from one of the most informative blogs on the web:  abagond.wordpress.com


Pearl Buck, a member of the NAACP who won a Nobel Prize for “The Good Earth” (1931), wrote an “Open Letter to the Colored People of America”, which appeared in Black newspapers across the US in early March 1942. Three months later she gave a commencement speech at Howard University. This was just months after Japan attacked the US at Pearl Harbour, bringing it into the Second World War.

She believed the war propaganda that the US was fighting for freedom and democracy.But she also understood that for Blacks, the US was hardly a democracy:

“Faulty as our democracy is, the United States must be the leader in this war for the right of peoples to be free – there is no other leader to whom we can look.”

She divided US Whites into three groups, listed here from smallest to largest:

  1. Those who have no racial prejudice and are on the side of Blacks in their fight for freedom and equality.
  2. Those who have strong racial prejudice and are against Blacks.
  3. Those in the middle. They suspect racial prejudice may be wrong, but do not know what to do about it.

Most Whites are in the middle. If Hitler and Japan win, the first group will be shot and the second one will be put in charge.

She sees Blacks as a nation within a nation, a subject people. They have suffered for hundreds of years. That has led some to be bitter, but has made most wiser and more mature in spirit than Whites. Because of their position in the democracy, Blacks have become its moral conscience. But they are weak. All their great leaders are in the past. She fears Blacks will withdraw behind the walls Whites have set up – instead of breaking them down and taking part in the US and the world as a whole.

Blacks need to break down those walls now more than ever: not just because it is the right thing to do, not just because it would make life better for them in the long run, but because it would be better for everyone, of all races, both in the US and across the world…Read full article on abagond



white Guilt Q&A

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5 Things Not To Do When Accused Of Racism by @NakagawaScot

Author:  Scot Nakagawa

“Okay, I know this subject has been beat to death but I need to go there one more time. Why? Because Paula Deen’s crying, pleading, borderline belligerentI is what I is, and I’m not changing play for forgiveness mirrors the way that too many white people react to accusations of racism. And that reaction is no small thing. It’s one of the obstacles to ending interpersonal racism which, as we know, is the justification for institutional racism and the perpetuation of racial inequality.


So, for white people who want to be good allies, here are five things not to do when accused of racism:

  1. Cry. By crying, you make the problem all about you. You know, like you’re such a good and sensitive person that no one was hurt by your racism more than you were. Nice try, but in order to believe that, we first have to minimize the damage that’s done by racism, and that kind of undermines the whole idea that you’re genuinely sorry about anything except howyou’re being treated as a result of your racist behavior.
  2. Trot out your (insert racial minority group here) friends. This is an all too common way of deflecting the accusation without just admitting to the racist act. And, it’s bound to backfire, because instead of being an excuse, it only demonstrates your racism by reducing your friend to her/his race and worse, into an object, specifically a shield, to protect you from having to admit to racism.
  3. Blame your age or upbringing. If your age is the problem, it implicates everyone else in your age group in your act of racism, and that’s not a fair thing to do to them in order to protect you. It also blames your racist act on your mother, your father, your teachers, the social climate in the town you grew up in, and every other person or condition that influenced you except, of course, you, the person who had a choice. As history shows us, not everyone was a racist at any time in our history. In every age, every person had and continues to have the ability to choose against racism.
  4. Justify racist acts in certain circumstances as in, it’s okay to turn into a racist if someone is holding a gun to your head. If you manage to hold in your racism when you’re at your best, but react to fear or anger by immediately turning to racism, you’re a racist. In fact, fear and anger are at the very heart of racism.

But, while avoiding the four things listed above will probably keep you out of trouble, they don’t actually address your racism. So, if you’re truly just an accidental racist who sincerely wants to make amends, simply admit to it, take what you have coming to you, learn from it, and do something to make a positive difference.

And that brings me to the 5th thing you ought not do when accused of racism.Dodge. Because what distinguishes the accidental racist from an intentional one is the willingness to simply own up to your accidents and make amends.”

