164 thoughts on “Remarks go here

  1. Hey, love the blog, been reading for a while. I was trying to find an e-mail to write to you about an issue I have with your header image, but I’ll just comment here as this is the most recently updated post on the blog. I’m not sure exactly what you are meaning with the picture but I can guess it has to do with a couple of things, especially playing on the submissive Asian woman stereotype and demolishing it with this pic (and some other issues I’m sure), that’s all in good. However, this is my issue with the pic.

    The picture is of a special forces unit of the Philippine National Police. The PNP have been linked to the kidnapping of human rights activists, labor activists, and students. They have also been linked (along with the AFP, Armed Forces of the Philippines) to the killing of activists, as well as though who weren’t anti-government, pro-democratic activists, but were just mistaken as such. They are essentially the armed thugs of President Gloria Arroyo. I actually was able to meet with Anne and Edith Burgos just a few months ago and was in Senator Boxer’s office with them, along with other leaders in the Pilipino American community, and heard first hand how AFP troops and possible some PNP folks abducted Anne’s brother (Edith’s son) in broad daylight at a restaurant in Manila. He is one of the many hundreds of those who are considered “Disapeared,” along with close to 1,000 Pilipinos killed by the AFP and PNP and/or forces loyal to Arroyo.

    So, in my mind, the picture in your header brings up bad thoughts of political repression and state sanctioned violence of an anti-democratic regime which is funded through the U.S. So those PNP special forces folks are essentially the tip of the spear of imperialism and a genocidal government.

    Just thought I’d share that and have you know.

  2. Father Pfleger does another awesome sermon (this time mocking Hillary’s white privilege and entitlemtn to the presidency): http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080530/ap_on_el_pr/obama_pfleger

    Obama cowardly and cruelly scolds him for it by saying that the Father Pfleger is causing disunity and looking backwards. Father Pfleger then apologizes though he was totally in the right — and hillarious to boot.

  3. Hello,

    I have really enjoyed this blog. It is smart and precise. After thinking about it for some time I have finally gotten the time and words to start a blog myself and want to invite you to check it out. (It will cover, in part, politics, culture, and life from a Chicano perspective.) If you do stop by, I hope you enjoy it, and feel free to offer suggestions. Once again, great work.



  4. What bothers me most about this particular incident is all the comments to the article made by readers. As usual, a bunch of people are excusing the racist language as a case of PC gone wild. These people simply do not understand how much racist language impacts those who are abused by the language. One guy even dares to say kids need to be taught “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. In my belief, that saying is the dumbest saying ever.


  5. it’s not racism. It’s financial. Great. so that’s the newest excuse for racism. If movies were willing to accept more minority actors in choice roles, the audience wouldn’t be brainwashed to think only movies with white actors were good. Besides, I think hollywood underestimates us moviegoers. I think if they were to be more bold in their casting, they’d realize moviegoers are more interested in a good movie with a solid plot than a specific actor. I know I have never watched a movie for a particular actor before. I’ll watch anything played by anyone as long as the movie is good.


  6. I’m not a racist, my best friend is Chinese, I speak Persian, and I think that these could be compliments if you interpret them differently… :)

    This post may be slightly breaking the rules, but: your posts are really thought-provoking. However, many of the most-recent ones like to paint “white people” as a monolithic block, which to some extent, we are. But as a proud Irish-Polish-Bosnian-German American, I’m also a Muslim, and alarm TSA just as much as someone not-pale might. (As a person who has been mysteriously denied summer jobs because of her headgear, I’d also really like to know where this White Advantage is and where I can get some. ^_~) It’d be really appreciated if you took a post or two to examine this kind of “ideological prejudice”–I’m still a whitey, but I freak people out, too.

  7. Hey resistance, I’m a regular reader of your blog, tell people about it and link to it all the time. I wanted to give you the head’s up that I’ve posted two links to your older pages, one for “We Heard it Before” and one for “Racism 101” on my blog. I’ve given you full credit of course. Thanks for your thoughts and smarts, by the way!

  8. @ psychobabbler: we use that continuum during the Undoing Institutional Racism training in my area, and it’s interesting, every time I’ve seen it used, the white people will perceive their institution as somewhere between 4.5 – 5, while the POCs tend to go more toward a 2, 2.5. If that’s a not a yellow flag for folks who think everything’s fine, I don’t know what is.

  9. That Continuum on Becoming an Anti-Racist Multicultural Institution chart is really cool. I’d rate Canada with a 3, but my institution within Canada with a 2. I’d also rate the United States with a 2, although I’m not American.

    How would you rate your country?

  10. It’s me returning with a question about the issue I mentioned in my comment a couple of weeks ago – feel free to delete this comment once you’ve read it; I’d have emailed but don’t have your email.

    The subject is the same one: AP responsibility for speaking out when we see online PAP behavior that we believe is off base. Case in point: I stumbled upon a new blog whose author includes the following in their introduction:

    “We have just started the process of adopting from Korea. We are elated for this new Mission God decided for us!”

    Now, from your point of view, should I comment? Email? Say something to this individual? I have done just that, and to date find that folks with this mindset do not listen. If these folks truly believe their adoption is ordained by God, then how likely are they to listen to a stranger who tries to point out reality?

    Sorry to continue to chew on this, but it’s a huge issue to me. And thanks for any thoughts you can share – feel free to email them.

  11. First Facebook goes and changes on me and now RR is looking all different? Sigh.

    Et tu, Brute? Et tu?

