Dr. King's Call for Public Intellectuals

In September 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed the American Psychological Association to describe the role that social scientists should play in the Civil Rights Movement.  He described that role as clarifier--that the social scientist can provide direction and understanding.  He said that whites folks are in urgent need, because "White America needs to understand that it is poisoned to its soul by racism."

We live in a world structured by racism.  It should be no surprise that racism is pervasive throughout society.  Here's to π and searching for clarity in understanding racism.

A Concise (Progressive) History of US Racism

This cartoon is a deceptive (and dangerous) way that liberals call out reverse racism. This is not really an accurate depiction of how racism operates in the United States.  I propose a progressive critique.

Reverse (1)

This cartoon (while it has good intentions) rests on dangerous assumptions. First, that minorities are unshackled and no longer have a ball and chain. Second, that black and brown oppression is largely linked to past discrimination, and that the egregious form of present discrimination takes place when whites refuse to give a boost to minorities.

These things are true, to an extent...but they are overstated, and they grossly ignore and understate what I believe is the hidden form of discrimination---that the way in which we measure minorities so that they can reach the next level is severely unfair.

This comic strip would be much more accurate if there were two ladders from the ground to the next level. One ladder for whites that is large and sturdy, and another for minorities that is small and rickety.

Lame Duck Activism?

The President tweeted his support for Ahmed Mohammed, the high school student arrested for making a digital clock and arguably the victim of racial profiling and Islamophobia.  The President tweeted:


I would have liked this better if it ended with: "...and racism is what makes America vile and backwards." But that would have put him over the 80 character tweet limit.  

Ahmed does not deserve a trip to the White House. He does not deserve a guest appearance on the Ellen show. He does not deserve to become an instant celebrity. Basically, he does not deserve a cookie. He and countless others DESERVE to live in a society free of racism. Pardon my harsh language, but:

To hell with the visit to the White House, and to hell with racism.

Outrage Over Chinese Graffiti in Egyptian Temple

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."

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NAACP: Same-Sex Marriage is a Colored Thang

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.

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