Visit ChangeLab for Original Article

Race Beyond Black and White: Four Reasons to Move Beyond the Racial Binary

Image  by Scot Nakagawa

Re-blogged from: ChangeLab

“…Too often, the history of race and rights in this country is a story told only in terms of black and white, as though the rest of us aren’t part of the plot. Getting some national coverage of an Asian American civil rights story was gratifying. It felt like a little bit of a victory.

But then the TV coverage of the 50th Anniversary March started airing and victory fell to a sense of defeat. Even in the face of rapidly changing U.S. racial demographics, driven in large part by Asian and Latino immigration, the story of race on television is still mainly just black and white.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I believe anti-black racism is the fulcrum of white supremacy. Failing to recognize the pivotal role anti-black racism plays in driving racism more generally in this country is a mistake. But to focus on the experience of black and white people to the exclusion of almost everyone else? That’s both historically inaccurate and politically dangerous.

With that in mind, here are four reasons to move beyond the black-white racial binary:

1. Ignorance of our multi-racial history is the enemy of civil rights.

Here’s an example. In the 1990s, the evangelical right rose to power in part through exploiting widespread homophobia. But, while they appeared to be narrowly targeting LGBT people, they were  using those attacks on LGBT rights to simultaneously talk about civil rights more generally. They did so by contrasting LGBT people with blacks who they said have a “legitimate” claim to civil rights because, they argued, blacks were able to pass a litmus test of suffering and morality without which civil rights cannot be conferred. Therefore, civil rights are special rights.

The success of that argument relied upon the widespread belief among what we nowadays refer to as “low-information voters,” that civil rights are blackrights, not American rights that have historically been withheld from black people. Right wingers exploited this confusion and doubled down on it, inciting anti-black racism by claiming these (black) rights were being taken too far by a civil rights lobby LGBT people wanted a piece of because it had captured control of Congress.

2. We are all profiled differently by race, but all of the different ways in which we are profiled serve the same racial hierarchy.

For instance, in the 1960s, just as the civil rights movement was cresting and black urban uprisings were dominating the news cycle, news stories appeared profiling Asian Americans as a model minority. That profile, which privileged Asians as a super-minority that was “out-whiting the whites,” claimed that Asians in the U.S. had managed to climb to success not through protest nor by way of “riots,” but through hard work and quiet cooperation with the powers that be.

This story of Asian success begged the question, if Asian Americans can do it, why can’t black people? The media provided the answer: blacks aren’t succeeding because they’re a “problem minority.” Ever since, the model minority myth has been used as a lever of racial injustice on the fulcrum of anti-black racism.

3. Race is central to the struggle over citizenship in America.

The contest over voting rights, for instance, is a fight about citizenship rights, who has them, and who gets to decide in the matter just as much as is the question of the right to citizenship of new immigrants, including those without documents. At the center of these fights is a struggle over nationality, power, and control that revolves around race.

We will never resolve these questions until we are able to grapple broadly with the issue of race and citizenship as regards all people of color. Until then, we are all just fighting different battles in the same war, but without the common cause necessary to build a winning coalition.

4. In order to achieve racial equity, we need to complicate our understanding of race. The black-white racial binary is as much a part of the fiction of race in America as dubious science about brain size and intelligence. The truth may not, by itself, set us free, but it might at least get us headed in that direction. As we head toward a “majority-minority” future, we’d do well to acknowledge the complexity of the story of race in America. Just ignoring it might be good for ratings, but it won’t make it go away.”

Can We See Through Race?

