enin

Dude.

Eight for eight.  Congratulations!

Kwasi Enin was accepted by eight Ivies.  Also three state schools and Duke.  If you don’t feel inadequate enough, he also plays three instruments for chamber orchestra, has taken 11 AP classes, participates in track and field, sings in an acappella group, and is active in theater.

Also he volunteers at a hospital.

Also, since I know you want to know, his parents immigrated here from Ghana.

USA Today seems to want to downplay his accomplishments by quoting somebody who talks about how “colleges are looking for great boys,” and how Enin’s SAT is in the 99th percentile for “African-American” students.  I’m pretty sure a 2250 is in the high 90′s for all test takers*, but whatever.

See CNN video here.

*Edited to add:  I looked it up on the College Board site.  Although percentiles are listed by individual section, assuming a 750 on each test puts Enin in the 97th or 98th percentile for ALL TEST TAKERS.  Combined score might nudge that number up.

Stephen Colbert

Link roundup, sort of

Here’s a link to get you up to speed.

The #We’reGivingYoutheSideEye edition.  With my commentary, since I still have a lot to say. 

Colbert’s satire isn’t particularly funny or clever,  even within its “context.”  Although he says in an interview that he never “punches up,” using racism against Asian Americans as part of the humor violates the general unspoken rule of satire.

The joke failed because it derived its laughs from anti-Asian racism  (by refresh_daemon via racialicious):

However, where The Colbert Report‘s satire fails is that a significant portion of The Colbert Report‘s audience does not intuitively or instinctively believe in their guts that saying “Ching Chong Ding Dong” or using the term “Orientals” is necessarily racist. Not everybody who laughs at “Ching Chong Ding Dong” is laughing because Colbert the character is so stupidly racist, but they are laughing at Asians. I believe this to be the case because this kind of anti-Asian dialog is still common in our society and is not immediately countered by most of society for being racist.

I told a white friend this joke as it was relayed on the Colbert Report, and he laughed.  I felt pissed off about it, so I went on to discuss some other parts of Colbert’s “humor” that I find problematic. Continue reading

context

Ignoring the context

Here’s a link to get you up to speed.

White people often bring up “context” in defense of racism.

Miley Cyrus made the “slant-eyed” face but protested that people took it wrong and “out of context!”

The Tribune discontinued running a much “beloved” illustration called “Injun Summer” and noted its “innocence of context.”

A Villa Park council member, Deborah Pauly, was videotaped stirring the racist pot to a boil.  When confronted, she said the tape was edited to “completely change the context.”

Murray State University professor Mark Wattier thought two black students were late to his class.  His comment:  “Do you know why you were late? There’s a theory that a way to protest their master’s treatment was for slaves to be late.”  (Click the link to read the students’ version.) What did he say in his own defense? “My comment was inappropriate. I regret having said this out of context and bluntly.”

We’ve heard the “satiredefense numerous times before as well (see We Heard It Before #18).

Of course, I think that context is often difficult to understand.  Continue reading

Backstory summary

Because my English teacher told me I’m “telegraphic” and tend to assume everybody knows what the fuck I’m talking about.

Stephen Colbert has a television show in which he plays a right-wing conservative.  He was trying to skewer R*dskins owner Daniel Snyder, who set up a charitable foundation called “The Washington R*dskins Original Americans Foundation.”  So Colbert said he was going to set up a foundation called “The Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.”

Many people thought it was failed satire and writer Suey Park started the Twitter hashtag #CancelColbert.  Continue reading

thoroughlynot

Thoroughly Racist ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’

Screenshot of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” from another high school production on youtube.

Thanks to Mia Wenjen for covering this topic so thoroughly on her blog, I Love Newton.

“Thoroughly Modern Millie” was a musical film from 1967.  It included a subplot about a hotel proprietor who dresses in yellowface and two nefarious Chinese henchmen.  It was developed into a musical 33 years later, and the racist subplot remained intact.

I was somewhat surprised that anybody would consider a remake of a dated movie to be a good idea, especially given the racism.  Of course, we’re only too familiar that white people find a great deal of entertainment in racism.  The entertainment value is often used as a defense of racism:  “But it was only meant in good fun!”

If you do a brief web search, you’ll find that “Thoroughly Modern Millie” is a popular choice for high school theatrical groups.  Undoubtedly because it’s so much fun.  Newton North High School chose it for its spring production.  Newton (MA) is predominately (82%) white, with an 11% Asian American population.  And although concerns were voiced before the musical was staged, it proceeded as planned.  Although a note about the “stereotypes” was listed in the program guide, apparently.  On page 49.

It’s been my general experience that when white people are confronted with their racism, they rarely will completely abandon the racist endeavor.  This is because they have too much invested in both the endeavor and the racism.

Continue reading

banerjee

Braigo

Braille printers reportedly can cost around $2,000. Seventh-grader Shubham Banerjee built one for about $350. From Legos.  And he’s putting the information out on the internet, so people can access it for free.

Edited to add:  Banerjee’s father writes a longer explanation here.

ansari

Meet Blake Ansari.

He is six years old.  And he saw a need.  So he started a book drive for homeless children.  He collected and distributed 600 books.  His next plan?  To build a library.  Here’s what his mother reports he said:

When you listen to the community, learn from the community, and help the community, you connect to your best self.

Thanks to Shakesville for the link.