CNN has reported that a 15 year old Chinese tourist defaced the 3,500 Luxor temple in Egypt by writing "Ding Jinhao was here" on a sculpture. After a huge Internet backlash in China, the young man's parents issued a public apology. The report, however, expresses that some Chinese citizens are concerned that this act is an embarrassment for the Chinese "race", particularly in a moment when China is calling on it's nation's tourist to behave better.
The racial and national politics of this story are amazing. After reading the CNN article, a friend said, "This has nothing to do with the fact that homeboy is Chinese...the Romans did this all over Egypt and that was pretty gross, too."
A recent critique of President Obama by Melissa Harris-Perry claims that he has refused to exercise his clemency powers as compared to his predecesors. Claiming to rely on Department of Justice statistics, MHP states that Reagan pardoned 1 out of every 3 of the pardon requests before his desk while he was in office. MHP goes on to state that H.W Bush pardoned 6% of requests, Clinton 12%, W/ Bush 3% and Obama only 2%. Her assessment of the statistics are sloppy.
In what some are calling a largely symbolic gesture, today the NAACP endorsed same-sex marriage, labelling it a key civil rights struggle of today. Reports have characterized the organization's resolution for marriage equality as both a principled stance, and as a statement of support for President Obama's recent support of same-sex marriage. The NAACP endorsement has gained much media attention particularly in light of many inaccurate media reports that black communities are somehow more homophobic than general society.
Many are familiar with the word ethnocentrism. It occurs when one judges another culture solely by the values and standards of his or her own culture. Some are even savvy enough to understand that what is culturally true in their culture, (i.e. two men holding hands are likely to be romantically involved), that those standards are relative, and might not be true in another country where two men holding hands can be merely a sign of platonic friendship. While some of us are able to wrap our minds and reject ethnocentrism across different geographies and cultures of our cities and countries--most people have no idea of the chronocentrism that they bring with respect to time and history.
Today, May 19th, the 87th birthday of Malcolm X, is a great time to discuss our chronological ethnocentrism--particularly in light of debates surrounding his same-sex sexual desire. A number of scholars, including Bruce Perry, in his1991 biography, Malcolm: The Life of a Man Who Changed Black America, and Manning Marable, in his 2011 book, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, have provided evidence that Malcolm X engaged in sex with other men--sometimes for financial gain. A number of individuals have been skeptical of the assertions of Malcolm X's desire for men. However, the phenomenon of men having sex with men is not entirely surprising, and continues to exist today under the not so eloquent "gay for pay" moniker.
Do not believe the hype of journalist accounts (here and here) of recently released Census Bureau data that white births are no longer a majority in the United States. The report indicated that in the 12 month period that ended last July, 49.6% of all US births were non-Hispanic whites. This is compared to 50.4% of "minorities" who include Hispanics, Blacks, Asian-Americans, and individuals with multi-racial identities.