Neil deGrasse Tyson on being profiled as a kid…
In response to a question, about whether genetic differences might explain why there are fewer women than men in science, he recounted this episode from his childhood:
“I walked out of a store one time, and the alarm went off, and so they came running to me. I walked through the gate at the same time a white male walked through the gate. And that guy just walked off with the stolen goods, KNOWING they would’ve stopped me and not him. That’s an interesting sort of exploitation – what a scam that was.”
“So my life experience tells me that when you don’t find blacks in the sciences, you don’t find women in the sciences, I know that these forces are real, and I had to survive them in order to get where I am today. So before we start talking about genetic differences, you gotta come up with a system where there’s equal opportunity. Then we can have that conversation.”
Scroll to an hour and two minutes into the video.

Neil deGrasse Tyson on being profiled as a kid…

In response to a question, about whether genetic differences might explain why there are fewer women than men in science, he recounted this episode from his childhood:

“I walked out of a store one time, and the alarm went off, and so they came running to me. I walked through the gate at the same time a white male walked through the gate. And that guy just walked off with the stolen goods, KNOWING they would’ve stopped me and not him. That’s an interesting sort of exploitation – what a scam that was.”

“So my life experience tells me that when you don’t find blacks in the sciences, you don’t find women in the sciences, I know that these forces are real, and I had to survive them in order to get where I am today. So before we start talking about genetic differences, you gotta come up with a system where there’s equal opportunity. Then we can have that conversation.

Scroll to an hour and two minutes into the video.

retronewyork
Fifty years ago, the World’s Fair opened on a former garbage-dump in Queens, drawing over 50 million people. For most of those attendees, race relations was probably the last thing on their mind, which is exactly why protesters crashed the party, repeatedly, and made the Fair a battleground for civil rights.
Groups like the Congress for Racial Equality organized demonstrations, resulting in hundreds of arrests. Some were there to protest the discriminatory hiring policies of companies exhibiting at the Fair, or to goad President Johnson, who spoke at the opening, into helping pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Opposition to the act was intense. On March 30, just three weeks before the Fair opened, Senator Richard Russell (D-GA) declared during a filibuster, ”We will resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our (Southern) states.”
But it wasn’t enough. The Civil Rights Act was passed by Congress, and in July, LBJ signed it into law. 
retronewyork:

World’s Fair New York 1964
photo by Garry Winogrand

Fifty years ago, the World’s Fair opened on a former garbage-dump in Queens, drawing over 50 million people. For most of those attendees, race relations was probably the last thing on their mind, which is exactly why protesters crashed the party, repeatedly, and made the Fair a battleground for civil rights.

Groups like the Congress for Racial Equality organized demonstrations, resulting in hundreds of arrests. Some were there to protest the discriminatory hiring policies of companies exhibiting at the Fair, or to goad President Johnson, who spoke at the opening, into helping pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Opposition to the act was intense. On March 30, just three weeks before the Fair opened, Senator Richard Russell (D-GA) declared during a filibuster, ”We will resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our (Southern) states.”

But it wasn’t enough. The Civil Rights Act was passed by Congress, and in July, LBJ signed it into law. 

retronewyork:

World’s Fair New York 1964

photo by Garry Winogrand

What’s the social value of making fun of people?

In their new Time magazine cover article, "The Case for Mockery," Key and Peele argue that political correctness has overrun American culture, and that mocking people — even the most vulnerable or maligned members of society — helps pull them in from the sidelines, and into “the greater human conversation.” 

"When a humorist makes the conscious decision to exclude a group from derision, isn’t he or she implying that the members of that group are not capable of self-reflection? Or don’t possess the mental faculties to recognize the nuances of satire? A group that’s excluded never gets the opportunity to join in the greater human conversation.

"Luckily, a lot of people get this–at least when it comes to their own cultures. Like the burn victim in our sketch, they plead, ‘You skipped me! Do me!’"

viagrastrong

This is a performance piece that’s generating a lot of heat and outrage but no real answers. I’m genuinely confused — what exactly is the artist’s objective? Based on some of the angry Tumblr comments I’m seeing, maybe it’s to show that women who dress a certain way are objectified. Or is it that BLACK women become spectacles when they enter rarefied environments like the Museum of Modern Art? Or is it just black women who dress provocatively? In which case I wonder how she’d be perceived in another space: would people in, say, the Bronx ignore her, or would they also take pictures? Unfortunately there’s no way for us to know, or for that matter, to see whether people are just as likely to take pictures of a MAN dressed like that. Or is the ultimate message just, “People, ask for permission before you take someone’s picture?” Good art often provokes a lot of questions but I don’t really feel provoked as much as manipulated, and annoyed.

viagrastrong:

ken-yadigit:

blackjatovia:

This video is revelatory. 

