"Encouraging women and people of color to take more risks and be more aggressive might help somewhat, but if those risk-taking behaviors aren’t rewarded (or, in some cases, even safe), then the people who end up getting ahead will still be white men. Entrepreneurial activity will probably always entail a certain amount of risk — the only way to level the playing field would be to extend to young women and minorities the same indulgence that white boys get. It’s hard to say what this would look like — encouraging more kids to steal or get in trouble with the cops isn’t very good public policy. But there are ways in which (white) boys’ misbehavior is treated as natural and expected, even if it results in worse grades. Those who worry about boys’ education have advocated for letting boys be boys a bit more, but maybe we really need to let girls be boys."
The thing about being a little black girl in the world who is already, at nine years old, confident enough to demand that lazy, disrespectful reporters call you by your name, is that most people will not understand the amount of comfort in one’s own skin it takes to do that, will not be able to grasp the sheer fierceness of it, the boldness, the certainty, the love for yourself, and will not be blown away at seeing you do it, though they should be.
The thing about being a little black girl in the world is that your right to be a child, to be small and innocent and protected, will be ignored and you will be seen as a tiny adult, a tiny black adult, and as such will be susceptible to all the offenses that people two and three and four times your age are expected to endure.
But take heart.
"Mr. Spielberg’s “Lincoln” helps perpetuate the notion that African Americans have offered little of substance to their own liberation. While the film largely avoids the noxious stereotypes of subservient African-Americans for which movies like “Gone With the Wind” have become notorious, it reinforces, even if inadvertently, the outdated assumption that white men are the primary movers of history and the main sources of social progress."
An even better takedown here
In short, the idea that the white north “gave” freedom to the slaves draws from and reinforces an attractively simple and flattering myth, one which formed around the old historiography of the period like a noose cutting off oxygen to the brain: the myth that black slaves were rendered passive by their condition, and that—absent an outside force interrupting their state of un-freedom—they would simply have continued, as slaves, indefinitely. It’s only in this narrative that freedom can be a thing which is given to them: because they are essentially passive and inert, they require someone else—say, a great emancipator—to step in and raise them up.
In Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln,’ Passive Black Characters - NYTimes.com
"I grew up reading a generation of American and English people like [Saul] Bellow, [John] Updike or [Martin] Amis. Everybody’s neutral unless they’re black — then you hear about it: the black man, the black woman, the black person. Of course, if you happen to be black the world doesn’t look that way to you. I just wanted to try and create perhaps a sense of alienation and otherness in this person, the white reader, to remind them that they are not neutral to other people."
Zadie Smith, discussing how she never mentions the race of any of the characters in her new novel, NW, unless they are white. (via theraconteurasaurus)
All of this.
(Source: NPR, via queennubian)
"lots of people who are not versed in conversations about privilege, access and inclusion can have a difficult time when they’re brought into one without expecting it."
Extremely well put, if no less *head against wall frustration*. A related read from Anil Dash: racist culture is a factory defect
the best companies can do when they make something offensive in culture is to explain the method of manufacture for their broken contribution to culture. The tedious, familiar pattern of issuing a non-apology apology (“We’re sorry if anyone was offended…”) and then trying to bury the entire conversation doesn’t make things better, and it puts the burden on the victims of these misadventures to right the wrongs, instead of laying it at the feet of their creators, as should be rightly done.
Although I do completely, entirely and fundamentally disagree with the idea that “the ones privileged with the understanding and education about these issues…owe it to the communities we represent to carry this burden sometimes even though it’s not fair.” I agree that it’s not fair. I disagree with the premise that oppressed communities owe their oppressors anything at all.
Country Clubs and Deliberate Design - Anil Dash
"What if white Americans were as likely as Muslims to be victimized by those policies? What if the sprawling national security bureaucracy we’ve created starts directing attention not just to Muslims and their schools and charities, but to right-wing militias and left-wing environmental groups (or folks falsely accused of being in those groups because they seem like the sort who would be)? There are already dossiers on non-Muslim extremist groups. In a post-9/11 world, Islamic terrorism has nevertheless been the overwhelming priority for law enforcement, and insofar as innocents have suffered, Muslims have been affected far more than any other identifiable group, because the bulk of the paradigm shift in law enforcement hasn’t spread beyond them."
"(tw: rape, sexual assault, racism)
By now surely everyone knows the case of the eight men convicted of picking vulnerable underage girls off the streets, then plying them with drink and drugs before having sex with them. A shocking story. But maybe you haven’t heard. Because these sex assaults did not take place in Rochdale, where a similar story led the news for days in May, but in Derby earlier this month. Fifteen girls aged 13 to 15, many of them in care, were preyed on by the men. And though they were not working as a gang, their methods were similar – often targeting children in care and luring them with, among other things, cuddly toys.
But this time, of the eight predators, seven were white, not Asian. And the story made barely a ripple in the national media. Of the daily papers, only the Guardian and the Times reported it. There was no commentary anywhere on how these crimes shine a light on British culture, or how middle-aged white men have to confront the deep flaws in their religious and ethnic identity. Yet that’s exactly what played out following the conviction in May of the “Asian sex gang” in Rochdale, which made the front page of every national newspaper. Though analysis of the case focused on how big a factor was race, religion and culture, the unreported story is of how politicians and the media have created a new racial scapegoat. In fact, if anyone wants to study how racism begins, and creeps into the consciousness of an entire nation, they need look no further."