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

The story behind the picture

Photograph by Roz Payne

In 140 characters or less, #blackpoweryellowperil cannot be a coalition if Asian Americans see ourselves as allies.

#blackpoweryellowperil became a trending hashtag over the holidays on twitter.  It sounded like a call for unity.  It sounded like new-found recognition of power.  It sounded like an acknowledgement of a shared history. Continue reading

And it runs deep, part ii

In which resistance perseverates about internalized crap.

I am still angry with Questlove’s casual racism.  And I am upset by the reactions and non-reactions of others, which serves to inform about the state of post-racial America.

Because in post-racial America, we are still talking about how Asians are being offended rather than how white supremacy is being supported.  The former puts the blame on those pesky Asians.  So thin-skinned.  No sense of humor.  Chip on the shoulder.

The latter puts the crap back where it belongs. Continue reading

Manslaughter case ends in mistrial

The jury could not reach a decision and a mistrial was declared.  Officer Joe Weekley will return to court in July.  He was charged with involuntary manslaughter because he shot the seven-year-old in the head during a raid.  The suspect being sought was in another apartment in the same building.

Weekley claimed Jones’ grandmother grabbed his gun when he entered.  She denies this and the cop immediately behind Weekley testified he saw no struggle.

The jury was composed of eleven white people and one black person.  Not that it matters.

Because we’re a colorblind society.  Which is why people (white people) had so little reaction to Aiyana Jones being mistakenly shot in the head.  Here’s the actual family photo of Jones: Continue reading

White people. Ignore them.

They’re just seeking attention.

Dear Prudence,

My six-year-old son is the only black child at his school.  From all reports, he is sweet, well-mannered and has a great sense of humor.  However, over the past two years he has been the target of a number of racist comments by a girl in his class, who often says things like “I don’t want to sit by him because he has dark skin” and worse.  She says these things in the hearing of their classmates, teachers and other school employees.

Her parents insist they are attempting to teach her to “treat everyone equally and be accepting of all different people.”  The adults at school do not address his comments but instead ignore them, insisting that a West Hartford, CT marriage and family therapist by the name of Molly McDonald counseled them to think of her comments as the “equivalent of a tantrum and thus best ignored.”

–At a loss

Dear “At a loss,”

While your child may be undergoing a painful and hellish school experience, not that I might have considered this, won’t you think of the white child?  Continue reading

Mistaken identity

The could-be-deadly version
See that blue Toyota with all the bullet holes?  It was being driven by two women, 71-year-old Emma Hernandez and her daughter, Margie Carranza, 47.  With no warning, the police opened fire.  Hernandez is in intensive care.  She was shot in the back.  Her daughter was shot in the hand.  Hernandez and Carranza were delivering the Los Angeles Times.

The police mistook their car (and them, apparently) for one driven by police officer and alleged murderer Christopher Dorner.  Who reportedly drives a grey Nissan Titan.  Police apparently also fired upon another pickup, which was black. (Edited to add: From photos, it looks like it might be a Honda Ridgeline.)

Coverage here: LA Times KTLA NBC Los Angeles

‘There were no concentration camps in America’

Toyo Miyatake

From the Star Tribune:  There were no concentration camps in America.

I  want to call your attention to a new addition to Wyoming culture. It is a museum of the Heart Mountain Japanese American Relocation Center between Cody and Powell in World War II.

As you probably know, the Japanese-Americans on the West Coast were evacuated from their West Coast homes to camps in the interior West and Arkansas. That was done as a national security measure because the U. S. government doubted the loyalty of many of the “Nikkei,” as the group was then called, and feared the military prowess of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

The point of the museum is to prove that the camps were “concentration camps” and that they were established because of racism. Neither charge is true and neither has ever been proven.

Via slanteyefortheroundeye.

This article has a bunch of the usual problems.  Conflation of Japanese and Japanese Americans.  Lack of recognition that Japanese immigrants were unable to become citizens under the law.  The Tachibana spy ring included white Americans; Tachibana himself was a Japanese national.  And of course, there’s no way to explain why Japanese Americans in Hawaii weren’t rounded up and thrown into the camps.  Unless you consider the fact that the islands’ workings would grind to a halt without them.  And the writer is apparently ignorant of the fact that “concentration camps” was in fact the terminology used at the time, even by the president himself.

Overall, the article’s author, Roger W. Lotchin, raises a number of points that aren’t supported by evidence. But he knows that he’s right. Why? Because he’s never read anything to the contrary!

How many Japanese- Americans were disloyal is not known, but I have never read a piece of evidence from a reliable witness which said that all of them were loyal.

I have never read a shred of evidence that shows that either the American or western publics in general or the decision makers who decided on the camps thought that the Japanese here or in Japan were biologically inferior.

According to the article, Roger W. Lotchin is professor of history at the University of North Carolina.  According to the UNC website, he’s an adjunct.  However, I have never read a piece of evidence that suggests he is qualified for that position.

Some reading for people who aren’t Roger W. Lotchin:

Those dangerous orphans!

Disloyal folks who were so dangerous they were drafted into the U.S. Army!  They were so dangerous they were even recruited for the MIS!

Treacherous women with star-spangled hearts!

World War I veterans especially suspect!

The benefit of the doubt

So some university students formed a Towson chapter of the Y0uth for Western C1vilization.  They most recently made the news after chalking slogans like “Wh1te Pride” and “Anti-Racist is Code for Ant1-Wh1te” around campus.

[Chapter president Matthew] He1mbach, a 20-year-old junior, said the group is only promoting traditional conservative values and is not racist. He said he’s advocating pride in his culture, not “wh1te power.”

“Wh1te pride is no different than gay pride or black pride,” he said. “I’m not trying to put anyone down. We want to celebrate our unique culture, and we encourage every other group to do the same.”

From another article, also He1mbach:

“What we want to do is be able to promote on campus for students who want to be proud of their heritage and the foundations of this country.  They have a place to do that and be able to stand up for themselves.”


Yeah, I might just buy the idea that He1mbach is just regular garden-variety stupid like so many other folks in the majority.   Continue reading

“I love you”

It’s “ketapanen” in the Menominee language.  “Hello” is “posoh.”  Seventh grader Miranda Washinawatok taught those two phrases to a friend at Sacred Heart Catholic Academy in Shawano, Wisconsin.

A teacher was apparently angered by this. She asked Washinawatok the following:

How do I know you are not saying something bad?

As a result, Washinawatok was benched during a basketball game for her “bad attitude.”


There is of course a long history in the United States of other-language speakers being forbidden to speak their non-English languages.  Children in boarding schools were often severely punished for doing so.  (Ironically, the Code Talkers were some of those children.)

Hearing a non-English language engenders a great deal of hostility and fear in many white people, and their perception of the “right” to berate or to punish speakers or to demand a translation is rooted in privilege.  I believe that the inability to understand a language threatens deeply-held feelings of white supremacy.  One of the most common fears seems to be that we are talking about them.

Unfortunately, this pervasive racist viewpoint is only too common in post-racial America. Continue reading

Word problems

If a Gwinnett County elementary school has several third-grade teachers, and none of them saw any problem with the following math assignment, how many teachers there are in need of more education?

Each tree had 56 oranges. If 8 slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?*

If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in 1 week?  2 weeks?

(Note that almost half of the teachers at this school have a master’s degree.   I tend to think that the basic teacher curriculum isn’t enough, but that’s a lengthy rant best left for another time.)

*I’d note this is a poorly written question even if you substitute another noun for “slaves.” Continue reading