June 28, 2012, 10:38 am
Recently, I posted a column about the decidedly pernicious vitriol against the Obama family, targeting not only the President, but even his children with racialized death threats (to kill his “monkey” children). Some responses to the column offered provocative, insightful comments. Yet, others succumbed to the reductive, which underscored the message behind the post. As one law professor told me, “It becomes clear from reading the comments that some Americans become very defensive about the frequency and entrenchment of racial biases without understanding what racism means.”
Beyond the racial polemic, we should all be concerned about becoming a nation that is so adrift from bipartisanship that recently even Jeb Bush came under attack for pointing it out.
Jeb’s advise on immigration: “Don’t just talk about Hispanics and say immediately we must have controlled…
June 6, 2012, 11:07 am
(JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images via Flickr/CC/ProgressOhio)
In each administration, there emerges something to mock, caricaturize, and stereotype. With Bill Clinton, it was his sex addiction and bulbous nose—both issues he has written about or commented on in the press. With Jimmy Carter, it was peanut farming, and with George W. Bush the list is long: reading children’s books turned upside down, political stunts on aircraft carriers, and the misguided invasion of Iraq in search of weapons of mass destruction. So, caricaturizing Obama’s wide-extending ears or even how his administration rolled out health care reform fits with prior discourse. These are the shots politicians take as presidents.
Yet, noticeably, this administration has been the subject of more pronounced and pernicious…
May 21, 2012, 5:00 pm
As I mentioned in my last post on improving our comments policy, I had my say about Naomi Schaefer Riley’s work roughly a year ago (Giggling at Stereotypes). Over time I think most reasonable observers will agree that the issue with her work isn’t one flawed post, but a history of offenses against academic norms.
Together with shameless hit pieces like The Faculty Lounges, her assault on African-American Studies was not an exception, but a repetition, of serious blunders against both academic and journalistic values. I wouldn’t have hired her, and I’d have intervened in her efforts earlier. Her work was ideological first and foremost. As others have observed, the question isn’t why she was fired; it’s why she was hired.
Many of us in higher education get to our ideologies as a result of our research: we think “reality is broken” in some way, to use Jane McGonigal’s phrase, and we…
May 1, 2012, 7:20 pm
Rodney King (photo from Wikipedia)
Twenty years ago this week, riots swept through Los Angeles. Rioters looted stores and then burned them to the ground. Photographers and journalists attempted to capture the mêlée, but some were physically assaulted in the process. South Central and South East Los Angeles were on fire. The vitriol and violence emerged hours after several white police officers were acquitted by an all-white jury in the infamous Rodney King beating case. A year before, Rodney King’s name left an indelible mark on our collective conscious as did the video tape of his brutal beating at the hands of baton-wielding officers.
Indeed there was a sad double consciousness for some blacks—pain and empathy for King while at the same time his beating provided some political expediency…