  12. hello: Enjoying the blog immensely, thank you for raising your voice/s. My question is about the tag “people of white.” Not sure what the intent is, so I’m asking: What is the intent behind, or desired response (intellectual, emotional) to, the phrase “people of white”?

  13. i love your blog. last night i saw up and today i went on imdb, on it they have a thread about pixars lack of minority characters. Some of the responses the original poster has gotten are
    “I believe that the only time the race issue should be brought up is if a racist comment is made directly.”
    “Well I just saw “UP” with my daughter and grandkids and we loved it, then I read this thread and I just want to say “RELAX” and enjoy life. Its too short to even bring these issues up and try to spoil things for us. Just be nice”
    here’s a link, the thread goes on for 30 some pages
    thank you for your time

  14. Concerned adoptive parent here. JCIS has issued a call to action regarding the Families for Orphans Act. The legislation SOUNDS promising and yet, I feel like I’m missing something ominous… Would appreciate if you could weigh in…

  15. Hello- I’m Paula. White person trying to find support and resources to strengthen and inform my anti-racist framework. Are White people invited to join this blog? From looking around this page, it seems like a place for education. I was slightly concerned that a lot of the folks who identified as white in their comments also seemed to have missed the “Racism 101” guidelines. Also, I am aware that the exploration of my White priv is clumsy and whitey at times. This is not intended to sound judgemental, I just dont’ want to join just because other White people are doing it. Thank You.

  16. Hello,

    I’m a white guy fortunate to live in one of the most ethnically diverse areas of Europe, in East London. I feel privileged, genuinely, to experience life in this way.

    Recently I was appalled to discover a number of purportedly-respectable websites that deal in thinly veiled white, and particularly Aryan, supremacy. I was moved towards physical nausea at the many thousand of ardent and regular contributors. Words cannot express my shock, sadness and horror that today, in 2009, such sites can exist. For the people there, I feel nothing but deep pity.

    I then set about seeking out a site such as this one.

    Keep up the good work.


  17. It is with great diffidence that I sheepishly announce I am leaving soon (sometime in the next couple weeks) for Korea to pick up my adoptive son, Kisung. So I am going to be spending less time hanging around here getting my head bashed in. I am going to miss my daily dose of racism — that didn’t sound right. Anyway, I’ll be back eventually, because I really need this, but for a while, other concerns are going to take priority.

    If it means anything, his name will remain Kisung, and he was on a special needs waiting list for several months when we found him. I don’t know if it does mean anything, but there ya go. He will be about 20 months old when he arrives. (Can’t believe I’m going back to the toddler years!)

  18. I live in Baltimore, USA and one of my black co-workers was asking me about racism. By far, most of the racism is see is directed against me and some of my fellow scientists by the black locals on the sidewalks and street. I am white and my co-workers are from all over the globe- including subsaharan Africa. We mind our own business and people still curse at and spit on me/us. (really!) The one unifying theme among the pan-ethnic scientists is education. Why are there few local black Baltimoreans on the science staff here?- there are very few educated ones applying. When education becomes a priority for black Americans (and NO, it isn’t the schools- it’s a lack of “[kid’s name here], did you do your homework yet? Let me study with you.”), they will take their place in numbers throughout educated society. It isn’t about race anymore (yes, there are some genuine racists out there- especially the ones who spit at me), it’s about culture. Martin Luther King is turning over in his grave daily at the mass rejection of education by the black community.

    As I grew up in public schools in south Florida, my classes were always multiracial and multinational. I had black and white teachers and we were all treated equally. Kids stratified as the years went on and academic prowess was a function of both the kid and the kid’s parents. Asian kids always did well in school because their culture places education at the top of the priority list. They didn’t go to a special prep school or have high-tech genetic engineering- they did all their homework and studied. White kids were all over the map as some parents (the successful ones) valued learning and some didn’t. Not all, but most black kids tended to do worse and get into more trouble. Those kids who did pay attention and do well were bullied and asked “why you bein’ so white?”. Education = success, not “white”. I was bullied for being a nerd too, but my derogatory label was “geek/nerd/dumb blonde”, not “white”. I continued to study.

    Barak Obama, Nelson Mandala, MLK, MLK Jr., Eric Holder, Colin Powel, Condoleeza Rice: what do all of these people have in common?

    1. they are very well educated
    2. they speak perfect English
    3. they are highly successful

    So, we discriminate based on education and skills for the job, not race. That’s good news because it means people from all over the world (any of any race or combination) can come here to find a better life. Their kids will have access to free education and should they accept it, their opportunities will be limitless.

    My Chinese collegues are baffled by the notion that someone would reject free education (and thus success) and these people must be genetically inferior (be they white, black, latino or other). It is hard to understand but people have to come around in their own time. I hope that time comes soon as we always need fresh minds in science and I’m tired of people spitting on me.

  19. Catherine, I could debunk this piece by piece, but since you didn’t feel the need to back up your claims with research (quite surprising from an alleged educated scientist) why should I dignify your post with a thoroughly researched response? I’ll just address your central tenet about blacks and education.


