Gordon Parks, American Gothic, 1942
From the Corcoran Gallery of Art:
Across his careers as an artist, a filmmaker, and an author, Gordon Parks consistently worked to expose racism, poverty, crime, segregation, and other social ills that existed in American society. A self-taught photographer, Parks got his start in 1942 when he earned a fellowship to work for a New Deal government agency called the Farm Security Administration (FSA). He moved to Washington, D.C. and documented the African-American community and the intolerance that they encountered around the city. His best-known photographs from this period feature Ella Watson, a government charwoman employed by the FSA, who Parks befriended and chronicled. In American Gothic, Washington, D.C., Parks posed Watson with her mop and broom in an image derived from Grant Wood’s painting American Gothic, 1930. Standing firmly before the American flag, and looking directly at the camera, Watson signifies how African Americans living in segregation during this era did not possess the freedoms and opportunities symbolized by the flag in the background. When Parks first showed the image to Roy Stryker, his mentor at the FSA, Stryker responded, “Well, you’re getting the idea, but you’re going to get us all fired.” Parks went on to become the first African American staff photographer for Life.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a reservation, you do not have permission to be here.
Minneapolis cop at Mall of America Idle No More rally (via ishkwaakiiwan)
because Natives need permission to merely exist, and they must do so far out of colonizer sight and mind. how fitting this happened at Mall of America, the height of US capitalist megaconsumption & beacon of modernity—this is an excellent example of how colonial rhetoric relegating Natives to ahistoric primitive backwaters translates into real material (ongoing!) violence.
Some problems we share as women, some we do not. You fear your children will grow up to join the patriarchy and testify against you, we fear our children will be dragged from a car and shot down in the street, and you will turn your backs upon the reasons they are dying.
Trying so hard to be progressive. Failing.
omg, your shiny ivory movie has gone ebony, oh no
Carroll said no one took the names of the attendees who threw peanuts at her Tuesday on the convention floor and told her, “This is what we feed animals.” She alerted fellow camera operators, producers and CNN security. The head of the delegation — she was not certain of the state — told her the perpetrators must have been alternates, not delegates.
But Carroll, 34, said that as an Alabama native, she was not surprised. “This is Florida, and I’m from the Deep South,” she said. “You come to places like this, you can count the black people on your hand. They see us doing things they don’t think I should do.”
The incident is not just one lone act, but rather an indication that the dog whistles that the GOP has been blowing are definitely being heard. The GOP has obviously written off the brown minority vote. They have sidelined all Muslim/ Middle Eastern Americans as suspected “terrorists”. They have written off all Hispanic/ Latino Americans as “illegals”. They have accused Black Americans of “looking for handouts” and “lacking work ethic”. And they have systematically worked in the states to suppress the vote. They have obviously decided to go full out after the white vote.
The language they have used is unquestionably racially charged, though they insist, not racist…per se. But the message is coming through. And the craziest of the wing are picking up on it loud and clear. And so are minorities according to poll numbers.
They “joke” about President Obama being somehow illegitimate. Foreign. “Not like us.” What “us” are they referring to? Is it that he wasn’t born into an upper crust family? Is it that he’s left handed? What about the devotion his shows to his family? Maybe it’s the fact that he and his wife had to take out student loans to make it through their education. Or that he’s world traveled. No. None of those things are new or different. Hmmm. What could it be?
This incident, when viewed through the light of Romney’s little “no, one asks us for our birth certificate” joke, the renewed “welfare queen” myth and all the other racially charged bullshit over the last 5 years, should be no surprise. It should also leave no doubts that the GOP is saying loud and clear to minorities:”We don’t care about you or anyone who looks like you.”
The Republican attorneys general of Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, North Dakota and Texas filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court arguing that a key provision of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional. Significantly, the brief points to the fact that the Voting Rights Act impedes laws intended to make it more difficult for racial minorities to cast a ballot as a reason why Court should cast a skeptical gaze on the landmark voting rights law responsible for breaking the back of Jim Crow:
South Carolina and Texas, both Covered Jurisdictions, have not yet been permitted to enforce their voter-identification requirements, despite the fact that these laws are similar to the Indiana law upheld in Crawford. The DOJ denied preclearance for South Carolina’s voter-identification law. South Carolina has filed a declaratory judgment action, seeking reconsideration of DOJ’s preclearance denial. Trial begins on August 27, 2012.
