Dear White People

“Dear White People” is touted as movie satire of the post-Obama era. To be honest, I haven’t seen it yet. Should be interesting….

 

And – “Racism Insurance”

 

Fascinating is this piece in American Prospect. If you follow the link there and look at the comment section – you will find the sort of racism discussed in the movie – here are a few, just from the few hours this one has been up:

“Black people can’t be racist. . .” is the latest argument from The Left.

It is a crap argument (obviously).

Proof? The country elected its first African-American (how i loath that term) President and the Black people embraced this as “pay back time”.
Which, of course, is Racist to the core. And now they are finally learning — you become what you believe to be true about others. (Now THAT truly is “pay back”) :0)

“Six years into his presidency, I am still waiting for my presents.”

Maybe if you have enough pride, integrity, and self respect to not sign up for your *FREE* Obamaphone, they don’t send you one.

The problem is the black community lives under a false pretense that the Democratic Party has it’s best interests at heart. The problem is the system is designed to keep blacks from being educated by unionizing teachers who have poor teaching skills and can’t be fired. The system also provides welfare instead of trade education…Democrat politicians run inner city schools with a mixture of incompetence and corruption, also turning a blind eye to the devastating end result of a social welfare system that breaks down ambition, creates idle time (and you know whose plaything that is) and fosters black on black crime that you are terrified to address, rather focusing on statistically insignificant (in comparison) white on black crime.

Grow up, don’t do hard drugs, finish school, don’t have babies out of wedlock.

You too can have “Privilege.”

After Ferguson, ‘Dear White People’ Arrives Right On Time

Satirizing racial tensions in the so-called post-racial America, Justin Simien’s film, Dear White People, follows the lives of several students at Winchester University, a fictional, mostly-white Ivy League college.  As it explores the topics of racism, white privilege, affirmative action and interracial relationships, the film almost serves as a rebuttal to everything claimed by people who deny that racism and white privilege exists.

At Winchester, students live in dorms fashioned as houses, with Armstrong Parker House being the house where black students have traditionally chosen to live. In the beginning of the film, Samantha White runs for head of house opposite her ex-boyfriend and son of the dean of students, Troy Fairbanks. Samantha wins. When Kurt Fletcher—son of the university president—picks an argument in the Armstrong Parker dining hall using thinly veiled racist comments, Samantha kicks him out, and strains begin to simmer.

Samantha hosts a radio show called Dear White People, using her platform to dole out bits of advice to fellow students. Some of them are funny: “Dear white people, the number of black friends required in order to not be considered racist just been raised to two.” While others point out backhanded bigotry: “Dear white people…dating a black guy just to make your parents mad is a form of racism.” Her radio show is a kind of public service, offering a glimpse of racism from a black person’s point of view.

To some it may seem like because black bus passengers are no longer relegated to the seats in the back and we no longer have separate water fountains, that racism is over. But to blacks, the quips from Samantha White’s radio show represents the myriad ways in which we still encounter racism today.

Inspired by real events, the climax of the movie is a Halloween party thrown by white students. The invitation calls for students to come out and “liberate their inner negro.” The theme? Dress up as a black person. White students don blackface and dance haphazardly to rap music. They pose for pictures contorting their fingers in what they think are gang signs. It’s offensive, but perhaps the most offensive thing is that this part isn’t fictional—several colleges have dealt with white students throwing parties just like this. When black students get wind of the event, they crash it and the racial tension on campus finally boils over.

But the most important moment in the film is when Samantha White, defines racism: “Black people can’t be racist, she says. “Prejudiced, yes, but not racist. Racism describes a systemic advantage based on race. Black people can’t be racists since we don’t stand to benefit from such a system.” The treatment of white rioters and black protesters by the mainstream media is an accurate reflection of this definition.

In the wake of the ongoing protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, Dear White People is a cultural assessment that arrived right on time. Look at how Ferguson protesters were labeled as “rioters” and “thugs” while white students who rioted at a pumpkin festival for no apparent reason were simply “unruly” kids. That’s but one of many forms of the systemic privilege the Samantha White character is referencing.

Of course, screenwriter and director Justin Simien didn’t need Ferguson to make Dear White People timely. Systemic white privilege and the language of racism is an American tradition as old as the republic.

One doesn’t need to look any further than the vitriol spewed at President Barack Obama. Conservative pundits never miss a chance to claim that Obama is not a real American (see: white). He’s been called the food-stamp president, the affirmative-action president, and has been accused of giving free stuff to black people. (Six years into his presidency, I am still waiting for my presents.)