    “… Many critics claim that blacks have adopted the attitude that doing well in school is “acting white,” and thus have sabotaged their own futures by downgrading intellectual pursuits. Black families come in for special condemnation under such an analysis, criticized for not reinforcing the work done in the classroom, and thereby undercutting whatever success teachers might otherwise have in educating their children…According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 43 percent of black fourth-graders do one hour or more of homework per night, as do 45 percent of whites and 47 percent of Hispanics. In fact, black and Hispanic fourth-graders are both more likely than whites that age to do more than one hour of homework, with 18 percent of Hispanics, 17 percent of blacks, but only 15 percent of whites putting in this amount of study time daily…NCES statistics indicate that black children are more likely than whites to often spend time with their parents on homework. Black students are twice as likely as white students to get help from their parents on homework every day of the school week (twenty percent compared to ten percent), and while roughly half of black students get help from parents on homework at least three times each week, approximately two-thirds of whites get such help two times or less, with whites a third more likely than blacks to work with parents rarely if ever on their homework…The poorest students, from families with less than $5,000 in annual income are actually the most likely to get substantial homework help from their parents, while those from families with incomes of $75,000 or more are least likely to do so. Half of the poorest students work with their parents on lessons three or more times weekly, while only a third of the wealthiest students do…Black parents and their children are also equally likely as their white counterparts to visit a library, art gallery, zoo, aquarium, museum or historic site, as well as a community or religious event: further countering the notion that black parents take less interest in providing educational opportunities for their kids. Furthermore, and contrary to popular belief, three of four black children are read to by their parents when they are young, and black youth are equally or more likely than whites to be taught letters, numbers and words by their parents between the ages of three and five…Black twelfth graders are more than twice as likely as whites to have perfect attendance (16 percent versus 7.4 percent), and are even more likely than Asians to have perfect attendance. Whites are more likely than blacks to have missed seven or more days during the last semester, while blacks are the least likely to have missed that many days of school. There is also no significant difference between whites, Asians and blacks in terms of their likelihood to skip classes…A recent opinion poll of black youth, ages 11-17, found that the biggest hope for these youth was to go to college, and additional studies have found that black youth value academic success every bit as much as white students and often place an even higher priority on educational achievement than whites… Despite claims by many on the right that blacks (especially youth) lack a connection to “mainstream values,” evidence contradicts this notion. One mid-1990s questionnaire of black high school seniors found that black seniors were just as likely as white seniors to say that a good marriage and family life were “extremely important” life goals; 32 percent more likely than whites to say that professional success and accomplishment were “extremely important” life goals; 26 percent more likely than whites to say “making a contribution to society” was extremely important; and 75 percent more likely than whites to say “being a leader in their community” was an extremely important life goal. Black seniors were also 21 percent more likely than whites to attend weekly religious services and almost twice as likely as whites to say that religion played a “very important role in their lives.”…Even when blacks demonstrate equal ability with their white counterparts, they are less likely to be placed in accelerated classes. When kids from lower-income families, disproportionately of color, correctly answer all math questions on a standardized test, they are no more likely to be placed in advanced or college tracks than children from upper-income families who missed a fourth of the questions, and they are 26 percent less likely to be placed in advanced tracks than upper-income persons with comparably perfect scores. Even the President of the College Board has acknowledged that black 8th graders with test scores comparable to whites are disproportionately placed in remedial high school classes…”

    In addition, to your erroneous views on blacks and education, you seem not to know the difference between institutional and interpersonal racism. And if you want to further this discussion, I expect you to cite sources that show there is no bias in hiring in general and the science industry in particular.

    P.S. Most scientists know that the plural of anecdote is not data.

  20. Flower, I see my post has struck a nerve. I didn’t attach or cite any statistics as I was simply supplying my own observations. If your source is correct, what then is the limiting factor for African-Americans entering top posts in this country? Based on my own profession (sorry, no statistics- just personal observation (20/20 with glasses), race is absolutely not a factor. We have every race and nationality under the sun here and- again- the common factor is education. I think science and government are the two institutions that really have leveled the playing field. I just don’t see many American-born blacks or latinos on the faculty here and I just don’t think it’s racial discrimination. In graduate school, it was the same mix. I think it’s a combination of cultural taboo of being a “nerd” and less emphasis (as a group trend) on education. Bill Cosby has it right. My black collegue (who dropped out of high school but then later went back for his GED-good for him!- agrees. He saw pretty much the same thing. He is now trapped in a low-paying job because all he has is a GED, not because he’s black. It really is about education. If AAs are persuing education as avidly as any other and doing just as well, there must be a cultural phenomenon at work (and I don’t think it’s racism). Is there anything I can do to help the situation?

  21. An excerpt from “Education is still blacks’ pathway to freedom” Cleveland.com

    By Kevin OBrien
    February 12, 2009, 4:01AM

    Of the 6.8 million black men who are employed, the vast majority have at least a high school diploma. Many have college degrees or diplomas from technical schools. The same is true for the 8.4 million working black women.

    For black men ages 20 to 24 without a high school diploma, on the other hand, the unemployment rate is 55 percent — an abysmal 91 percent for 18 and 19 year olds. For uneducated black women 20 to 24, it’s close to 30 percent.

    Now, give them each a professional degree — and the unemployment rate all but disappears

    “The higher the learning, the lower the unemployment,” Emy Sok, a bureau economist, told me.

    It’s a message that has echoed throughout black America for generations. The celebrated abolitionist Frederick Douglass was only 8 when he discovered what the fuss over education was all about.

    In his autobiography, Douglass writes about the moment he realized why a slave could be killed for learning to read: Education was the pathway to freedom.