Texas, like South Carolina, requested DOJ’s preclearance. Despite Texas’s responses to DOJ’s repeated requests for more information, DOJ still had not provided a preclearance decision six months after the State’s initial submission. By then, DOJ had rejected South Carolina’s similar law and, facing a likely similar rejection, Texas opted to file a declaratory judgment seeking preclearance. The DOJ eventually rejected Texas’s request for administrative preclearance nearly seven months after the initial submission. Trial was held from July 10 through 13, 2012, and Texas is awaiting a preclearance decision from the district court – more than a year after its legislature enacted the voter identification law.
Supporters of voter ID laws, which require voters to present ID at the polls, claim they are necessary to prevent an epidemic of voter fraud at the polls. This is false. In reality, a person ismore likely to be struck by lightning than to commit in-person voter fraud. One study of Wisconsin voters found that an vanishingly small 0.00023 percent of votes are the product of such fraud.
What voter ID laws will do, however, is disenfranchise thousands of American citizens who want to do nothing more than lawfully exercise their right to choose their own leaders. Although estimates vary on how many voters will be disenfranchised by these laws, conservative estimates suggest that these laws will prevent 2 to 3 percent of registered voters from casting a ballot. Moreoever, the voters disenfranchised by voter ID are disproportionately likely to be racial minorities, low-income voters or students — all of whom tend to favor Democrats over Republicans.
Which explains why six Republican officials are so eager to ensure that these laws take effect.
Racism is not merely a simplistic hatred. It is, more often, broad sympathy toward some and broader skepticism toward others. Black America ever lives under that skeptical eye. Hence the old admonishments to be “twice as good.” Hence the need for a special “talk” administered to black boys about how to be extra careful when relating to the police. And hence Barack Obama’s insisting that there was no racial component to Katrina’s effects; that name-calling among children somehow has the same import as one of the oldest guiding principles of American policy—white supremacy. The election of an African American to our highest political office was alleged to demonstrate a triumph of integration. But when President Obama addressed the tragedy of Trayvon Martin, he demonstrated integration’s great limitation—that acceptance depends not just on being twice as good but on being half as black. And even then, full acceptance is still withheld. The larger effects of this withholding constrict Obama’s presidential potential in areas affected tangentially—or seemingly not at all—by race. Meanwhile, across the country, the community in which Obama is rooted sees this fraudulent equality, and quietly seethes.
Obama’s first term has coincided with a strategy of massive resistance on the part of his Republican opposition in the House, and a record number of filibuster threats in the Senate. It would be nice if this were merely a reaction to Obama’s politics or his policies—if this resistance truly were, as it is generally described, merely one more sign of our growing “polarization” as a nation. But the greatest abiding challenge to Obama’s national political standing has always rested on the existential fact that if he had a son, he’d look like Trayvon Martin.
Read more. [Image: Bill Sanderson]
The Black People tag is filled with a bunch of white people laughing at us, at our culture. The Nigga tag is filled with a bunch of white people laughing at us. The Nigger tag is filled with a bunch of white people laughing at us. The Black girl and Black woman tag is filled with a bunch pasty women. See a common trend here, guys? The white people of Tumblr are either laughing at us, or erasing us.
What can you do? Tell them to get out of the “nigga/nigger” tag. Tag a Langston Hughes poem as Black people. Tag a Boondocks comic as Black people. Tag a gif from The Color Purple as Black people. Fill the Black woman tag to the brim with (shocker) actual Black women, like Madame CJ Walker, Harriet Tubman, hell, even Beyonce, Serena Williams, or models. Tell your stories. Share your experiences. Show them we aren’t a joke.
Please, guys I can’t do this alone.
White people need to turn their manifest destiny all the way down. You exclude us from your spaces, then we make our own and you scream “reverse-racism” until you’re blue in the face. When you actually get access to our spaces, this is the kind of shit you do. This is exactly why we don’t like to fuck with y’all sometimes.
