Sweet! Kyle Kulinski reports.
I’m guessing this is another reason why people in the Klan hate integration!
Sweet! Kyle Kulinski reports.
I’m guessing this is another reason why people in the Klan hate integration!
Unfortunately racism is still apart of our society, and will most likely be for a long time to come.
There is a bitter debate over racism these days — specifically, whether or not it still exists in a way that actually matters. The argument against goes something like, “Sure, there are neo-Nazis and KKK and YouTube comment sections out there, but we’ve got a black president, for Christ’s sake! Racism has been banished to the craziest fringes of society.”
But science says that’s just not true — the prejudice persists, we’re just less aware of it, and there’s tons of proof that we’ll get into starting … now:
So, the other night, there were graduate seminary students in New York City who were out protesting the failure to indict anyone over the death of #EricGarner. The students agreed that they would engage in nonviolent demonstrations and civil disobedience. They locked arms.
And then the darndest thing happened.
The black student was arrested. The white student was told to get out of there and while another cop eventually cuffed him, he was let go.
Two of those were Shawn Torres, 23, and Benjamin Perry, 24, both graduate students at Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan. They took part in rolling demonstrations Friday night, as a cold, soaking rain swept across the city. At the end of the evening, they briefly blockaded the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive near Delancey Street and both were arrested, as they expected to be.
But Mr. Perry, a white man, and Mr. Torres, a black man, say what happened to them showed disparate treatment in subtle and stark ways. The president of the seminary has written to Mayor Bill de Blasio to suggest that the experiences of the students were “an object lesson” for retraining officers; the Police Department said it would have to review the details of the matter.
Standing on the road with arms linked just after 11 p.m., they heard a police sergeant’s final warning but had already decided they would disobey.
“We were peacefully offering ourselves up,” Mr. Perry said.
“Two officers grabbed me,” Mr. Torres said, and cuffed him with the plastic ties. “In the process, one of them ended up pushing Ben away. This is when the difference comes in.”
“I put my hands behind my head, waiting,” Mr. Perry said. “Another officer grabbed me and threw me face first on the ground. He put his head next to my ears and whispered, ‘Just get out of here.’ “
Mr. Torres, meanwhile, had been deposited in the back of a police van. “I was the first one,” he said.
Mr. Perry climbed to his feet. “I was bewildered, but I wasn’t going to leave Shawn,” he said. “I just stood there and waited. In 15 to 20 seconds, another officer saw me looking around. He cuffed me, but he didn’t want to process me. He took me around to other cops, saying, ‘Do you want to take this guy? I don’t want to be out that late.’ He was shopping me around.” Eventually he found an officer to escort Mr. Perry.
Racism is alive and well. The NYPD is investigating. There’s no reason to doubt the reporting or the claims by the two students. It’s a clear sign that police take a different position on how they interact with people, even when they’re doing the same thing right alongside each other.
But the stereotype that African Americans are excessively fond of watermelon emerged for a specific historical reason and served a specific political purpose. The trope came into full force when slaves won their emancipation during the Civil War. Free black people grew, ate, and sold watermelons, and in doing so made the fruit a symbol of their freedom. Southern whites, threatened by blacks’ newfound freedom, responded by making the fruit a symbol of black people’s perceived uncleanliness, laziness, childishness, and unwanted public presence. This racist trope then exploded in American popular culture, becoming so pervasive that its historical origin became obscure. Few Americans in 1900 would’ve guessed the stereotype was less than half a century old.
Not that the raw material for the racist watermelon trope didn’t exist before emancipation. In the early modern European imagination, the typical watermelon-eater was an Italian or Arab peasant. The watermelon, noted a British officer stationed in Egypt in 1801, was “a poor Arab’s feast,” a meager substitute for a proper meal. In the port city of Rosetta he saw the locals eating watermelons “ravenously … as if afraid the passer-by was going to snatch them away,” and watermelon rinds littered the streets. There, the fruit symbolized many of the same qualities as it would in post-emancipation America: uncleanliness, because eating watermelon is so messy. Laziness, because growing watermelons is so easy, and it’s hard to eat watermelon and keep working—it’s a fruit you have to sit down and eat. Childishness, because watermelons are sweet, colorful, and devoid of much nutritional value. And unwanted public presence, because it’s hard to eat a watermelon by yourself. These tropes made their way to America, but the watermelon did not yet have a racial meaning. Americans were just as likely to associate the watermelon with white Kentucky hillbillies or New Hampshire yokels as with black South Carolina slaves.
It may seem silly to attribute so much meaning to a fruit. And the truth is that there is nothing inherently racist about watermelons. But cultural symbols have the power to shape how we see our world and the people in it, such as when police officer Darren Wilson saw Michael Brown as a superhuman “demon.” These symbols have roots in real historical struggles—specifically, in the case of the watermelon, white people’s fear of the emancipated black body. Whites used the stereotype to denigrate black people—to take something they were using to further their own freedom, and make it an object of ridicule. It ultimately does not matter if someone means to offend when they tap into the racist watermelon stereotype, because the stereotype has a life of its own.
I’m glad I came across this since I never knew the history. I do remember my mother telling me that as a little girl she was taught to never eat watermelon or fried chicken in public.
So in 1994, I joined the St. Louis Police Department. I quickly realized how naive I’d been. I was floored by the dysfunctional culture I encountered.