    And so it is today. With more than 40 percent of blacks failing to graduate from some of the nation’s largest urban school systems, little wonder that one in nine black men between 20 and 34 are behind bars. ”

    …and from U.S. Dept of Education, NCES 2003-034

    The high school completion rate indicates
    the percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds who
    have a high school diploma or an equivalent
    credential, including a General Educational
    Development (GED) credential. The
    higher dropout rate for Blacks is reflected in
    the high school completion gap between
    Blacks and Whites. In 2000, Blacks ages 18
    to 24 had a completion rate of 84 percent,
    lower than the White completion rate of 92
    percent, but higher than the Hispanic
    completion rate of 64 percent. Although a
    gap in high school completion rates still exists
    between White and Black young adults,
    the 2000 completion rate for Blacks ages 18
    to 24 years old was statistically significantly
    higher, at 84 percent, than all completion
    rates for Blacks ages 18 to 24 before 1982.
    This indicates that a greater proportion of
    Black young adults in 2000 were completing
    high school than in the 1970s, but
    changes in the percentages completing high
    school since 1982 have generally not been
    statistically significant.”

    There are a lot of data that would support the position of lower value on education by selected cultural groups. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I think people of all colors, shapes and sizes are accountable for their actions and inactions. Kids who skip school, get pregnant and drop out (of all colors, shapes and sizes) will reap what they sow…a whole lot of nothin’. There will always be kids like this but it is disturbing when these features aggregate within cultural groups. If Frederick Douglass could address black and latino communities today, what would he say?

  22. I made an unabashedly honest observation about educational disparity among racial and ethnic groups. I think blogs are a great way tap other minds on the subject. I expect some bashing as a result of my departure from political correctness but it is one of the elephants in the room. If we don’t talk about it, it must not exist. You’re right though, my topic wasn’t on racism, it was on parity in educational achievement, which is cultural. I thought this might be a good forum to discuss matters like this. I really want to hear all kinds of peoples’ points of view. Sometimes I miss stuff.

  23. Catherine, yes, blacks with degrees are more likely to be employed than blacks without them – nobody’s arguing with that. You’re posing a straw man argument. But in fact, kids who skip school, get pregnant and drop out (of all colors, shapes and sizes) don’t reap what they sow — if they’re white they’re likely to suceed anyways. Whites without high school degrees are equally likley to be hired as blacks with them just as whites with criminal records are hired at the same rate as blacks without them just as identifiably black names on a resume get less call backs with the same credentials just as black women with more credentials are three times less likely to be hired that less qualified white women, etc.

    Now, going back to my original stats “Even when blacks demonstrate equal ability with their white counterparts, they are less likely to be placed in accelerated classes. When kids from lower-income families, disproportionately of color, correctly answer all math questions on a standardized test, they are no more likely to be placed in advanced or college tracks than children from upper-income families who missed a fourth of the questions, and they are 26 percent less likely to be placed in advanced tracks than upper-income persons with comparably perfect scores. Even the President of the College Board has acknowledged that black 8th graders with test scores comparable to whites are disproportionately placed in remedial high school classes…” This sort of tracking impedes black people from getting into college.

    Then you have this gem, “With more than 40 percent of blacks failing to graduate from some of the nation’s largest urban school systems.” So the author doesn’t focus on the graduation of blacks from all school systems, he narros his gaze to blacks in the worse school systems. He doesn’t say what percentage of whites manage to graduate from horrible schools.” Surprised you didn’t analyze that — kinda unscientific of you.

    Furthermore, the reason one out of nine black are in jail isn’t that blacks are less educated or blacks are more criminal — it’s injustice in the criminal justice system. For example, whites are more likely to use and sell drugs, blacks are more likely to be arrested and imprisoned for it.

    As for black and white drop out rates — as a scientist you should no about holding variables constant — the stats you quote suspciously don’t address the variable of income level.

    You ignored my data showing that whites are more likely to skip school and you have presented no evidence that black teens get pregnant more than white teens.

    So so far you haven’t been able to prove any of your arguments. If there is so much data proving your argument pony up — so far you haven’t proved a thing. And I really couldn’t care less what you’ve seen through your bigoted eyes — I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – the plural of anecdote is not data.

    Nobody’s said ppl aren’t accountable for their actions — another straw argument.

    If Frederick Douglass were here to address black communities he would say, “Good job,” since blacks are the ones, as per my stats, who are more likely to help their kids with homework, have their kids spend longer on homework, teach them numbers and letters, etc. He would see that blacks are aware of the value of education — and why they do those things. And then he would look over at the white community, failing at those very things, and say, “Get it together.”

  24. Sorry for the double post, my computer is acting up. And Catherine, no one cares about your lack of “political correctness.” It’s your lack of empiricism that’s alarming.

  25. Flower, I agree, the bias you describe absolutely needs to stop. It is terribly unfair. I understand your anger but won’t return it. I don’t hate, I just have an observation that may be instrumental in improving outcome. It’s a partial solution, not a condemnation. All people can improve based on merit. How is that bigoted? Anyway, I guess I’ve been living on the Enterprise NCC-1701D where all species are treated equally. I like it here and fervently hope this is our future.

    If you would like, you may post personal attacks now but I won’t be posting here anymore- too much hate.

  26. Catherine, I have been neither angry nor hateful — but since you know you don’t have real arguments you’re resorting to ad hominem attacks. You say you have, “an observation that may be instrumental in improving outcome” — but as a scientist I’m sure you know the first thing you do when you have an observation that MAY be instrumental — you do research. And you refuse to do that. And because I’ve asked you to do it you’re runnning — which I knew you would.

