Thursday, April 12, 2012

What I would have said about the Trayvon Martin case

There is something about the subtle, not provably deliberate de-racializing conversations surrounding the Trayvon Martin killing that just rub many Black people the wrong way. When Jay Leno interviews Piers Morgan as an expert, and everyone is clearly sympathetic to the Martin family for their loss, what can you say when they try to take race out of the narrative? Well, you have to say something.

Jill (Cheryl Contee) says it very well. Here's one quote from her April 12 JJP post, and then please go check out the original.

The step backward then is the misunderstanding, the lack of connection of race to what happened. The bewilderment I see in white people’s eyes as they ask — how did this even happen? They are shocked! Shocked, confused and dismayed! The Trayvon case is not shocking for African-Americans. Infuriating, yes. Disgusting, yes. But sadly…so sadly not shocking. Ok so white folks, just so we’re all clear — this happened because unlike your kid (or you), Trayvon was not white. And this kind of thing has a way of happening to not-white people sort of regularly.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

An Awkward Black Girl article that isn't awkward

Cross-posting from Thursday's open thread at JJP.

Awkward Black Girl update. Just a reminder that the Internet isn't a post-racial paradise... Oh, you knew that

Good article and very interesting examples of the vitriol one can condense into 140 characters...
I won an award for my web series, Awkward Black Girl, and then the racists tweets came out of the woodwork...
Image from @awkwardblkgrl's Twitter profile.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Because I don't know where else to post this

From Crayola®, the people who brought you "flesh" as a crayon choice back in the day, we give you Outdoor Colored Bubbles. Don't invite them in, is my advice. This was taken in a Walgreen's in Houston, Texas a few days ago. No, I didn't buy any. Yes, it says "Color Rubs off of Skin!" And that is indeed an indeterminate-race kid on the box, indicating fun for all.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Digital Divide, redux & threedux

Ending basic "last resort" land-line phone service in rural areas would dismantle yet another safety net. If you don't think it applies, I suggest it looks like a test case for doing the same in unprofitable urban areas.

h/t Zandar for semi-channeling the late Jim Croce (and a JJP commenter for pointing this story out in the first place):

Monday, February 20, 2012
You Can Keep The Dime, OperatorPosted by Zandar 
When you privatize a utility and cry "Government has no business in business!" and leave everything up to the free market and profit motive, you invariably get people who are priced out of the market.

McClatchy stories tend to be around for 7 to 14 days before archiving, so take a look early at the details here:

Kentucky phone companies push to end basic service
By John Cheves | The Lexington Herald-Leader 
FRANKFORT — Kentucky's telephone industry wants the option to end basic phone service in less profitable parts of their territories if other communications options, such as cell phones or the Internet, are available in the area...
From our "That's a Big If" Dept., later in the story:

"For a lot of people in Eastern Kentucky, their land line is their life line," said Cathy Allgood Murphy, AARP Kentucky's associate state director. "They may not be able to afford an Internet connection, and they don't have cell phones because their communities, in the mountains, don't get cell phone reception." 
The industry is pushing Senate Bill 135, referred to as "the AT&T bill" by its sponsor and others because it originated with that company's lobbyists...
That's 31 lobbyists in Frankfort alone, by the way.

Monday, February 20, 2012

P6 is busy. I think he'd appreciate some posts from the network.

I immediately thought of Prometheus6 when I saw these two techie items. He is real-world occupied as you can tell from his site. We can't fill his shoes but how about jumping in on your own blog or site with a P6 topic?

First, the nanobots:

Second, the civilian version of the "We know what you're up to" drone:

Animal rights group says drone shot down
...Steve Hindi, president of SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness), said his group was preparing to launch its Mikrokopter drone to video what he called a live pigeon shoot on Sunday when law enforcement officers and an attorney claiming to represent the privately-owned plantation near Ehrhardt tried to stop the aircraft from flying...

And here's the homespun video of the incident. (Sorry, no embedding for this one.)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Black Male Student Success

Since there has been quite a gap between my last post and this, I want to start on a positive note that is nonetheless on the theme of reclaiming "the other two-fifths" of the existence that was designed into the U.S. Constitution at the end of the 18th Century. There is bound to be plenty to grouse about later as this election year unfolds.

The first snippet below comes from excellent coverage a few days ago at Inside Higher Ed. If there were no month of February, we'd have to invent it just to accommodate stories like this:

When Black Men Succeed
February 6, 2012 - 3:00am
By Doug Lederman

The litany of bad news about the status of black men in higher education is by now familiar. They make up barely 4 percent of all undergraduate students, the same proportion as in 1976. They come into college less prepared than their peers for the rigors of college-level academic work. Their completion rates are the lowest of all major racial and ethnic groups in the U.S.

Shaun R. Harper is tired of hearing the list. It's not that he believes it's inaccurate -- the facts are the facts -- or irrelevant. But what troubles Harper, an associate professor of higher education at the University of Pennsylvania, is that it's pretty much all that we hear, in higher education research, in news reports, and as reflected in campus policies. That single-minded theme struck Harper personally as incomplete, since it didn't reflect his own experience or that of many black men he knew... [emphasis added]

Professor Harper could have just kvetched, but instead undertook the largest qualitative study to date that takes as its premise black male success and not black male pathology, the National Black Male College Achievement Study. Here is the link to the PDF of the study:


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wake up, Dorothy. You were never in Kansas

[Big ol' tip o' the fedora to Prometheus6 for snapping me out of "too busy to post" mode.]

Apparently you can make death threats against a Presidential candidate (translation: a black candidate, specifically Barack Obama) on the Internet and get away with it.

Man's call for Obama assassination is free speech, not crime, court rules
July 19, 2011 | 4:27 pm

A La Mesa man who posted racial epithets and a call to "shoot" Barack Obama on an Internet chat site was engaging in constitutionally protected free speech, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in overturning his criminal conviction...

...the statute doesn't criminalize "predictions or exhortations to others to injure or kill the president," said the majority opinion written by Judge Stephen Reinhardt.

"When our law punishes words, we must examine the surrounding circumstances to discern the significance of those words’ utterance, but must not distort or embellish their plain meaning so that the law may reach them," said the 2-1 ruling in which Chief Judge Alex Kozinski joined but Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw dissented.

Quick now, who's surprised? And who thinks this would be consistently applied to threats against a white candidate? And who thinks the (two) judges in the majority are sure in their own minds that race played no part in their decision?

Full decision here.