Undoubtedly, there will be people who continue to pretend that white privilege is a myth. They will decry the movie as “reverse racism” but Dear White People has a response. “How would you like if someone made a Dear Black People?” asks a white student in one scene. Samantha informs him that there’s no need, because media outlets, like Fox News, have already made it very clear how white America feels about black people.

Dear White People is a fresh take on being black in a white world. While the film leaves a bit to be desired in terms of deeper exploration of the issues at hand, it’s still a must-see—especially for white people.

Fear of a Brown Planet – Reverse Racism

Comedian Aamer Rahman gives an excellent explanation of “reverse racism:…

 

Tell Us How You Really Feel… Republican Delegate Attacks CNN Camerawoman

Or why Republicans get 0% of the black vote…

The only “critters” here…

Republican Attendee Allegedly Threw Nuts At Black CNN Camerawoman, Called Her An ‘Animal’

An attendee at the Republican National Convention was allegedly thrown out of the convention center in Tampa on Tuesday after throwing nuts at a black CNN camerawoman and saying, “this is how we feed the animals.”

Former MSNBC and Current host David Shuster, who is attending the convention, tweeted about the incident earlier on.

Talking Points Memo then reached out to CNN, which confirmed that an incident had taken place in a statement it later sent to The Huffington Post.

“CNN can confirm there was an incident directed at an employee inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum earlier this afternoon,” the statement read. “CNN worked with convention officials to address this matter and will have no further comment.”

There was no immediate mention of the attack on CNN’s air.

The incident would be ugly anywhere, but it is especially troubling for a party whose nominee attracted 0 percent of the black vote in a recent NBC poll.

I guess the amazing part to me is Mia Love and Artur Davis standing up there on the podium giving cover to these clowns. Speaks deeply to the (lack of ) morals and integrity of some folks.

Dear White People…

Not sure what yet another film is going to do to salve or clarify race relations in the US. But – a young brother wants to get into the film business… Which is progress. And I think he’s got some talent.

This one by Justin Smith.

The Birth Of ‘Dear White People’

Perhaps it was being mistaken for the one other Black guy in my office by a colleague who had worked with him for years… Or perhaps it was being asked repeatedly by co-workers to teach them the Single Ladies Dance? Either way something provoked me to go on Twitter as @DearWhitePeople two years ago and start tweeting things like:

“Dear White People. The single ladies dance is dead. Please turn off your web cams and go on about your lives.”

Meant to articulate the sometimes funny, mostly harmless, but occasionally painful experience of being a Black face in a vastly white place (i.e. most Hollywood work environments) @DearWhitePeople also served an ulterior motive of mine.

I’d been working for some time on a satire about race identity. The feature script for Dear White People follows the events leading up to a race riot a prestigious predominately white university through the perspectives of four very different Black students. While the script was culled from my
own college experiences and those of others I knew, I wanted to test out the voice of my lead character, Sam White, whose radio show “Dear White People” gives the film its title.

Sam, a kind of amalgamation of Dap from School Daze and iconic activist Angela Davis had a lot to say and I wanted to know what resonated with people.

As I charged through several drafts of the script, feedback from the twitter account would make its way into the project. Tweets that asked how I would feel if there was a “Dear Black People” prompted responses such as:

“Dear White People, there’s no need for a Dear Black People. Reality
shows on VH1 and Bravo let us know exactly how you feel about us.” Continue reading

Who’s Your Daddy? About Black Folks and Charity

That Christian spirit… Don’t believe it?

Check this out.

Charitable Donations: Blacks Outpace Whites

Black Emplyees Influence Corporations to Give

Reuters is reporting today on a study showing that African American donors give higher percentages of their incomes to charity than their white counterparts, with nearly two-thirds of black households make charitable donations, worth a total of about $11 billion a year. And it’s not just a little more: that number means black donors turn over a full 25 percent more of their incomes than white donors annually, according to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors research.  The results have many wondering why more African Americans don’t self-identify as philanthropists.

From Reuters:

But they don’t see themselves as big players in the charitable arena, and that presents an image problem, say experts like Judy Belk, a senior vice president for Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

“African Americans have been very uncomfortable with the title of philanthropist,” Belk said. “If you don’t see role models who look like you when people start talking about issues related to philanthropy, you start believing, ‘Hey, maybe I’m not a philanthropist.'”

Belk said she got so weary of hearing this that she helped produce a 12-minute video released in November, dubbed, “I Am A Philanthropist,” which features diverse faces, races and ethnicities of donors and grant-makers. .  .

The report cites black churches as a historically important repository of giving, but notes that other important causes are coming to the fore.