    And you’re also whipping out the straw man/non sequitor arguments — nobody said that the idea of merit was bigoted. You didn’t come here saying “all people can improve upon merit” and get accused of being a bigot, you said, “black people don’t value education,” and got recognized as a bigot. Don’t switch horses mid-stream.

    People pointing out your conjecture is wrong — and backing it up with facts aren’t being hateful. It’s not too much hate that’s scaring you, it’s too many facts. Because ironically, while ranting about black anti-intellectualism, you showed yourself to be absymally anti-intellectual — and when you got called out as a bigot (because, without facts, you insists blacks don’t care about education) and a poor scientist — because you don’t understand about research, testing hypotheses, controlling variables, and the differences between anecdotes and data you framed it as a personal attack.

    You can go live on “Enterprise NCC-1701D” or anywhere else you like — that’s white privilege, the ability to opt out of the struggle.

  27. “AngryBoy’s” plight is the tip of the iceberg for this fringe therapy cult that trafficks adopted, abused and (more often than not) non-white children. To paraphrase one of my allies – if they weren’t so dependent on public funds (such as adoption subsidies) and insurance reimbursements, the entire practice would be much happier operating underground. But they walk the difficult line of trying to appear legitimate while abusing and trafficking children.

    Probably shouldn’t go further into it at this point as it’s extremely disturbing, triggering stuff, to say the least – so anyway! Hello and cheers for the welcome, avid reader here.

  28. Well, flower, you done good. But I didn’t have too much hope for a “discussion” in which one party is completely ignorant of institutional racism. Or quotes Frederick Douglass without knowing that he was one of the first to talk about it (the “slave of society”). See, because this wasn’t a discussion at all. It was a white person showing you she’s smarter. And you’re the hater.

  29. is there any other way to go through your archives than just paging back one page at a time? any page with, for example, links to older entry by month/year?

  30. Hi, I really like reading this blog a lot. I was wondering if you could tell me more about it? Who the authors are? When this blog started, etc?

  31. I was just over at What Tami Said, and one of her thought provoking posts made me realize that I owed gratitude to all the people on the blogosphere who made me think and taught me something. So, I just popped by to say: Thanks, Resistance!

  32. I just want to say how sick I am of white folks not getting how important it is not to touch black kids’ hair. After reading posts on the adoption hair group I am so friggin’ annoyed at people who are raising kids of color that don’t get it. “Lighten up.” “It’s just your opinion.” “I loved it when the Ethiopians touched my blonde hair!”

    Okay. I’m done. Maybe.

  33. Her book — “Mixing Cultural Identities Through Transracial Adoption” — describes how the project started as a handshake agreement between the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Child Welfare League.

    The idea was to rescue American Indian children from poverty and challenging social conditions and give them access to the resources of the white middle class.

    But in reality, activists say, it was another effort by the white U.S. government to eradicate the American Indian population.

    …She was adopted at age 2 by a white couple — Eleanor and Jed Devan. While her mother simply wanted a child, her dad, Harness said, bought into the noble idea of “saving” an American Indian girl from her ancestry.

    Soon others were adopting American Indian children, including church families across the country, she said.

    “At the time it was considered the ‘in’ adoption,” Harness said. “If you could save a poor Indian child, you were a good person.”


  34. Resistance,
    First, Hope you have a happy hollydaze:)

    Also, I am reading a book called Say You’re One of Them, by Uwem Akpan, there is a short storie in it called “Fattening for Gabon”, and although I haven’t finished it yet, it’s filled with surprise and paradox, can’t put it down, if you are looking for something to read, you might enjoy this one.

  35. Where are the African-American families in the U.S.? Why aren’t we hearing about US adopting children? Why, because African-Americans are concerned about families staying together. The other people are concerned about exploiting the misfortune of these children. As many little black children in every state in the U.S. in need of homes, why are these European Americans going to far off countries ripping apart these families? What are they really getting out of the deal?
    I tried to adopt 3 little girls here in the states, I came faced with so much scrutiny that I felt my natural children would be in danger.
    I have friends who still have not been able to get their documents to travel to these countries to aid in the relief of these families. How is the European Americans can wake up one morning and hop a plane to these countries on the other hand, African Americans can’t get a government agency to talk to them on the phone. I am confused by all of this.
    Someone please explain what is really going on.

  36. Asked by the attendant at the US immigration office, “Didn’t you mean to circle white?” because I had circled Pacific Islander. Since they refuse to put “biracial” on their dumb forms I go with what I mainly identify as.

    “No, I didn’t make a mistake. I am Pacific Islander.”

    Get to the fingerprint machine and the guy puts in “white” under race. Why even bother with the form. We should just let immigration guess how we identify. Waste of a circle if you ask me.

  37. has anyone heard of / does anyone have thought on


    “Chan is Missing” – 1982 movie, mostly Asian cast. Some one just brought up to me “of course you’ve heard of this!!”… er, no. IMDB certainly makes it sound promising

    “Two cabbies search San Francisco’s Chinatown for a mysterious character who has disappeared with their $4000. Their quest leads them on a humorous, if mundane, journey which illuminates the many problems experienced by Chinese-Americans trying to assimilate into contemporary American society. “

  38. My comment asking you if there was a way to contact you via email got deleted so I guess I’ll just let you know here… Thanks for sharing Omowale Akintunde’s article “White racism, white supremacy, white privilege and the social construction of race”. I found the last two comments by Dev offensive, but it’s an old post so I don’t know how much good it will do to actually reply to those comments. I did want to say something about it though, hence this comment.

