Respectful political discussion on Facebook

fightYes, you read that correctly: “respectful”, “political discussion” and “Facebook” in the same headline.

Someone I’ll call Brett posted on Facebook a link to an article titled Check the Race Box or Else<. It indicated that, according to the Boston Globe:

"Newly hired [City of Boston] employees fill out forms… that ask them to indicate their gender and to identify their race or ethnicity in one of five categories Continue reading

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White people need to talk about white privilege

America.doing1)AAI’ve studiously avoided writing about the shooting death in Ferguson, MO of 18 year-old Michael Brown, who was black and apparently unarmed, by a white policeman, mostly out of desire not just to repeat, or refute, what others have said. What’s indisputable, however, is that Americans are divided racially on the shooting.

Some (seriously) blame President Obama, because he hasn’t brought that “post-racial” country they were expecting, which he never promised. In fact, almost every time he’s attempted to talk about racial issues, it has not gone well with a good chunk of the American public.

So I don’t want to discuss the particulars of Brown’s shooting Continue reading

13 o’clock: racism in reverse?

RNC1.Screen-Shot-2013-12-03-at-2_08_07-PMEvery Black History Month, I put together some recent articles about race for the adult education class in my church, and how the reason we still have Black History Month is because there’s still weird stuff going on. This year was better/worse than ever, with items like the issue of some noted cases of Shopping While Black or even Working While Black.

Hey, that Duck Dynasty guy said HE never saw any racism when he was growing up with black people, so it’s a good chance that racism never really existed at all.

But this really bowled me over: Study Finds White Americans Believe They Experience More Racism Than African Americans.
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September Rambling: overcoming adversity

Why is September a slow writing month? Haven’t even gotten to look at many interesting links I have set aside to peruse later, then “later” never comes. Jaquandor’s having writing problems too, but it appears to have been rectified, according to his Facebook posts.

Arthur has had a woeful time on HIS blog, but maybe it’s the way it is after seven years of blogging. Or maybe he’s just excited about the fact that on Friday, November 1, he and Nigel are going to the registry office in Auckland, New Zealand to change their civil union to marriage. Mazel tov!

My friend Claire’s annual blog post.

SamuraiFro​g was in a wedding. He was extremely anxious about it Continue reading

March on Washington, a half century later

It’s likely you’ll see a LOT of stories about the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Every single one will marvel about how much progress has been made in America in the area of race, since 1963. Almost all will point to a black President, the current Attorney General, and two recent Secretaries of State as examples. The divergence in opinions come on this point: some will claim that we have “reached the promised land,” making sure to paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr. from that day a half century ago – as though he were the only speaker there – while others will suggest that we haven’t quite gotten there yet.

When President Obama suggested that we look at race again in light of the Trayvon Martin case, that Obama could have been Trayvon 35 years ago, some, such as Touré at TIME, thought it was a brave personal observation. He wrote: “The assertion that blacks are hallucinating or excuse-making or lying when we talk about the many very real ways white privilege and racial bias and the lingering impact of history impact our lives is painful. It adds insult to injury to attack all assertions of racism and deny its continued impact or existence.”

Others labelled Obama “racist-in-chief”, playing the “race card” and worse. Continue reading

Dealing with that “white privilege” conversation with humor

One of the things that many right-wing Americans are fond of saying, and there are variations in the wording, is that there are a bunch of “professional black people” stirring up trouble between black and white people. By “professional black people,” I don’t mean black people who are doctors and lawyers and the like. Rather, their profession is BEING a black person. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are ALWAYS cited, and Barack HUSSEIN Obama has been recently added to the mix.

The general narrative is that, racially, things are FINE in America, that we have a post-racial society. I mean, we have a President who’s black! What more proof does one need? Well, none for the Supreme Court, which decides to gut the Voting Rights Act and affirmative action.

Every suggestion that things are NOT hunky dory has a pushback. Continue reading

Florida: race, murder, self-defense

After George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin death in Florida, the New York Daily News did a piece When will it end? Deadly racial targeting of black men and teens is hardly ancient history.

So I find it difficult to look at the case as a singular event but in the context of a social pattern. Black-on-black murder doesn’t make headlines, unless it hits an epic proportion, as it has in Chicago recently. Black-on-white murders statistically draw tougher sentences. So there is always uneasiness when a white-on-black killing takes place. Continue reading

How come there’s no WHITE History Month?

Jaquandor, who continues to be western New York’s finest blogger, wrote, even before I asked him to Ask Roger Anything:
May I ask, what’s YOUR response to the question that ALWAYS gets asked in February? I’m referring, of course, to “How come there’s no WHITE History Month?” Anymore I just snort and say “That’s all the other ones. We just don’t announce it.” Problem with that response is, it doesn’t always get taken as the sarcasm it is.
He added:
I really hate hearing that question, with its pouty tone and its implication that racism is over and we need to just stop talking about it.

Let me tell you some of the things we talked about at my church in late January and February:
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Why are you listening to THAT kind of music?

National Public Radio aired a very interesting story last month that hit me where I live.

“Music writer Laina Dawes is a die-hard Judas Priest fan. She’s all about the band’s loud and fast guitars, the piercing vocals — and she loves to see the group perform live.

“Now, a fact that shouldn’t matter: Dawes is a black woman. This, she says, can make things uncomfortable on the metal scene. She says she’s been verbally harassed and told she’s not welcome…

“Dawes writes about the issue in her new book, What Are You Doing Here?: A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal.”

I so relate to this.
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Film and race: Song of the South, Holiday Inn, Django Unchained

I had heard for a long time how awful and offensively racist D.W. Griffith’s landmark 1915 film, The Birth of a Nation, was. It’s good that I saw it, but I’m glad it was as an adult, so that I could appreciate it in the historic context in which it was made. I’m not much on banning movies, but there is something to be said about seeing it at the right point.

A couple blog posts I’ve seen recently reminded me of this point. Continue reading