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Category Archive: race

You know, That Thing we hate talking about.

Mar 28 2014

Disagreeing Without Delegitimizing: On That Racist Colbert Tweet and Reactions Thereto

Screenshot via Suey Park

[Content note: racist language, sexual harassment] It has all the makings of a social media firestorm: at some point last week, Stephen Colbert made a joke on his show in which he implicitly criticized Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder for refusing to change the team’s racist name. The @ColbertReport Twitter account tweeted part of the …

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Dec 25 2013

Against Role Models

Whenever a famous person does something of which the general public disapproves, much is often made of that person’s status as a “role model” and how it influences the public’s judgment of their behavior, and whether or not it is time to revoke that status. It seems that celebrities cannot escape being seen as “role …

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Nov 03 2013

[guest post] Japan’s Not Doing Sex! An Intersection of Racism and Sexism

Here’s a guest post from my friend Mike about the recent news stories on Japanese sexuality. I remember as a kid laughing at the clownish stereotypes of characters like Long Duk Dong in “Sixteen Candles” and Toshiro Takashi in “Revenge of the Nerds”. What I didn’t realize at the time was how I, as a …

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Sep 01 2013

The Oberlin Hate Crimes Are Not “Just Trolling”

This past year, Oberlin College, generally known for being liberal and inclusive, had a series of bias incidents–or, more specifically, hate crimes. Notes with swastikas were left in mailboxes, flyers advertising minority groups were defaced, signs were put up with ethnic slurs on them, and several students were physically assaulted or chased by people making …

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Jul 15 2013

I Am Not Trayvon Martin

When Trayvon Martin was murdered last year, I remember seeing many people post things like “I am Trayvon Martin” online, sometimes accompanied by photos of themselves in hoodies. At first I thought it was something people of color were doing as a sign of solidarity and as a reminder that they, too, face the same …

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May 24 2013

On Useful and Not-So-Useful Definitions of Racism

[Update 10/22/13: If you've found this post through a racist hate forum, don't bother commenting. Your comment's going straight to the trash and nobody will ever read it. :)] Richard Dawkins, whose Twitter feed never fails to amuse, has lately been discussing racism–specifically, against white people: [Here's the link in case you can't see this] …

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May 14 2013

“But I’m a man and I don’t feel like I have any privilege.”

Another one inspired by the comment thread of doom. The hardest thing about explaining privilege to members of dominant groups is that, usually, the fact that you’re advantaged in certain ways doesn’t mean you’re not disadvantaged in many other ways. So when we’re talking about gender and a man is told that he’s privileged–or when …

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May 12 2013

Richwine and the Inherent Goodness of Intelligence

[Content note: racism] In news that should surprise absolutely no one, conservatives have once again embarrassed themselves by attempting to “prove” with “science” that people of color are stupider than white people. Yup, again. You’ve probably read this story elsewhere so I’ll make my recap brief: It has come to light that Jason Richwine (I’m …

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Mar 31 2013

How To Get People To Care When It’s Not Personal: On Rob Portman

I’m going to talk about Rob Portman now even though that bit of news is pretty old at this point. (Hey, if you want to read about stuff in a timely manner, go read the NYT or something.) Brief summary: Portman is a Republican senator from Ohio (yay Ohio!) who used to oppose same-sex marriage but changed …

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Nov 05 2012

Argumentum Ad Third World: Or, “Think of the Starving Children in Africa” Redux

One way you know you’ve won an argument about social justice is when your opponent says something like, “YEAH WELL you don’t see people in the Third World whining about their preferred pronouns/racist Halloween costumes/the use of the word ‘retard’!”

There is a pervasive idea out there that people in the Third World only have Big Terrible Problems like poverty and genocide, and people in industrialized countries only have Stupid Silly Problems like getting toilet paper stuck on the bottom of their shoe or having to wait in traffic or whatever. There are, apparently, no problems between those two extremes in severity, and no problems are worth talking about besides the Big Terrible Problems.

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