Apparently, this is still being debated. But let me outline it for you again:
1. There’s a history of making “Asians” (as in, “people with dark hair, almond shaped eyes, whose ethnic background comes from one bigass continent) into one homogenous group. This is super racist, because, let’s be real here: despite what you learned in 7th grade geography, Asia is a big ass and diverse CONTINENT. NOT. A. COUNTRY.
2. In fact, if we want to be technical here, “Asia” includes parts of Russia and Turkey. Two countries which are definitely not grouped with the traditional “Asian” category. Why? Because they don’t look like a stereotypical Asian. And also, South east Asians (i.e.: Indians and other desi people) are considered Asian as well. Only, they’re distinguished and not what people automatically think of when they say “Asian.” Sort of like how Eastern Europeans are considered Europeans but also somehow not.
3. And while we’re on the topic, what are you fetishizing here? Because, as an Asian woman, I’ve heard really fucking racist/stereotyping “compliments” around three things:
- my eyes
- my skin
- my hair
And to be frank, saying “Oh hey, I love your eyes. They are so exotic” is no better (and actually, arguably, historically and politically more offensive) than a cis-gendered dude saying “Oh hey, I love your tits. They’re so womanly.” Because, bitch, who are you to define what “womanly” means?
4. So then there’s also the ideology surrounding Asians and Asian fetishes. For women, it’s all about “Oh, how submissive and light skinned and exotic, like having my own geisha kung fu princess jasmine harem girl all in one!” Which is absolutely fucking ridiculous because it is like saying, “Oh yay, I get my own spicy señorita french kissing german milkmaid swedish model all in one!” Bitch. We. Be. Different.
5. And also, let’s be real here: If your “fascination with Asian culture” basically means “I watch a lot of anime and masturbate to hentai and wish I I had a cute schoolgirl/effeminate school boy of my own to tie up,” you don’t have a fascination with Asian culture. I mean, for one, there IS NO homogenous Asian culture. For two, even if there was, there is no way that fucking Sailor Moon would be a cultural relic of said ethnic group. I am sorry, it is hilarious, but there is no way you can tell me that it’s somehow a gateway into the mysterious and exotic world of the Orient.
6. That last sentence was sarcasm, by the way. Never ever use any of the adjectives I just listed above unless you want to get bitchslapped. No, not roundhouse kicked. We Asians reserve that shit for bigger issues.
7. And Asian culture isn’t just sushi or kung pao chicken or Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Like I said, saying “Asian Culture” is like saying “European culture.” What the fuck does that even mean? Then again, maybe this is a bad analogy for Americans. I’m pretty sure that we’ve been conditioned to believe that every single European ever will speak fluent English in a French or British accent. Always.
8. That being said: fetishization is objectification. It’s putting an ENTIRE ETHNIC GROUP (which, by the way, shouldn’t even be grouped together in the first place because IT REPRESENTS A HUGE ASS CONTINENT OF DIVERSE PEOPLE WITH DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS) into one tiny little box and saying, “I like you because of my preconceived notions about what your culture and appearance should be. I find it sexually exciting that you have a list of characteristics which are not only inaccurate, but also steeped in racism and oppression.”
…So, long story short: Even if you think you’re flattering me, if you have an Asian fetish, YOU. ARE. BEING. RACIST.
If you are not part of said ethnic group: there is no such thing as a positive racial stereotype.
What would it take to make you the next George Zimmerman?
What would it take to bring out all that insidious conditioning you may not even know is in you? For Travyon, all it took was him walking down the street. That’s all it took.
What would it take for you? What action could I take, what seemingly innocent thing would set you off? Maybe I got the last ginger ale at the cafeteria or vending machine. Maybe I didn’t make your coffee fast enough when you were last at Starbucks. Maybe I didn’t bring you the right sandwich. Maybe I showed you up at that last meeting. Maybe that man you thought was looking at you was really looking at me. Maybe I bumped into you in the street. Maybe you asked for directions, and I didn’t know. Maybe you said hello and I didn’t hear you. Maybe you had had too much to drink when I walked into your favorite bar. And maybe that’s all it takes.
When do you turn on me?
How do I know I’m safe from you, from the things you think about me in the quietest places in your mind, from the things your world whispers to you in secret? How can I be sure that all your good work, all your good intentions, aren’t going to be the thing that drives me into the ground, around 6 feet deep?
I never really will. Not really.
