News blast: the race edition

Yesterday there were a bunch of stories that, each on their own, would have made for excellent blog posts. However, in the interest of not deleting them because of insufficient time to address them in depth, I presented them all to you with a brief comment. The week has not gotten any longer, nor my schedule any freer, so I am going to do the same this afternoon, this time about race stuff:

UC Berkeley Campus Republicans host racist bake sale:

Campus Republicans at the University of California Berkeley have cooked up a storm of controversy with their plans for a bake sale. But it’s not your everyday collegiate fundraiser they’ve got in mind. They’ve developed a sliding scale where the price of the cookie or brownie depends on your gender and the color of your skin. During the sale, scheduled for Tuesday, baked goods will be sold to white men for $2.00, Asian men for $1.50, Latino men for $1.00, black men for $0.75 and Native American men for $0.25. All women will get $0.25 off those prices.

“The pricing structure is there to bring attention, to cause people to get a little upset,” Campus Republican President Shawn Lewis, who planned the event, told CNN-affiliate KGO. “But it’s really there to cause people to think more critically about what this kind of policy would do in university admissions.”

Not being able to do this story full justice pains me, because nobody is more deserving of being torn a new asshole on the internet than Shawn Lewis right now. First of all, this isn’t an original idea – these kinds of bake sales happen all the damn time. But, because people are morons, they don’t bother to adapt their approach or their argument when it has been thoroughly skewered. Many people have been bringing up the idea that people should just round up a bunch of Native American women, take all the baked goods, and then sell them at a profit. That would, perhaps, better approximate the history of racial ‘fairness’ in the United States (albeit in reverse). Stunts like this, which are inaccurately named ‘satire’, serve to illustrate how lopsided the treatment of different racial groups has been throughout the history of the Americas, and how certain people simply refuse to get it.

Banana thrown at black hockey player

The NHL called it “stupid and ignorant.” Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds said he was “above this sort of stuff.” A banana came out of the stands in London, Ont., on Thursday night as Simmonds was skating towards Detroit goalie Jordan Pearce in a pre-season shootout. Simmonds is black.

This is the thing about racists: they’re just so funny! Hahaha! A banana! Get it? He’s black! Black people are like apes! Apes like bananas! HAHAHA!

The sigh-inducing aspect of this story is the number of people who took to the internet to defend the guy who threw the banana. “What if he was just planning on eating it, but then got angry and threw it?” Not only would it be a staggering coincidence that someone brought in a whole shit-ton of bananas to a hockey game and just happened to have one left right at the end of the game (through overtime, no less) when the only black person on the ice was taking a solo penalty shot, but who the fuck brings fruit to a hockey game? What is this guy, some kind of health nut with an anger-management problem and an ironic sense of timing?

On a positive note, it is being condemned by pretty much everyone in clear, unequivocal terms, and hasn’t seemed to phase faze Simmonds much [seriously, Crommunist? What the fuck, dude? – props to Beauxeau]. Also, he scored the goal, and Philadelphia won the game 4-3.

Africville Trust director loses her job

The controversial new executive director of the Africville Heritage Trust is out of the job already. Carole Nixon has stopped working for the organization, but trust chairwoman Daurene Lewis wouldn’t say Wednesday if Nixon had been fired. “She’s no longer with the organization, and this is a personnel matter and any speculation (on that) would have to remain confidential,” Lewis said in an interview.

Regular readers will remember this story from last week. Carole Nixon was appointed the director of the Africville Trust in Halifax. One of the issues swirling around the appointment is that while the story of Africville is essentially the generations-long oppression of a black minority by an unforgiving white majority, Carole Nixon is a white woman. It is an interesting story where compelling arguments can be made on both sides: can an outsider truly represent the values of a community, particularly this one? Is it right to restrict jobs to only those of the ‘correct’ race or nationality?

All that discussion has been rendered hypothetical by this dismissal, which may not be for the reason you suspect:

Newspaper clippings from the St. Catharines Standard in Ontario outlined Nixon’s departure from four jobs, including her firing as executive director of the Burlington (Ont.) Downtown Business Improvement Association in 1989 and the City of Toronto’s employees association in 1995. In 2000, the Standard reported, she abruptly stepped down as executive director of the St. Catharines Downtown Association, and in 2002, she was reportedly fired as development director in Watertown, N.Y.

This one’s going to court, I’d imagine.

If someone wants to pay me to do this full-time, I will be able to devote the requisite amount of attention to each of these stories and more that cross my desktop. Until such time, you’ll just have to make do with these brief summaries and my sincere apologies.

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  1. bunnyhugger says

    The factory where I used to work (in rural Indiana) had a strike once, which was a bad time for a lot of reasons. The non-union white-collar employees ended up doing assembly work while the union, blue-collar employees picketed out front; this led to some resentment, which lingered long after the strike was settled. Incidents included bananas mysteriously left on the desk of two particular supervisors — both black.

    (Or maybe the banana-provider was just trying to make sure their bosses had enough potassium….)

  2. Beauzeaux says

    I really agree but I must add:
    “hasn’t seemed to phase Simmonds ”

    It didn’t faze him. (Sorry but that’s a particular peeve of mine.)

  3. Arnold Jamtart says

    Simmonds was involved in another incident in a subsequent game when he allegedly called Sean Avery a “homophobic slur.” Apart from the ironic timing, it’s got nothing to do with the banana thing; it just goes to show how quickly the shoe can wind up on the other foot.

    Also, London police made an arrest in banana incident after a furor erupted on Twitter.
    First Mabus; now this. Pretty soon, Canadian police forces can let Twitter handle all their investigations…

  4. Crommunist says

    Yeah I heard about that. Pretty sad state of affairs. Lack of discipline on Simmonds’ part for sure. Makes you wonder how often that kind of stuff happens when the cameras just aren’t on. That being said, there’s no excuse for language or sentiments like that on the ice. I’m surprised they’re not fining him.

    Where did you hear about the banana arrest?

  5. Arnold Jamtart says

    I heard about the arrest a few days ago on Twitter. Story here (among other places):

    Hockey is still appallingly homophobic at all levels. On Saturday, a rec. league teammate told me the number on my new jersey was “gay” (yeah, I have no idea what that means either). Sean Avery is an easy guy to dislike, but I had to re-evaluate my feelings about him when this story broke last winter:

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