|Image Courtesy of Fyooz|
Laina Dawes tackles the most recent interweb controversy created by Jenny An's xoJane piece, I'm an Asian Woman and I Refuse to Ever Date An Asian Man. Dawes surmises that An's own issues in turn cast a reflection upon reader's own internalized racism.
The real story behind the negative reaction to An’s essay may be that it shed light on the reason why people have an issue: the worry that minorities choose to be with someone outside of their culture because they are ashamed of their own. Dating decisions are no one’s business but the people involved, so why do we, as the observers, have such a vested interest in their couplings? Do we think that one of our own "defecting" to another side is a reflection on the perceived inadequacies of our cultures, inadequacies we have tried to correct within our own lives?
2. Why Two People in an Interracial Relationship Shouldn't Argue About Race (via xoJane)
|English: Robert De Niro and his wife Grace Hightower at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
In this piece, Shayla recounts a story about fighting with her white boyfriend about racism and comes to the conclusion that being black does not make her a racism expert. (I disagree with her argument on many levels that I may work out in another post.)
The taboo topic du jour was whether or not something had to be intentionally malicious for it to be considered racist. I argued that of course it did not. I was operating off of a complex conceptualization that embodied both individual discrimination and systematic and institutional injustice. It was the “racism equals prejudice plus power” equation that is the corner stone of most sociological, psychological and academic anti-racist arenas. By that definition, only white people possess the ability to be racist because they are the ones that hold the power.
My boyfriend was having none of that. He was steadfast in his belief that for something to be racist, it has to have harmful intentions. And what did he use to prove the accuracy of “his” definition? The dictionary. Merriam Webster’s mobile website version to be exact.
I was livid. Actually, no, I wasn’t livid just yet. More like baffled. I’d been with this man for nearly two-and-a-half years. How was I just now discovering that he’s one of those white people? The kind that has no clue about racism yet has the audacity to try to debate about it. The man grew up in a nearly all-black neighborhood, has mostly black friends and possesses a full deck of honorary black cards. We even joke about how in some aspects, his degree of “blackness” is higher than mine. All that and he doesn’t even know what racism is? How the hell did that even happen?
3. AICL on Pinterest (via American Indians in Children's Literature)
|Courtesy of AICL|
ITYC Radio guest alum Debbie Reese has taken her exhaustive and incredible work to Pinterest which is a real boon to parents trying to build a children's library sans offensive materials that reproduce harmful stereotypes and white supremacy. Follow AICL on Pinterest here.
Rinku Sen encourages activists to reframe the immigration debate in a way that returns agency undocumented workers as a means to turn the tide on the harmful immigration policies of the past few years.
The image of the unwanted, unscrupulous, immoral immigrant permeates television, talk radio, and movie screens, yet pro-immigrant organizations have largely neglected even to pick a cultural fight, until recently. That fact has started to change since 2007, as the movement took up a cultural strategy to tell the modern immigrant’s story in as many ways as we can find.
DREAMers—the youth who have advocated for and come to embody legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for some people brought to the U.S. as children—are making art and creating new words. Organizers are adding programs designed simply to put native-born and immigrant Americans in contact. Documentary and fiction films about undocumented people are finding audiences. And thousands of people are raising questions about the language of “illegality” in immigration talk. These are the activities that reframe the debate by establishing immigrants as full human beings—not just workers—who are exercising the core human urge to seek brighter conditions.
If the death of hope on a comprehensive reform policy has a positive spin, we can find it in the space that has opened up for cultural work on the issue. Only the thoughtful integration of these tactics with traditional policy pushes can get us out of a period dominated by bad news for immigrants.
5. I'll take Latino for 800, Alex (via Boston Globe)
|speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 11, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Francie Latour, another ITYC Radio guest alum, has some choice words for Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney and his outrageous claim that his road to the White House would be a little less rocky if he was a little bit Mexican. *crickets*
There have been 43 men elected to the office of President of the United States; 42 of them have been white, and one has not been. Given that, I'm confused by the other piece of political calculus Romney had to share with his audience. Which is, in essence: This whole election thing would be a heck of a lot easier if I could just get my ethnic on.
"My dad, as you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company," he told the crowd. "But he was born in Mexico ... and had he been born of Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot at winning this." Romney went on. "But he was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico. He lived there for a number of years. I mean, I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino."
(I'm taking that to mean, it would be helpful to be Latino until election day, after which Romney presumably would like to go back to being white. Otherwise you have to do that really annoying time-travel thing where you're a Mexican-American kid in 1960s Michigan, and statistically your father's chances of becoming a corporate titan and governor of Michigan would be somewhat more remote. Also, once you got back to the present, you might have to ask your father to voluntarily deport himself, which would be tough.)