Race & Ethnicity

Did Obama Lose Votes Because He Was Black?

Back when Barack Obama was still fighting to become the Democratic nominee for president, there was worry—from supporters and opponents—that the “Bradley effect” would take hold once he moved to the general election. Were white voters voicing support for Obama out of a sense of obligation to egalitarian norms? Would that change when they actually had to cast a vote? In other words, could Obama poll well in the lead up to the election, but then lose as a result of bias on part of voters?

Football is Hell

As I think you know by now, I don't pay much attention to football. But between the concussion suicides and the Sandusky allegations, I've gotten a bit interested in the sociology of the sport. And so this Sunday's New York Times interview with former pro football player Kris Jenkins interested me. Jenkins makes it clear that he signed fully signed up for the brutality and pain:

Not Heritage, Definitely Hate

Thoughts on the Confederate flag.

Flickr/akasped

Jezebel flags this infurating story from the Times of Trenton:

The mother of a Kreps Middle School student suspended in a flap over her Confederate flag sweat shirt says she wants the school to formally apologize to her daughter, rescind her suspension and grant the teen permission to attend school outside the district. “If I can’t get those things I’m suing,” said the teen’s mom, Jane West. […]

Reality Check

TLC's new show, All-American Muslim, could educate the public about Islam — or not.

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Sandwiched in TLC’s fall schedule between Toddlers & Tiaras and Sister Wives, is a new reality series named, All-American Muslim. The show follows the lives of five Muslim families living in Dearborn, Michigan, and will premiere its eight-part stretch November 13.

How do You Solve a Problem Like Cecilia?

A once-fierce advocate of immigrant right turns into the Obama administration's mouthpiece on deportations.

AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari

When president-elect Barack Obama named Cecilia Muñoz as director of intergovernmental affairs at the White House, Latino nonprofits and media outlets celebrated. Her appointment was viewed as a sign of inclusion for Latinos in government and an example of our growing political power.

Given that Muñoz was the former senior vice president for the Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR)—the largest national U.S. Latino civil-rights organization and a prominent advocate for immigrant rights—many expected that her advocacy would move with her into the White House.

That’s not what happened.

Q&A: Justice for Black Farmers

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

On October 27, after a 15-year fight, a federal judge approved a $1.25 billion settlement to black farmers discriminated against by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In 1997, hundreds of farmers filed a class-action suit, in the case Pigford v. Glickman, alleging pervasive discrimination of black farmers by the USDA between 1981 and 1997. For decades, the department, which regularly gives loans to farmers to keep their business afloat, had refused loans to black farmers while awarding greater loans to white farmers of equal standing. Because of an inability to receive loans, many black farmers were forced to forfeit their farms or operate on a smaller scale. In 1999, the judge demanded a settlement for those with claims.

What's in a Name?

Urban Outfitters removes the word "Navajo" from its product line, but the cultural poaching is the same.

Urban Outfitters' formerly "Navajo" hipster panty. AP Photo/Matt York

Urban Outfitters, the retail mecca for once and future hipsters, recently scrubbed its website of all references to “Navajo.” What was once the “Navajo Print Fabric Wrapped Flask” is now the “Printed Fabric Wrapped Flask”; the “Navajo Hipster Panty” is now the “Printed Hipster Panty”; and so on. The items are still available for purchase, but they’ve all been renamed.

Coulter's Race Relations

Even for someone who specializes in consistently saying the most offensive and irrelevant things, Ann Coulter's statements about black Republicans in an interview with Sean Hannity Monday crossed the line. In a segment discussing accusations of sexual harassment against Herman Cain, Coulter and Hannity completely sidestepped the allegations and instead ranted about why liberals target African American Republicans. Of course the argument moved away from issues of sex and workplace harassment and moved on to how Barack Obama is only half-black and his father wasn't even an American.

Occupy Wall Street's Race Problem

Young protesters at an Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New Jersey Oct. 6 with a debt=slavery sign.

The economic crisis has disproportionately affected people of color, in particular African Americans. Given the stark economic realities in communities of color, many people have wondered why the Occupy Wall Street movement hasn’t become a major site for mobilizing African Americans. For me, it's not about the diversity of the protests. It's about the rhetoric used by the white left that makes OWS unable to articulate, much less achieve, a transformative racial-justice agenda. 

A Match Made in Hell

In the four years since President George W. Bush failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform, anti-immigrant sentiment in the GOP has grown to a fever pitch. At least three Republican-led states have passed draconian laws restricting every aspect of life for undocumented immigrants – Alabama, for example, has made municipal water-usage a deportable offense – and Republican voters have shunned a presidential candidate, Texas Governor Rick Perry, over his willingness to accomodate the children of undocumented immigrants. Conservatives have grown so hostile to immigrants that, at this point, it has become to alienate some Latino Republicans.

Batman the Gentrifier

In real-life, the superhero's do-gooding would push all the poor people out of Gotham.

Rex Features via AP Images

For Batman fans, this past week was a big one. In addition to the release of Arkham City – the sequel to Arkham Asylum, the world’s greatest Batman simulator – DC released its animated adaptation of Batman: Year One, the Frank Miller-penned story that would define Batman for the next two decades, and form the basis for Christopher Nolan’s interpretation of the character. Here’s a trailer:

Will Blackness Be the Thing that Gets You?

Have you ever heard the name "Danroy Henry?" I didn't think so—at least, not if you're white.

A year ago, a Pace University quarterback was shot by a white police officer—either when he started pulling his car away from a bar instead of stopping as he'd been instructed, or when, with no warning, he was shot through his car's windshield. As The New York Times reported, "Mr. Henry, known as D. J., was a football player ... with no record of trouble, whose arms, which held the car's steering wheel, were tattooed with the words "Family First."" The Pleasantville, New York police officer had never shot anyone before.

A Jew of No Religion

Yoram Kaniuk has won: The prominent Israeli novelist is now very officially a Jew of no religion.

Hundreds of other Israelis, inspired by his legal victory, want to follow his example and change their religious status to "none" in the country's Population Registry, while remaining Jews by nationality in the same government database. A new verb has entered Hebrew, lehitkaniuk, to Kaniuk oneself, to legally register an internal divorce of Jewish ethnicity from Jewish religion.

All the President's Frenemies

Barry Blitt

This piece from our October 2011 issue won an award from the National Association of Black Journalists on June 24 for best magazine commentary/essay. 

 

It's a packed house at St. Sabina's Church on the South Side of Chicago. The pews are full, and attendees who didn't come early on this August Sunday must huddle in the back, though they don't have to strain to hear the speakers, media maven Tavis Smiley and Princeton professor Cornel West.

Muslim and American

Living under the shadow of 9/11

One morning, my uncle arrived at his family medical practice in Toledo, Ohio, to find threats on his answering machine. A muffled voice greeted him with a string of expletives before warning that there would be consequences if he didn't "get the hell out of here." In the 30 years since Uncle Doctor, as I called him, had emigrated from Pakistan to the United States, he had never been singled out for his nationality or religion. It was September 12, 2001, and the dust still hung heavy in Lower Manhattan. A similar message was waiting for him at home.

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