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. She invites us to marvel at the glamour and elegance contained in the photographs, and in the process instructs us on how to expand the definition of beauty within our national imagination.

In the pages of “Posing Beauty,” readers can appreciate African-American men and women as dandies and debutantes, models and beauty queens, politicians and clubwomen across the generations. The book is a treasure, a triumph and a singular achievement that invites fresh and enduring insights with each viewing.

Microaggressions and Being Assertive

As I was reading the blog posts regarding microaggressions, my mind quickly jumped to my Interpersonal Communications class and the book that we just read on being assertive. When learning about assertiveness, we learned that it is important in being assertive to stand up for yourself and say something to someone when they give you a certain look, or a microaggression. The book on assertiveness says that if someone gives you a look that you take to be a passive aggressive way to discount you or what you are saying or doing, you should say something along the lines of “I’m not sure what you mean by that look. What were you trying to say?” The book explains that everyone has a right to assert himself or herself and stand up for themselves when it is necessary. However, while reading the blogs I realized that being able to be assertive in many situations is a white privilege.

Read more

What do whites do with their white privilege?

When Connie posed the question: What do you do with your white privilege? I thought about this question while reading Rothenberg’s White Privilege (2008); Rothenberg states the first steps after understanding how white privilege manifests is to “take the first steps to dismantle it on both a personal and institutional level.” While she emphasizes that all individuals experience white privilege differently by vocalizing these unique experiences with one another, we can gain a more comprehensive understanding of white privilege. Although Rosenberg gives no exact instructions on how to deal with white privilege, she makes it clear that whites have the ability to choose how we “spend”—as Connie explained— this privilege.

Read more

Group Identity and Assimilation

During a discussion about social identity theory, someone asked how race functioned as an identity. Social belief structure is defined by Hogg as, “people’s beliefs about the nature of intergroup relations and their assessment of the validity and effectiveness of different strategies to achieve or maintain positive intergroup distinctiveness,” meaning there is an emphasis on maintaining a group identity that is distinct from other groups, creating a clear “us” “them” dynamic. The five components of social identity theory—group’s social status, stability, legitimacy, permeability, and achievability—are all crucial in maintaining the structures of race and racism.

Read more