  39. Hi Carolyn, we didn’t delete your comments. It’s just that often nobody is on comment duty. Sorry for the delay. Feel free to share your thoughts on old posts. Lots of the older posts get a lot of traffic.

  40. Thanks for the link, StTex.

    … the study finds that denying or ignoring racial discrimination leads to greater psychological distress, including anxiety and depression, and lowers self-esteem.

  41. Ken Liu, whose essay I linked to in the latest thread on TRAs, emailed me saying that he got hate mail from people who clicked through. No one else commented on the essay within the comments, so if you could shoot me an email or something, would be swell.

  42. “Becoming Korean: Ethnic identity development when your parents are White”

    Click to access IAPnewsletter2010.pdf

    See page 12 — the study suggests that in the effort to build Korean adoptees’ ethnic identity, parental attitudes towards racism trump cultural socialization activities.

  43. Just wanted to let you know I love the “no rainbow farters” line. Thanks for this blog!

  44. Consumerist, a blog that reposts other people’s customer service failure stories, has a history of ignoring their comments code in relation to racism. Despite many complaints in the latest race driven thread, they refuse to moderate racist comments. Normally I’d chalk the site up to being institutionally racist. But in this case, with the Consumerist, I feel this is a massive fail on their part.

    They recently published an exceptionally baiting story:

    The comments are chalk full of racism So, I contacted the Consumerist moderator. She basically told me, their opinions were either jokes, or are confirmed by well-known, reputable studies. Is there some method I can send you a copy of our email exchange if your interested?

  45. Hi,
    I am working with some young adults to have an anti-racism workshop at a camp we are doing next weekend. Do you give permission to print and copy your writing and how would I get that permission? I would like to use your Racism 101 list. If you do not want this copied as a handout, I can give the link (which I would do on the handout) and they can research it themselves.

    Thanks so much.
    Alice King
    Young Adult and Campus Ministry Coordinator
    First UU Church of San Diego

  46. Hi Resistance,

    Thank you for your fabulous blog.

    Every time I think things could not get weirder in TX, I see something like this (see below) on the news…. It may be of interest to your readers. The comments of the bar owner dropped my jaw. She pretty much says that because she is part Hispanic, it is OK to be a racist to other Hispanics. Erg.


    HUNTSVILLE, Texas – The name of a Huntsville bar’s weekly drink special has stirred up controversy in the area.

    The Draft Bar in Huntsville has daily drink specials like Monday Madness. But it’s the name of their Wednesday special that caused Arthur Guerrero to contact 11 News.

    “I happened to be eating and asked them, ‘What exactly is WB Wednesdays,?’” said Guerrero. “And almost immediately, like there was nothing wrong with it, the waitress told me, ‘Oh, its Wetback Wednesdays.’”

    “I consider that word to be offensive in any way that it’s used,” said Jorge Varela, a Huntsville-area resident.

    Bar manager Dina Shipley defended the drink special.

    “Our response to them is this is all in fun. It’s not…we don’t put it up there to be derogatory or racist,” said Shipley, who is part Mexican.

    But down the street at La Mexicana Supermarket, Hispanic customers and workers were taking the promotion as offensive.

    “It is more or less insulting to anybody of Hispanic heritage,” said Hector Menendez, a student at Sam Houston State University.

    “This is racism,” said Isabel Quintana, an employee at La Mexicana Supermarket. “This is racist. I don’t like it.”

    The Draft Bar, however, does not have any plans to change it.  

    “We are not going to be persuaded by someone else’s opinion or views or moral values. We have the right to put up whatever we want on our board,” said Shipley.

    But some customers say they have rights, too, such as taking their business somewhere else.

    “I won’t go in there again,” said Guerrero. “They can get rid of the special, from my perspective. I think the damage has been done with me.”

  47. Hey Resistance,
    I’ve been reading your blog for a while and have always enjoyed the issues you bring to light (and your comments about them :)) and I was wondering where you get all of your great news? Blogs? Newspapers? What are you reading? Many times, the first I’ve heard of something is here.

    So thanks for your coverage too! Take care.<3julie

  48. Hi julie, thanks for your nice comment. We are news junkies and read lots of online and actual paper news sources. Also lots of blogs. If we read something in a blog we link back so our readers can find other blogs. <3

  49. Just a vent to someone who would understand…

    Yesterday I found a racist/classist disparaging “joke” in my office break room. When I held it up to the staff and asked who put it in there they told me it was the manager. I called her and verified that it was her and told her (I was actually yelling I think) that it wasn’t funny, that it was racist and degrading to our patients(I’m a medical social worker). She said, “I’m sorry.”(dripping with sarcasm). I said, “Do you understand why this is offensive?” She said, “I can see how it could be construed as offensive. Just throw it away.”

    Did I throw it away? Nope. I marched down to HR and explained the situation to the rep. The sad thing is that this is not the first time she has been a horrible human being. I’m on-call there and my review is in a few weeks. Wonder what it will be like?

    The saddest thing is that others saw it and said nothing.

  50. Hey Melanie, I’m glad to hear you raised the issue. My suggestion would be to put it in a memo (with a copy of the “joke” attached) as well.

  51. I love the blog. Like you said, antiracism is about action. My sisters and I are also taking action and speaking out about the segregation that is very much alive and felt by mixed kids. We run the Diaries of a Mixed (Up) Kid blog and we’d love to work with your blog. Drop us an email or comment.