And this is the thing that racism does. It doesn’t put on a hood and light torches and march down to your house and burn crosses. It doesn’t put up signs saying “Whites Only”. It doesn’t come in the middle of the night and steal your most precious thing from the place you tried so hard to keep secret and precious. And sure, these things happen, they still happen, but that’s not what racism is. Not anymore.
It behaves like a fog, or a deadly mold. It seeps into the cracks, it lives in the walls, it settles on your skin and in your lungs. All the crevices you thought were sealed, it’s seeping in, and living and growing and breeding. All the cracks and slits are filled with it, and even though it’s the kind of evil that has blood all over it, it’s alien to you, and so you don’t see it, you don’t feel it. For you, it’s not a thing.
But for us…
For us, it’s a reporter, who asks a grieving Black woman whether or not her recently dead son ate chicken. For us, it’s a man who murders a boy in cold blood because he believed that child was an “asshole” who was going to “get away”. We can see the blood. For us, the world is bloody, and it’s shameful, and it’s hateful, and so we’ve taught ourselves to fear it, to use caution, to be wary, to stay alert. Some of us have learned to ignore the spreading pool of blood, because we have to believe somehow we can coexist alongside you, even though your world was never intended for us. But we know — we know — it’s our blood. That it’s the blood of our children, our brothers, our cousins, our daughters, our aunts and grandparents. We know. We know to read you before you even acknowledge we’re in the room with you, to know you, to feel you out.
So you don’t kill us. So you don’t get close enough that the poison you didn’t feel seeping in draws us to a slow and painful death.
Or a quick and sudden one.
Like a shot in the chest.
Most murders in the US are intraracial: 86% of white murder victims were killed by a white perpetrator; 94% of black murder victims were killed by a black perpetrator. (Source: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/htius.pdf ) For 2005, in which about 8,000 black Americans were murdered (and all national violent crime rates have decreased since then), this comes out to a bit more than one murder a day, in a country of three hundred million people including somewhat more than thirty million black people, committed by a white perpetrator against a black victim, and a bit more than twenty a day committed by a black perpetrator against a black victim. Probably about fifteen black Americans die in car crashes each day, since approximately 115 Americans a day die that way.
No murder is anything less than a horrific crime, but this does not suggest that white people snapping and unleashing some postulated racist conditioning are the major threat to black people’s lives. (Not to mention that most murders, regardless of the races of victim and perpetrator, do not take place that way.)
But the question is whether Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin for any other reason than self-defense. If that is so, he should absolutely be punished to the full extent of the law.
And I’m well aware of the horrible things “ordinary, decent people” have done in situations like Nazi Germany, or the Stanford Prison Experiment, and how mob behavior works.
But if you’re actually proposing that I, or more than a tiny minority of people of any race, would ever kill someone because they bumped into me, or because they couldn’t answer my question about directions, or even because I was drunk and angry (I don’t drink, so just substitute someone who does), you have a seriously distorted view of other people.
It’s one thing to say “it only takes one” and to be constantly on guard. It’s another to attack a whole race of people for the actions of a very few.
Perfect gif is perfect.
Derrick Gaines, a 15-year-old of multiracial descent, was shot and killed by a South San Francisco Police Department officer on June 5, just before 9 p.m.
According to police, on the night of the shooting, an officer approached two teens who they said appeared to be “acting suspiciously.” Then, the police say, one of the teens—Derrick—ran, drew a gun from his waistband and pointed it—at which point the officer gunned him down.
Eyewitnesses tell a different story of events that night, and say that Derrick never drew a weapon and was instead shot down by an officer who brutalized and restrained him first—throwing him to the ground with such force that a shoe was knocked off his foot.
Derrick’s friends and family have staged multiple actions at the Arco gas station where the shooting happened. Despite their overwhelming grief, Derrick’s mother and great aunt, Rachel Guido-Red and Dolores Piper, are courageously demanding that the truth be heard.
They spoke with Socialist Worker’sabout what happened the night of Derrick’s death, and their struggle for justice.
“What is white privilege?”
I receive this question in my ask box at least once a month. Either that, or the statement that it doesn’t exist.
Well, let me give you an idea.