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The book Seeing Through Race: A Reinterpretation of Civil Rights Photography, by Martin A. Berger explores the dual role of Civil Rights Movement photojourn

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Some Of My Best Friends Are…

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FYI, that’s not a picture of my family. It’s a picture that I cut and pasted off the site Stuff White People Like that seemed appropriate given the followin

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See on Scoop.itCulturally Teaching

By Mama Ayanna MashamaEach year officially since 1979 we have used the month of August to focus on the oppressive treatment of our brothers and sisters disappeared inside the state run gulags and c…

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How Racism Helps and Hurts White People

Re-blogged from:  Abagond

“This is partly in answer to Macon D’s post on Stuff White People Do: “fail to see how racism harms white people”. Here is my take:

Racism both helps and hurts white Americans. I cannot prove all of the following statements with studies, charts and figures, but this is the truth as best I know it:oldnavy

How it helps:

  • They are way richer than they would have been:
    • They live on land taken from the American Indians.
    • They benefit directly or indirectly from the free labour of blackslaves and, later, from the cheap labour of blacks and other people of colour.
    • They get paid more for a given level of education.
    • Lower unemployment: they are less likely to fired and more likely to be hired – even with a prison record.
  • They get to live in nicer, safer neighbourhoods with better schools.
  • They live longer: even poor whites live longer than middle-class blacks.
  • It helps to keep them from falling to the very bottom of society.

How it hurts:

  • They become morally blind. Since they do not see the evil they do they are surprised by 9/11, race riots, failures in foreign policy, poverty at home, etc.
  • They harden their hearts.
  • They become partly deluded: they believe lies – about themselves, their history, their society. They do not take the truth seriously when it comes from a person of colour.
  • They have a limited idea of what it means to be human. At root, racism is the idea that being “different” means there is something wrong with you. That means many whites hide or slowly kill their true selves in order to fit in, making them into plastic people.
  • They become small-minded:
    • Because they feel good about themselves by looking down on others.
    • Because they narrow their minds by not taking other people and their cultures seriously.
  • They are not true to themselves and their belief that all men are created equal – and so they live with guilt.
  • Crime is higher than in other rich countries – and so they live with fear.
  • By hurting people of colour they are hurting their own country. At the very least they are wasting a part of its human capital.
  • Many whites vote against their class interests in part because of race.

That is what comes to me off the top of my head. I might be forgetting some big ones. Commenters can kindly point them out.

In short, whites are not true to themselves – to their morals, their beliefs, their heart, their soul. They are sell-outs to an idea that is beneath them.

If I still have any white readers left I know they will strongly disagree. Perhaps they will think I hate them, that I am trying to put them down. Wrong: I am trying to be honest.

Whites signed up for racism to create America and they continue to hold on to racism to hold on to its advantages. They made a deal with the devil and we know how that ends.”


The Psychology of Prejudice and Racism

How do we define prejudice and racism?
As prejudice and racism have caused enormous suffering across history, it is very important to try to understand how they work. Prejudice and racism both refer to a negative view of one group of people based solely on their membership in that group. Racism is a specific form of prejudice, involving prejudicial attitudes or behavior towards members of an ethnic group. The definition of race is somewhat variable but commonly refers to an ethnic group originating on a specific continent, such as people of African, European or Asian descent.


“What is stereotyping and how does it relate to social prejudice?
Stereotyping goes hand in hand with prejudice. The term stereotype as used in social science was first introduced by the journalist Walter Lippman in 1922. Previously the term had been used in the printing business. When we stereotype people, we attribute a series of traits to them based on the onetrait that signals their membership in a particular group. Common contemporary stereotypes are that Asians are hardworking and studious, Hispanics are macho, and that librarians are introverts. By definition, stereotypes are limiting and disregard people’s individuality. They also lend themselves to negative and derogatory assumptions. When that happens the stereotype blends into prejudice.  Read more

Racism Isn’t About You

Left Cheek: The Blog

My student, R, called me a racist! He let all the teachers on my floor know that he was sure that I, his English teacher, was a racist too. But Ms. B and Ms. G wouldn’t hear it. “He can’t be racist. Dye is Puerto Rican just like you are! Minorities can’t be racist against other minorities.” My colleagues were protecting me for a variety of reasons, but even I didn’t buy that defense then.

I knew that R was calling me a racist partly because it’s the Great Grenade, and R was very astute at setting off. And it works. It made me feel horrible; there are few who don’t feel particularly and personally targeted at the slightest hint of the word. But he wasn’t without validity. R was often an angry young man, but he didn’t just get furious for no reason at all. He may have been…

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