While religious giving was the largest charitable category overall, it leveled off in dollar terms in 2010, according to Giving USA, a Chicago-area foundation that publishes philanthropy data and trends. At the same time, contributions for the arts increased almost 6 percent, a trend that was consistent across all racial groups.

Where is the Black Community?

I grew up in an all-black suburban community defined by segregation. Our community was essentially an Island in an otherwise all white sea defined by housing restrictions and covenants.

Living in the suburbs in those days meant having ties to other black communities which existed in sometimes disparate areas defined by post Civil War realities. Your barber or hairdresser might be in another community. The segregated black schools drew from communities which could be 20 or 30 miles from each other leading to long bus rides, and by High School – the students coming from a geographic region, instead of a “community”. Social activities such as house parties could be 30 or more miles away.

Tying this together were the remnants of the 40’s era segregation. Many of the communities, if large enough – had a baseball team. Sunday evenings were filled with crack of a bat as communities met on local fields to root for their respective local teams.

So the “black community”, at least in the suburban sense that I grew up with was always a “virtual” entity.

The stock in trade of black conservatives is to discuss shortcomings of the “black community”. The problem with that line of “thinking” is that the black community in the pre-60’s sense – has ceased to exist. The remnants of those communities, where they exist at all –  largely exist today as urban pockets. The black diaspora has not only changed the nature and makeup of the pre-desegregation black community – it has changed the racial dynamic of previously white communities. The urban pocket community is no more a representation of the black community than $5 million houses in an upscale Jersey community are representative of the “white community” as a whole in the US. Quite simply America has changed – and like any major social change the impact is complex.

John McWhorter discusses the impact of desegregation in this article. I find it amusing when people who never experienced segregation talk about how wonderful it was…Segregation Is Down. Great News, Right?

Segregation Is Down. Great News, Right?

When Newt Gingrich says that housing project people don’t work, our job is to show that they do. When he says that Obama is the “food stamp” president, our job is to show that most food stamp recipients are white. When Ron Paul writes that we’re about to start rioting again, we are to make sure that everybody knows we’re not.

In other words, although this isn’t the lesson usually taken from these recent episodes, it would appear that we are getting more comfortable admitting that progress happens for us. Real progress, even if racism still exists, as it always will. And not just symbolic progress, such as having a black president. When we get angry at whites depicting us as poster children, we are saying that being black is less of a problem in 2012, even if it occasionally still is one.

Well, now there’s more good news. We need to trumpet it to the skies as eagerly as we do the news that not so many of us use food stamps. It’s about segregation: This new report by Edward Glaeser and Jacob Vigdor shows that black Americans are living under less of it than at any time since William Howard Taft was president.

As Glaeser and Vigdor, writing for the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, show, “As of 2010, the separation of African-Americans from individuals of other races has stood at its lowest level in nearly a century. Fifty years ago, nearly half the black population lived in what might be termed a ‘ghetto’ neighborhood, with an African-American share above 80 percent. Today, that proportion has fallen to 20 percent.”

Indeed, I used to work for the Manhattan Institute and am proud of it. But I am hardly the only one who will be writing about this report this week, and I would be shouting it to the heavens even if I used to work for Burger King. This is important news.

So often we are told that despite the civil rights revolution, black America’s big problem is segregation. Black people live together too much, we are told. And when everybody is black and poor, then we have to understand that the neighborhood must fall to pieces. Not enough middle-class role models, we are told. About twice a year the New York Times runs a story on segregation that pings around the country madly for weeks, in which assorted people are quoted spinning variations on “We’ve come a long way, but we have a long way to go.”

Here, then, is a story about the way we’ve come. From 1970 to 2010, segregation declined for black people in all 85 of the nation’s largest metro areas. From just 2000 to 2010, segregation declined in 522 out of 658 housing markets. By 2010, out of 72,531 census tracts, only 424 had no black people in them. And as recently as 2000, that number had been 902. In 1960, there were 4,700 all-white neighborhoods in America. Today there are 170. We’re everywhere! (More)

Mormons and Black Folk

Went to college in the West. One of the schools we played sports against every so often was Brigham Young. Starting in the mid-late 60’s, as a result of the Civil Rights movement, the pushback against the racist teachings of the Mormon Church historically and at that time became much more intense. While there certainly are Mormons who are racist, as there are in just about any other religion – Mormons weren’t really a part of the Southern racism which drove segregation and Jim Crow. It fell into the category of “other”…

Historically, the issue surrounded Church Founders views and “revelations”. Revelations which were not inconsistent with anti-abolition racial attitudes at the time of the founding of the Church.