  52. @Melanie a few posts above. I think that is one of the most fascinating strategies they have, the whole ‘I can understand how people that come from where you are from would find this as offensive’. What does that MEAN?!

    Hang in there, Melanie.

  53. Resistance,
    Have you ever seen or written about Border Morris dancing? I dropped a photography group over an image from this “festival” today.
    Also,, I have to say thank you for teaching me how to take action and say something,
    thank you…

  54. R.–

    Thanks for keeping us thinking about how people treat each other.

    The Houston Chronicle had a letter to the editor, by Geoffrey Hoffman, (director, University of Houston Immigration Clinic), that did a very nice job of addressing why the “birther” issue is more than just about a piece of paper and should concern all of us.

    Here is the link and the text:


    Impure motives

    The continuous mentioning of the ludicrous “birther” issue, already thoroughly debunked, the statement by Donald Trump that the president was “not a good student,” not “fit” for the Ivy League, brought into sharp relief his true intentions, Trump’s true message. It is nothing more than modern-day race baiting, an appeal to voters based upon racism and prejudice.
    Of course Donald Trump is a joke. You might say, why bother listening to such idiocy? The joke, however, is at our expense – as a nation, as a people. There are those in our country who are looking for a movement, looking for ways to justify their prejudices. They are an incipient movement of racists and bigots. Trump is their leader. The sooner we identify him as such, the better. Whether he seeks the presidency for the greater good of the country, as he claims, or for greater profits for his brand, or for more insidious reasons, the reality is that Trump’s message is disingenuous at best, and dangerous at worst.
    The road to hate speech is a gradual one. We don’t normally penalize such speech in this country in any event. A person can get away with saying almost anything, except in the rare case where he is advocating “imminent lawless action,” or in the words of Justice Holmes, where there is a “clear and present danger” of violence. Even flag burning, and apparently Quran burning, are protected, even when such an act leads to violence overseas or interferes with our nation’s foreign policy. The First Amendment protects a vast array of even the most bigoted speech and also certainly protects Trump’s scurrilous ramblings against the president. But the First Amendment only provides Trump the right to speak. It does not and should not immunize the speech from review and criticism. The First Amendment is not a blanket that smothers the debate about the true message behind the speech. Trump’s subtext here is that the president is unfit for office because of either a failure to qualify as a “natural-born” American or because of lack of educational success, both of which are completely spurious charges.
    So what does Trump have to gain by repeating untrue and unfounded assertions in the media, again and again? By his speech, he is consciously paving the road for greater and greater bigotry and further more serious attacks. He is opening up a space in the political discussion, little by little, in an attempt to normalize race-based attacks. This normalization has already been successful, as we saw recently when Marilyn Davenport, an elected member of the Orange County Republican Central Committee, sent around an email with the president depicted as an ape. (“‘Despicable’ email puts GOP official in hot spot,” Page A8, April 17).
    Davenport, like Trump, is testing the waters. We concerned Americans must respond forcefully and repudiate such messages. The failure to do so would be a retreat from the progress which the election meant for this country.

    – Geoffrey A. Hoffman,
    director, University of Houston Immigration Clinic

  55. The ‘who just commented’ or whatever box is gone! Why? I used that to keep track of changes on this site. Meh.

  56. HELLO!

    this is my first time to the site, i love the concept, i will be sure to check it out more when i get to work.

    the reason i googled the phrase “racism on the internet” and landed here is obvious. i always thought in the 90s that racism was slowly getting better, but in the last 10 years i really think we are reverting not only as a nation, but as a global community. i think it is sad that the big sites aren’t taking this more seriously.

    YouTube concerns me the most, because of how popular it is. while some content is rated for people above the age of 18 because it is not for children, anyone can comment on any video. the real racism on YouTube is in the comments, not KKK videos, or Aryan brotherhood videos, but just a random teen pop stars video will have the N word, or a term for Hispanics, Asians, middle eastern people, and of course racism against white people is there as well. i would think a huge company such as google who owns youtube would exercise some control over offensive material. the same with yahoo answers. that site is a joke and is a perfect example of social decay.

    i really blame fox news and talk radio for exploiting 9/11 to make it OK to hate a certain group of people. once intolerance against one group of people is tolerated, it is not going to be far before we get to a point…well…. like today. vile hatred is everywhere and as an engineering drinking coffee getting ready for work… it is hard for me to understand why things are the way they are.

    either way, these are my thoughts and i just needed to vent somewhere where my valiant efforts to not be a dick are appreciated lol

  57. Would it be possible to edit the website layout in some way that makes the text less troublesome to read?

    There’s something with the font on the white background that is really draining on my eyes.

    Thank you!

  58. Hi cortez, have any specific suggestions? I tried changing the background color but it doesn’t seem to have worked. Will keep trying other combinations.

  59. I do not care how you choose to spin it and I do emphsize the “SIN” in Spin racism – which in its core definition is an attitude a belief system (i,e, prejudice & descrimination are acts of racism just like kissing and sex can be considered acts of love): The bottom line is that if some one calls someone any racially degrading nomenclature (I refuse to type them as I am vehemently opposed to their use for any reason) they are acting out their particuliar racist beliefs. The quickest way to elicit love is to treat each other in love. A kind word will stun and stammer evne the cruelest at heart. There is a movement on many campuses to “give your word to end the word” in regards to the “R” word referencing mentally handicapped individuals. In the famous words of a certain Mr. King “Can’t we all just get along.”