This was actually really interesting.

so like… I want to know the point behind this? what was trying to be proven and what did she expect to happen? I’m not tryna come off but like… what happened wasn’t surprising. at all.

As a kid, whenever my family visited India I’d hear how great Pears soap was, and I could never figure out why. It just had an aura. Now I know — check out the wretched native in the corner, getting Pears soap like it’s a communion wafer. [via] 
btw, I’m looking for old TV commercials of skin-lightening products — know of any? 

As a kid, whenever my family visited India I’d hear how great Pears soap was, and I could never figure out why. It just had an aura. Now I know — check out the wretched native in the corner, getting Pears soap like it’s a communion wafer. [via

btw, I’m looking for old TV commercials of skin-lightening products — know of any? 

When it comes to social status, ancestry is everything. Social mobility, says economist Gregory Clark in this controversial NYT essay, is “much slower than many of us believe, or want to believe.” Not just in the U.S., but in the UK and even places like Sweden. 

The fortunes of high-status families inexorably fall, and those of low-status families rise, toward the average — what social scientists call “regression to the mean” — but the process can take 10 to 15 generations (300 to 450 years), much longer than most social scientists have estimated in the past.

So according to Clark’s argument, the American Medical Association’s directory of physicians in America will be disproportionately represented by Indian and Ashkenazi Jewish names, for hundreds of years to come. While common black surnames like Washington will barely register.
But Clark says we’re not entirely helpless.

Large-scale, rapid social mobility is impossible to legislate. What governments can do is ameliorate the effects of life’s inherent unfairness. Where we will fall within the social spectrum is largely fated at birth. Given that fact, we have to decide how much reward, or punishment, should be attached to what is ultimately fickle and arbitrary, the lottery of your lineage.

When it comes to social status, ancestry is everything. Social mobility, says economist Gregory Clark in this controversial NYT essay, is “much slower than many of us believe, or want to believe.” Not just in the U.S., but in the UK and even places like Sweden. 

The fortunes of high-status families inexorably fall, and those of low-status families rise, toward the average — what social scientists call “regression to the mean” — but the process can take 10 to 15 generations (300 to 450 years), much longer than most social scientists have estimated in the past.

So according to Clark’s argument, the American Medical Association’s directory of physicians in America will be disproportionately represented by Indian and Ashkenazi Jewish names, for hundreds of years to come. While common black surnames like Washington will barely register.

But Clark says we’re not entirely helpless.

Large-scale, rapid social mobility is impossible to legislate. What governments can do is ameliorate the effects of life’s inherent unfairness. Where we will fall within the social spectrum is largely fated at birth. Given that fact, we have to decide how much reward, or punishment, should be attached to what is ultimately fickle and arbitrary, the lottery of your lineage.

thesoftghetto

Nichelle Nichols, aka Uhura on filming the first inter-racial kiss for TV. Her cultural impact was so profound that when she told Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr of her plans to leave the show, he forcefully argued against it

"The world sees us for the first time as we should be seen."

nichelle nichols on filming the first interracial kiss on television [x]

That’s African pop star Dencia on the left… and on the right. 
Her new skin-lightening cream, WHITENICIOUS, is apparently making some SERIOUS CA$H. 
In her interview this week with Ebony, she says 80% of her customers are African-American, not African. And strangely, 10% of her customers are white. 
On the name:

You know, I was coming up with all these glamorous things and my best friend was like “Nah, ‘Whitenicious’ is good.” And when she gave me the name, I was looking up definitions of white. Ok let me define how I see white. (reads) “The color white affects the mind and the body by aiding in mental clarity, promoting feelings of fresh beginnings and renewal assisting in cleansing, clearing obstacles and clutter and encouraging purification.” And guess what? Dark spots is obstacles. Hyperpigmenation is obstacles. 

Dencia also insists (wrongly) there’s no medical research on the link between skin whitening and cancer.
Read the rest of Ebony’s interview with Dencia.

That’s African pop star Dencia on the left… and on the right. 

Her new skin-lightening cream, WHITENICIOUS, is apparently making some SERIOUS CA$H. 

In her interview this week with Ebony, she says 80% of her customers are African-American, not African. And strangely, 10% of her customers are white. 

On the name:

You know, I was coming up with all these glamorous things and my best friend was like “Nah, ‘Whitenicious’ is good.” And when she gave me the name, I was looking up definitions of white. Ok let me define how I see white. (reads) “The color white affects the mind and the body by aiding in mental clarity, promoting feelings of fresh beginnings and renewal assisting in cleansing, clearing obstacles and clutter and encouraging purification.” And guess what? Dark spots is obstacles. Hyperpigmenation is obstacles. 

Dencia also insists (wrongly) there’s no medical research on the link between skin whitening and cancer.

Read the rest of Ebony’s interview with Dencia.