BYU Choir - These Folks Can Sing!

Mormons were a bit thin on the ground here in Northern Virginia until the mid 60’s. I remember my parents always attending various social events for the Links, my Mother’s Sorority, and the black fraternities at the Marriott Key Bridges.  Bill Marriott, the founder of the Hotel Chain was probably the local area’s best know Mormon. I asked my Dad, why the various events were always at the Marriott – and he said “It’s because it’s the only major hotel in the area which will rent ballroom facilities to black folks.” Turns out, Marriott Hotels didn’t segregate, whereas every other hotel from the HoJos to the Hilton did in the South. Many black organizations were loyal to Marriott for a generation because of that.

You can’t regulate what someone thinks of you, but it is ultimately their actions towards you which really count.

Mormons, particularly those from the Wast – are about the “whitest” folks in America. I’m a big fan of the NBC show, “The Sing Off”, and have to confess that I love the sound of a Choir, whether Gospel or “traditional” (maybe because I can’t sing a lick). The Brigham Young University Choir is one of the best of the best from year to year, and this year the guys doing A Capella on the Sing Off were very good. BYU Choirs also compete against HBCUs in Gospel. One of the Sing Off segments involved singing traditional R&B this year, to which several of the singers had a laugh about some white boys from BYU trying to sing Soul Music coming from a background where not much beyond pops and country is played on the radio. Good sense of humor.

So, if Mitt Romney is the Republican Presidential candidate – will most black folks not be voting for him because he is a Mormon… Or because he is a Republican. I honestly think that Republican thing, and the bad racial freight attached to that is what counts, anymore.

Has the Mormon Church Truly Left Its Race Problems Behind?

The Mormon Cathedral in DC, euphemistically called "The Wizard of Oz Cathedral" by locals as it rises majestically above the Beltway

It’s looking more and more likely that Barack Obama will be facing Mitt Romney next November. According to recent polls, Romney’s much-debated “Mormon Problem”—considered by some to be a main roadblock to the Republican nomination in 2008—has decreased in salience among the white evangelicals on whom he’ll probably depend in both the primary and general elections. But one element of the Mormon problem that’s yet to be vetted will come into stark relief should this match-up take place: the Mormon Church’s troubling history of racial exclusion.

This history is a long one, stretching back to the inception of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in the 1830s. Joseph Smith Jr., the founder of Mormonism, ran for president in 1844 as a moderate abolitionist; ordained a black man, Elijah Abel; and offered to adopt one young black convert, Jane Manning James, as his spiritual daughter. Yet earlier in his life, Smith wrote anti-abolitionist screeds replete with racist sentiment typical of Christian pro-slavery apologists of antebellum America. In one 1836 letter to missionaries in the South, Smith excoriated northern abolitionists as the instigators of discord among southern slaves who, he argued, were generally happy.

Other figures early in the Church’s history illustrated such prejudices as well. The Mormon Prophet Brigham Young stated in 1852, “Any man having one drop of the seed of [Cain] … in him cannot hold the priesthood.” Up until the mid-twentieth-century, some prophets perpetuated the idea that blacks were spiritually inferior, the permanently cursed descendants of Ham and Cain (a myth once popular in many American churches). In 1931, Church President Joseph Fielding Smith, the great-nephew of Joseph Smith Jr., wrote a widely distributed treatise—still available on Kindle—asserting that blacks were “fence-sitters” during a pre-mortal battle between God and Lucifer. When they were sent to Earth, according to Fielding Smith, blacks were marked with darkened skin as a permanent reminder of their perfidy. Until 1978, black men were forbidden from holding the Mormon priesthood, a sacred status that almost every Mormon male attains, and black couples could not marry in Mormon temples, a revered ceremony that Mormons believe unites the family for eternity.

This aspect of LDS history will probably prove less of a problem for Romney than for his Church, which is actively trying to change the dominant perception of Mormons as all but exclusively white. Romney’s presidential bid does not rely on the black vote, and he has put distance between himself and the history of racial exclusion once practiced by his church. On “Meet the Press” in 2007, Romney tearfully recalled the moment in 1978 when he heard that the Church had lifted the century-and-half-long ban on blacks holding the Mormon priesthood. “I was driving home from … law school. … I heard it on the radio and I pulled over and literally wept.” Since then, Romney has reached out to some black communities; a January 2008 Salt Lake Tribune article reported that Romney aided poor Massachusetts Haitians—using the French he acquired as a young missionary—while serving as the Church’s regional leader in Boston in the 1990s…

Read the rest here.

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