    The answer to this, unfortunately, is that of a strong “no.” Why would I say this? The answer is simple, as long as we allow even the minoroities to say racial comments or orate racial commentaries of any kind… race will always be an issue. Is there an inegalitarian system that needs to have adrastic overhaul? HELL YES! Should we, from all walks of life, wage a war to change the status Quo? HELL YES! Will things ever change if anybody for any reason is allowed to make racial comments, jokes, scits, comic routines, shows, songs, and all other manifestations? HELL NO! It is time for us to honor those emancipatory figures that have gone before us and will go beyond us, and treat EVERYBODY THE WAY WE WANT TO BE TREATED & ELICIT SOCIOPOLITICAL CHNGE IN THE PROCESS!!! But they must go hand in hand or neither will come to fruition.

  60. Great blog. I am going to follow, especially to see whether you type more on adoption. You said something that really struck a chord with me – “how desperate must you be to give your child up?” It really got me thinking about colonialism, about unpaid and unfair labor and people’s poverty,, and about living conditions that would cause someone to give up their child (and i’m referring here to parents who lack the resources, for whatever reason, to raise their children. I’m not talking about children whose parents were lost in accidents or natural disasters).

    Maybe instead of spending 20k on adoption I should do microloans through Kiva. Or start a nonprofit, or work with an existing one, that would help ensure a family’s economic well-being. What could I do, with my American wealth (we’re lower middle class in our country, but we have plenty to spare) to ensure that a parent doesn’t have to give up their child? What purchases can I make that don’t exploit an entire nation?

    I’m not judging those who adopt. And I might still adopt. But I need to be really clear about why and what it means. For a child, for a parent, for me, and for everyone.

    Thanks for your insight. Your comment was brief, but it was a lightbulb moment for me. A gut-wrenching,check myself, light bulb moment. Painful. But thanks.

  61. Adoptive parent here. Halloween seems to be bringing out the racism in people — I’ve seen some scary things on Facebook and in blogs this past week. I’d love to link to your “Racism 101” and “We Heard It Before” posts, but at the same time I don’t want to unleash a bunch of defensive (“I’m not a racist!”) racists on your website. Do you have any restrictions on links? I want to give credit but not open the door to ugliness.

  62. Hi, as a new reader and an adoptee myself, I am grateful that you talk about racism and adoption on your blog. I struggle a lot with my identity and started searching for answers on the internet, where I could see the point of view of people non-pro-adoptive. I’m tired and sad to see so much people trivializing adoption and racism issues.

    I actually started my own blog less than 1 year ago, but in French(as its my native language). Please feel free to check it out :)

    I think that seeing how I am not alone in this, helps me a lot to held it together. Thank you for your articles, I’ll be looking forward them.

  63. First comment here, because I know you and I have crossed paths on discussing racism and internalized racism/prejudice before.

    An adoptive parent has posted this because she thinks it’s funny:

    http://fiveofmyown.blogspot.com/2011/10/ self-image.html

    And then when myself and another adoptee commented on how it’s not funny, she said the context was not in a racist environment, and that in fact, her daughter had seen pictures of other Chinese people in a book and wanted to stretch her eyes back to imitate them.

    Which apparently makes a racial slur “funny.” Which makes it okay because it wasn’t used in a racist environment.

    http://fiveofmyown.blogspot.com/2011/10/ take-chill-pill.html

  64. @Mei-Ling, I also left comments at that blog, the blogger deletes them, I probably left a few obscenities after that too:), anyway, after perusing her site, I gather that she loves ladybugs and lovesn’t love “angry adoptees”..

  65. @Mei-Ling and Vanishing: I don’t know what’s worse about that post, the fact that the adoptive mother is so arrogant and ignorant about a very hurtful and racist gesture made by her daughter or the comments about how “some people are so sensitive!” Yuck.

  66. Hi randomadoptee, nice to see you here. My French is terrible but sinoangle will undoubtedly be stopping by.

    Carrie, feel free to link. We are not skeered of no stinking hordes!

  67. Just linked to you in a post, at my collective website for adoptees of color talking about race. Please poke around and I hope you enjoy the adoptees-control-the-discourse format. Maybe you could add us to your blogroll!


  68. racism exists through the designation/separation of races
    if we start to see people for their human similarities and analyze them on non-superficial aspects we can start to let go of these ignorant judgements

  69. Hi, I came across this book recently and thought it might be interesting to you if you haven’t seen it before. The title of the book is “Banished to the homeland” by David C. Brotherton. It’s about the implications of being deported from the US for Dominicans through the 1996 U.S. Immigration Reform and Responsibility Act. The book is a result of a 7-year research conducted by Brotherton.

  70. @P.D. and anonymous: This blog is suggesting that people should use consistent handles as there are entirely too many “anonymouses” on the internet.

    @Anne M. Life ran away from me. Thank you for your good wishes.

  71. I am just ranting about this wherever I can and thought you might want to make mention of this. One of the bigger newspapers took a blog post written by a First Nations woman, gave the byline to one of their writers and barely offered an apology when called out on it.

    It’s shameful.

  72. Lori (haven't been on the web much. I am Lori the adoptive mom, not to be confused w Lori the birthmom - should I change my name? my old email no longer works) says:

    Are there charities – adoption /education /anti-trafficking /helping non-adopted persons in orphanages/ medical eg minority marrow donation,

    or other charities related in some way to race issues or adoption, that readers here recommend as having a worthy mission, and being an honest organization?

  73. