Tim Wise – audio interview


Race is, and always has been, an explosive issue in the United States. In this timely new book, Tim Wise explores how Barack Obama’s emergence as a political force is taking the race debate to new levels. According to Wise, for many whites, Obama’s rise signifies the end of racism as a pervasive social force; they point to Obama as a validation of the American ideology that anyone can make it if they work hard, and an example of how institutional barriers against people of color have all but vanished. But is this true? And does a reinforced white belief in color-blind meritocracy potentially make it harder to address ongoing institutional racism? After all, in housing, employment, the justice system and education, the evidence is clear: white privilege and discrimination against people of color are still operative and actively thwarting opportunities, despite the success of individuals like Obama.

via City Lights Publishing [mp3]

Discussion on race + Oregon

Seeing Color - Indigenous Peoples and Racialized Ethnic Minorities in Oregon

Audio from an Oregon Public Broadcasting program, “The White State.” A look at the history of Oregon, and what factors have contributed to the state’s relatively homogeneous racial makeup.

The program features Dr. Jun Xing, Professor of Ethnic Studies at Oregon State University. Dr. Xing is an editor of the book, “Seeing Color: Indigenous Peoples and Racialized Ethnic Minorities in Oregon.”


Regular folks = White people?

According to Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s Hardball, “regular folks” = “white folks”. Chris Matthews isn’t even trying to be covert anymore. He’s just outright saying that whiteness is “regular”. Unbelievable. The stench of white privilege is emanating from the video. Whiteness is “regular”. Whiteness is “normal“. That’s what he’s saying.

So Chris, if white folks are regular, what are folks of color? I can’t believe that you are allowed to sit behind a desk and broadcast this racist garbage and call it news.

link tip via Rhetorical Wasteland

From Media Matters:

On the July 7 edition of MSNBC’s Hardball, host Chris Matthews teased an upcoming segment by saying: “They’re the working-class white voters Hillary Clinton won and Barack didn’t. Can Obama now win over the regular folks, white folks, against John McCain? We’ll ask the strategists.” On the June 30 edition of Hardball, Matthews similarly teased a segment by asserting: “Up next: They’re the working-class white voters Hillary won and Barack didn’t. Can Obama win over the regular folks against John McCain?”

Portland Police discuss white privilege

Portland Oregon Police Department

Sergeant Dave Hendrie said: “I think the thing that was shocking to me and gave me a better understanding when people talk about white privilege, it’s offensive to me, it feels like a judgment term to me but having watched this specifically as it relates to housing practice and how that works, we talk about white suburbia and here it is, it was a policy that these were the only people allowed to move out there, was whites. So I have a better understanding of white privilege. If I was a G.I and I’d come out here I’d have been able to get a loan for a home, wheras that same advantage would not have been given to Chuck. And to see that as part of the government instituted process of giving loans was disturbing to me.”

Yes you did just hear a Portland Police Officer changing his perspective of white privilege. There’s plenty more discussion, all of it equally fascinating, and you get to find out who Chuck is, after the jump.

via Blogtown, PDX

Homonormativity + Dominant Paradigm pt. 2

Faris responded to several of the comments on his letter to white LGBT siblings at OSU. Scroll down to number 27 for some Farisian awesomeness. I’ve excerpted a few choice sentences…

Below, I will address the claims made in the above comments.

Before I do this, though, I want to make something clear about what I wrote in this column. In the above comments I read that I called people racists or that I resorted to personal attacks. This column did no such thing. I wrote, “I believe that for a white person to host a party themed “Cowboys and Indians” is racist.” No where in this sentence does it state that I believe that someone who holds this party is racist. I wrote that the ACTION of holding this party is racist. If we break down the above sentence, the subject is “to host a party,” which is an action.

This is a subtle distinction, but one that needs to be made. I don’t believe that calling someone racist does any good, as we are all affected by institutional racism and prone to racist acts when we do not think critically about our actions.

Nor was this meant to be a personal attack: I was not attacking the personhood of who hosted this party or the people who attended. I was attacking and critiquing an ACTION. It is imperative, I believe, to keep this distinction in mind.

Continue reading Homonormativity + Dominant Paradigm pt. 2

Surveys, Race, and Banana Republic

Banana Republic Survey

I received an email regarding a survey last month from Banana Republic stating that “The Banana Republic is looking for a select group of shoppers to become Insiders!” I clicked on the survey link. I was immediately struck by the fact that the wording of the survey epitomized white privilege. Caucasian is the first choice on the race/ethnicity section. Why is it that so many surveys place “Caucasian” or “White” as the first choice for race? The options on this survey are not in alphabetical order and where in the heck is Native American / Alaska Native? Why can we only select one response? Perhaps the folks at Banana Republic didn’t realize that race and ethnicity are not the same thing and that multiracial people do exist!

I guess it’s clear who Banana Republic considers a “select group of shoppers.” Unfortunately, it’s not a huge surprise given the fact that the Banana Republic’s website features 99.9% white models. The only people of color that I could find on the Banana Republic website were on the BR’s parent company, Gap Inc., “Social Responsibility” page in reference to employees and factory conditions. Yuck!

    Could you please tell us which of the following best describes you?
    Please select one response.

  • Caucasian – this is usually easier for White people to check, especially since it’s the first choice.
  • African American
  • Hispanic or Latino – yes, the Banana Republic does not know that race and ethnicity are not the same.
  • Asian – sorry, the Banana Republic does not recognize “Asian American” as an identity.
  • Other – as in the Banana Republic does not recognize your identity as being important enough to recognize.