I won’t say all, but many of my peers were deeply racist.
One example: A couple of officers ran a Web site called St. Louis Coptalk, where officers could post about their experience and opinions. At some point during my career, it became so full of racist rants that the site administrator temporarily shut it down. Cops routinely called anyone of color a “thug,” whether they were the victim or just a bystander.
Unfortunately, I don’t think better training alone will reduce police brutality. My fellow officers and I took plenty of classes on racial sensitivity and on limiting the use of force.
The problem is that cops aren’t held accountable for their actions, and they know it. These officers violate rights with impunity. They know there’s a different criminal justice system for civilians and police.
Even when officers get caught, they know they’ll be investigated by their friends, and put on paid leave. My colleagues would laughingly refer to this as a free vacation. It isn’t a punishment. And excessive force is almost always deemed acceptable in our courts and among our grand juries. Prosecutors are tight with law enforcement, and share the same values and ideas.
My emphasis added.
The problem with what Barkley says, though it is praised by conservatives — both black and white — is that he is, in the main, wrong. He seems to see black people as somehow existing outside of mainstream American behavior and culture. The “acting white,” idea, also trumpeted at times by President Obama, has been debunked. It is not a black thing, it is a version of nerds vs. jocks that exists in every high school. Same thing with whipping kids with a switch, which is cross-cultural and all-American.
What’s much more fascinating than Barkley’s statements is that our national and political culture always seems to have a place for the black scold, along with broad and ill-informed generalities about black culture and behavior. There is no such thing as the white scold. There is no famous white commentator or politician who pontificates on white culture and what whites should be doing differently as a people.
Is there anything that says “Native American” more than Sondra Lee?
If you answered “yes, almost everything,” well, bingo. But that didn’t stop Jerome Robbins from casting the platinum blond Ms. Lee as Tiger Lily in his 1954 musical adaptation of J. M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan,” which went on to be a hit on Broadway and in later telecasts on NBC.
The character, portrayed with sprightly verve by Ms. Lee, was among the most memorable of the production, but it hasn’t aged gracefully.
The casting would seem to be a remnant of a benighted era, except for the fact that earlier this year Rooney Mara was cast as Tiger Lily in “Pan,” a new film adaption due out in 2015. The move prompted jeers and at least one petition for Hollywood to stop hiring white actors to play characters of color.
All of which put the casting of Tiger Lily and a reworking of the song “Ugg-A-Wugg” near the top of the list of things NBC’s new “Peter Pan Live!,” which debuts at 8 p.m. Thursday Eastern time, had to get right.
“Tiger Lily needed to be Native American — that’s how Barrie conceived the role,” said Neil Meron, an executive producer. But the treatment can’t be “insulting to the Native American community,” he said.
The song (from the 1950’s), and the entire portrayal of “Native Americans” (or “Red Indians” as they are called in the original) in this play written 110 years ago, is racist as fuck.
The 1980’s version, with Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman, did away with that Tiger Lily altogether and introduced a new character, “Rufio” who was played by a Native or Asian actor.
The 1950’s version (which Mary Martin totally OWNED forever) was enough of a departure from the Barrie original, that removing all the racist shit from a new version would not be a horrific departure from tradition, and I am kind of fond of the Williams/Hoffman version.
Rooney “Dragon Tattoo” McWhitegirl? Why not Lupita N’yongyo as the Native Princess? Why not Lupita as Peter Pan, as the Pirate Queen, as ALL THE THINGS.
Policing in America is not broken. The judicial system is not broken. American society is not broken. All are functioning perfectly, doing exactly what they have done since before some of this nation’s most prosperous slave-murdering robber-barons came together to consecrate into statehood the mechanisms of their barbarism. Democracy functions. Politicians, deriving their legitimacy from the public, have discerned the will of the people and used it to design and enact policies that carry it out, among them those that govern the allowable levels of violence which state can visit upon citizen. Taken together with the myriad other indignities, thefts, and cruelties it visits upon black and brown people, and the work common white Americans do on its behalf by telling themselves bald fictions of some deep and true America of apple pies, Jesus, and people being neighborly to each other and betrayed by those few and nonrepresentative bad apples with their isolated acts of meanness, the public will demands and enables a whirring and efficient machine that does what it does for the benefit of those who own it. It processes black and brown bodies into white power.
That is what America does. It is not broken. That is exactly what is wrong with it.
And still, a long way to go.
More than four-in-ten white Americans still say whites are more hardworking than blacks, and one-in-five say whites are more intelligent. Similarly, a majority of whites say that lack of willpower among blacks is driving racial inequality, and one-in-ten say that blacks are poor simply because of a lesser ability to learn.
It’s hard to look at these numbers and conclude that we somehow live in a “post-racial” society, or to believe, as a majority of whites do, that racism against whites is as big a problem as racism against blacks.
But numbers like the 25 percent of white Americans who would be upset by an interracial marriage in the family show that racism is still a very explicit phenomenon. Since we know that people have a tendency to tell pollsters what they think they want to hear, these numbers are likely undercounts, and potentially large ones.
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Last updated: 2014-12-15 2:06 pm PST
All right, Zubin, hit it! -- Frank's onstage cue to conductor Zubin Mehta during their collaborative effort with the L.A. Philharmonic orchestra in 1970