Lots of folk have argued that the remarks of Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) veered into an inappropriate other-ing, even racism, when he addressed the nominee for Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy during confirmation hearings yesterday. 

Roberts: “You ever been to Dodge City, Kansas?”

Murthy: “I have not, sir. But I would love to come.”

Roberts: “Well, good. I’m going to invite you, because we have a lovely doctor from India. She’s in her mid-30s, and she’s highly respected by the community. And another doctor from India that did my carpal tunnel when I did a stupid thing. And so, I think you’d be right at home, and we would welcome you.”

Was that really so bad? I didn’t think so. It actually made me smile, “What a cute old white man!” But among the hyperventilating responses:

"sorry but it’s like the Southern expression of "Bless Your Heart": a passive aggressive fuck you. It’s a condescending way of "hey my white people approve of your kind so long as you’re not uppity" with a little "you’ll never be one of US" thrown in. MMM-mmm. That’s good racism." [Gawker]

Thankfully a lot of commenters are a little less uptight, like this Indian guy:

"you guys need to chill out. as an indian doctor i hear this kind of shit all of the time. he’s just an old man trying to reach out…in a very white old man sort of way. A for effort."

But for all of you who really get out-of-sorts when someone old tries to be social by saying, “My proctologist… he’s Indian… lovely man…” try to avoid the predictable, indignant response, and use this line instead: “Dr. Rao? Sure, I know him!” pause. “He has herpes.

[Photos by AP and Win McNamee/Getty Images]

Maybe by now you’ve read this truly trashy yoga essay at XOJane, by a “skinny white girl” who’s suddenly overcome by racial guilt when a “fairly heavy black woman” enters her class. If not, here’s a taste:

"I thought about how that must feel: to be a heavyset black woman entering for the first time a system that by all accounts seems unable to accommodate her body. What could I do to help her? If I were her, I thought, I would want as little attention to be drawn to my despair as possible—I would not want anyone to look at me or notice me. And so I tried to very deliberately avoid looking in her direction each time I was in downward dog, but I could feel her hostility just the same."

For reasons that are completely unclear — I’m guessing it’s either intellectual laziness or fear of black yoginis — the author, Jen Caron, fails to approach the woman and actually ask her if she feels out of place. Instead, Caron runs home and collapses in tears… before realizing she could cash in on her own suffering and get a byline in the process. 
Apparently XOJane read some of the thousands of WTF responses to the essay. So they posted another piece today, by an actual black woman, Pia Glenn:

"Your experience, if we can possibly set aside the (non-)fan fiction of the imagined mindset of the woman behind you, starts a dialogue; sure. But not every conversation needs to be entertained without you doing some homework on your own first. I am taking the time to write this because as a black woman who shares this space, I won’t stand idly by and watch you use it as a platform to climb to the mountaintop of alleged racial progress by stepping on the humanity of another black woman."

Photo: Blonde Girls Doing Yoga Poses -7936 by Edson Hong on Flickr.

Maybe by now you’ve read this truly trashy yoga essay at XOJane, by a “skinny white girl” who’s suddenly overcome by racial guilt when a “fairly heavy black woman” enters her class. If not, here’s a taste:

"I thought about how that must feel: to be a heavyset black woman entering for the first time a system that by all accounts seems unable to accommodate her body. What could I do to help her? If I were her, I thought, I would want as little attention to be drawn to my despair as possible—I would not want anyone to look at me or notice me. And so I tried to very deliberately avoid looking in her direction each time I was in downward dog, but I could feel her hostility just the same."

For reasons that are completely unclear — I’m guessing it’s either intellectual laziness or fear of black yoginis — the author, Jen Caron, fails to approach the woman and actually ask her if she feels out of place. Instead, Caron runs home and collapses in tears… before realizing she could cash in on her own suffering and get a byline in the process. 

Apparently XOJane read some of the thousands of WTF responses to the essay. So they posted another piece today, by an actual black woman, Pia Glenn:

"Your experience, if we can possibly set aside the (non-)fan fiction of the imagined mindset of the woman behind you, starts a dialogue; sure. But not every conversation needs to be entertained without you doing some homework on your own first. I am taking the time to write this because as a black woman who shares this space, I won’t stand idly by and watch you use it as a platform to climb to the mountaintop of alleged racial progress by stepping on the humanity of another black woman."

Photo: Blonde Girls Doing Yoga Poses -7936 by Edson Hong on Flickr.

historicaltimes
By now the story of Bushwick’s transformation from ‘hood to hipster haven has been told more than enough times. But what caused it to go up in flames in the first place? 
A City Journal article, “The Death and Life of Bushwick,” explains that it was a combination of race relations and bad policy.
The problems began in the mid-1960s, when race riots were hitting urban centers across America, and white residents were getting jittery. Homeowners would find messages in their mailbox — “Don’t wait until it’s too late!” — a reference not just to possible violence but to the imminent arrival of minorities moving up north. Sure enough…

…speculators bought homes from Bushwick residents for an average of $8,000 apiece, and then, using fraudulent appraisals and a Great Society federal mortgage program that insured home loans to low-income buyers, sold them to poor blacks and Puerto Ricans at prices that they couldn’t afford— on average, about $20,000 per home.

