Nov 242013
Posing Beauty

Looks like a very interesting book, published in 2009: POSING BEAUTY: African American Images From the 1890s to the Present (Norton, $49.95) Read the (very positive) NYT Review here. With “Posing Beauty,” Willis has for­ever changed the conversation about beauty in American life. After centuries of exclusion and segregation in which African-­American beauty existed on the margins of the culture, Willis offers readers a thoughtful and nuanced consideration of the relationship of beauty and power. …click to read full post

Nov 032013
Blackface or a black face?

  Gawker: Julianne Hough Makes a Very Bad Halloween Costume Decision   The comments are the most interesting part of this gawker post.  One commenter said, “Its not blackface if you are doing a certain person. It is a black face.” Another said, “Exactly. Intent is everything here. Black face was racist because it was racist in practice. Dressing up as a black character isn’t racist unless it is offensive and is meant to be …click to read full post

Sep 022013
Miley Cyrus and the West African Origins of Twerking

Sadly, yes. I did feel that including Miley Cyrus in the title and tag of this post would garner more attention. Here is one of several thoughtful pieces I’ve seen – not about misguided Miley’s image – but about how the dancers that surrounded her were used “as props.” It also provides a brief history of twerking – a dance I found awkward and mystifying in Miley’s performance.  We owe it to twerking to read …click to read full post

Mar 102013
Asian-Americans and Affirmative Action

Asian-Americans Face Dilemma In Debate Over Affirmative Action NPR Story from Nov. 2012 “Six weeks ago, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a case that challenges the consideration of race in college admissions…. petitioner Abigail Fisher’s main brief… asserts that the university’s use of race in admissions discriminates against Asian-Americans, who are deemed to be “over-represented.” Asian-American civil rights organizations filed briefs on both …click to read full post

Mar 102013

Being White in Philly:  Whites, race, class, and the things that never get said.  by Robert Huber, Published March 2013 in Philadelphia Magazine “Everyone might have a race story, but few whites risk the third-rail danger of speaking publicly about race, given the long, troubled history of race relations in this country and even more so in this city. Race is only talked about in a sanitized form, when it’s talked about at all, with …click to read full post

Mar 102013
"The Good, Racist People"

NY Times Op-Ed, by Te-Nehisi Coates The piece is about Forest Whitaker getting accused of shoplifting in a deli. I was particularly struck by this quote: The promise of America is that those who play by the rules, who observe the norms of the “middle class,” will be treated as such. But this injunction is only half-enforced when it comes to black people, in large part because we were never meant to be part of …click to read full post

Nov 042012

This blog entry from CNN discusses how the first Black man to be elected to the U.S. Senate was met with a white backlash that “helped destroy Reconstruction” after the Civil War.  It draws parallels between the white backlash then and the white backlash to electing Obama in 2008.  What are your thoughts? Is is a reasonable comparison to make? The post quotes a history professor from Fordham who says we aren’t post-racial but we …click to read full post

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Aug 132012

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