I went to Cheyenne this weekend to a political meet and greet, then decided to meet up with some pals at a dive bar that evening. I was heading down Pershing St. through a residential neighborhood, window down, smoking a cigarette, and listening to Dead Prez. Loud. It was dusk and nice and cool, so why not?
Suddenly, two cruisers pulled up behind me. Mind you, I was going maybe 31 in 30. I slowed to exactly 30. One officer pulled up beside me on the driver’s side in a 20 mph zone, and rolled down his passenger side window. He peered into the driver’s side of my car. His compadre was right on my bumper. The cop next to me flicked off his flashight, stuck his hand out of the driver’s side window, and waved back at the other officer, who proceeded to back off. They fell back, and within a block, they were both gone.
Why is this an example of white privilege? As analyzed by a pal of mine, Daymon, who is a person of color and went to high school in Cheyenne:
“1. Your first thought was that you were speeding, not driving while Black. Like me. That’s the flank move. Assuming they’re gonna need backup because your ass IS GETTING PULLED OVER.
2. You never turned the music down or anything. Why would you? It’s not like it suddenly made you more Black, unlike me. And by that, I mean a dangerous, suspicious Black man in a mostly white neighborhood. I’m probably there to do something to their daughters, you know? Doesn’t matter I was a loan officer in town when I moved back. A professional. Who lived in that neighborhood. I was just a snazzy-dressed uppity negro in a nice car daring to roll through their neighborhood.
3. When they found out you were white, you got a golden ticket instead of one for noise ordinance. I know a bunch of guys who got tickets for noise in white neighborhoods, even though we had our shit lower than their precious lily-white Ashleys and Dakotas listening to Eminem or some shit emo. If it had a beat, and you’re Black, obviously you’re a gangsta looking to deal those kids dope.
4. You wondered what the hell happened and shrugged it off. I don’t get that luxury.
In summary, congratulations, you’re white. Please move to the front of the line.”
I would imagine he’s not the only man who’s experienced this, nor the only person of color. And that, my friends, is an example of white privilege and its not-so-subtle benefits. I feel like an asshole for not recognizing it off the bat for what it was — like I said, I thought I was getting a speeding ticket.
And anyone who claims we live in post-racial America, well, I invite you to drive down Pershing Ave. listening to hip-hop — or another major residential street in a “nice” neighborhood. Daymon said he’s been pulled over on that street every single time he’s been home to visit family, even when listening to NPR — as he said, “it isn’t the stereo, it’s the skin, but listening to loud hip-hop isn’t going to plead my case for being a ‘legitimate’ Black man. This shit doesn’t happen in Denver. As much.”
Do it. See if you get flanked. Two cops having a bad night, a good night, or yet another example of systemic racism? You can probably guess where I stand.
I haven’t been pulled over but I have gotten ‘looks’ and the thing is, no matter what music it was, rock, hip-hop, jazz, or classical, I still got ‘looks’, like ‘wtf are you doing in this neighborhood? the brown part of the world is elsewhere, excuse you’. It makes me want to blast Public Enemy and stare them down but then I probably would get arrested. It’s idiotic and fucking frustrating but it always happens.
Jesse Owens at the Berlin Olympics, August 1936.
In August of 1936, American athlete Jesse Owens won four gold medals, setting three world records and tying a fourth in the 100 yard dash, all in front of Adolf Hitler, who had planned to use the games as a tool to promote the physical superiority of the Aryan race.
Funfact- While Hitler was pretty pissed that Owens won, it was Hitler who was gracious enough to actually acknowledge that Owens won.
“Hitler didn’t snub me – it was FDR who snubbed me. The president didn’t even send me a telegram.”
Owens was never invited to the White House to be congratulated, and he never received so much as a word from FDR or from Truman. Whereas Hitler sent Owens a commemorative photograph of himself.
You know you’re fucked up when even Hitler sends somebody a complimentary photograph and you didn’t send them jackshit.
omg, the very idea, Owens owned a personal photograph of hitler…like…the very idea of that just shakes me a bit, the ultimate racist sent you a picture of himself…omg
wow this is truly mindfucking
the fact that the ultimate racist of all racists acknowledged and sent a gift to owens
and america never gave two shits.
can you believe that?
Land of equality. This is why history is important. I never learned this in school, I wonder why.