Many of those new homeowners defaulted, abandoning their homes and prompting property values to further plummet. By the early 70s, hundreds of buildings in the neighborhood were empty, and owners started setting fire to their own empty buildings in order to collect on fire insurance.

Gangs set fire to abandoned buildings, too, and then waited for the fire department to do the hard work of knocking down walls and floors, making valuable fixtures and copper wiring easier to steal. By the early seventies, infernos blazed nightly. The neighborhood’s wooden row houses, tightly packed together and often sharing attics, proved particularly vulnerable; a fire would erupt in one building and swiftly spread, sometimes consuming half a block.

Higher crime followed. In 1990, there were 77 murders in the 83rd precinct. Last year, there were just 7.
historicaltimes:

Bushwick, Brooklyn 1980

By now the story of Bushwick’s transformation from ‘hood to hipster haven has been told more than enough times. But what caused it to go up in flames in the first place? 

A City Journal article, “The Death and Life of Bushwick,” explains that it was a combination of race relations and bad policy.

The problems began in the mid-1960s, when race riots were hitting urban centers across America, and white residents were getting jittery. Homeowners would find messages in their mailbox — “Don’t wait until it’s too late!” — a reference not just to possible violence but to the imminent arrival of minorities moving up north. Sure enough…

…speculators bought homes from Bushwick residents for an average of $8,000 apiece, and then, using fraudulent appraisals and a Great Society federal mortgage program that insured home loans to low-income buyers, sold them to poor blacks and Puerto Ricans at prices that they couldn’t afford— on average, about $20,000 per home.

Many of those new homeowners defaulted, abandoning their homes and prompting property values to further plummet. By the early 70s, hundreds of buildings in the neighborhood were empty, and owners started setting fire to their own empty buildings in order to collect on fire insurance.

Gangs set fire to abandoned buildings, too, and then waited for the fire department to do the hard work of knocking down walls and floors, making valuable fixtures and copper wiring easier to steal. By the early seventies, infernos blazed nightly. The neighborhood’s wooden row houses, tightly packed together and often sharing attics, proved particularly vulnerable; a fire would erupt in one building and swiftly spread, sometimes consuming half a block.

Higher crime followed. In 1990, there were 77 murders in the 83rd precinct. Last year, there were just 7.

historicaltimes:

Bushwick, Brooklyn 1980

The Houston Independent School District has voted to ban the use of race-based mascots and team names.

The move will change the mascots of the Lamar High School Redskins, the Hamilton Middle School Indians, the Welch Middle School Warriors and the Westbury High School Rebels. The “Rebel” name has been seen as a reference to the Confederacy during the Civil War.
The decision has been a divisive one in the community, with supporters championing the decision and opponents crying foul over “political correctness” and the end of tradition. [Al-Jazeera America]

As a New Yorker, even one who watches “Friday Night Lights,” high school football feels like a distant, abstract issue. But as someone who grew up in Houston, I can tell you: this is big, and speaks to the evolving consciousness of the country on this issue, even in places like Texas, where football is life.  

"According to Capital News Service, 62 high schools in 22 states are known as Redskins while 28 high schools in 18 states dropped the nickname within the last 25 years." [Houston Chronicle]

But don’t be surprised when this feeds into conservative arguments that they’re losing their country.
Photo of Lamar Redskins by Smiley N. Pool/Houston Chronicle

The Houston Independent School District has voted to ban the use of race-based mascots and team names.

The move will change the mascots of the Lamar High School Redskins, the Hamilton Middle School Indians, the Welch Middle School Warriors and the Westbury High School Rebels. The “Rebel” name has been seen as a reference to the Confederacy during the Civil War.

The decision has been a divisive one in the community, with supporters championing the decision and opponents crying foul over “political correctness” and the end of tradition. [Al-Jazeera America]

As a New Yorker, even one who watches “Friday Night Lights,” high school football feels like a distant, abstract issue. But as someone who grew up in Houston, I can tell you: this is big, and speaks to the evolving consciousness of the country on this issue, even in places like Texas, where football is life.  

"According to Capital News Service, 62 high schools in 22 states are known as Redskins while 28 high schools in 18 states dropped the nickname within the last 25 years." [Houston Chronicle]

But don’t be surprised when this feeds into conservative arguments that they’re losing their country.

Photo of Lamar Redskins by Smiley N. Pool/Houston Chronicle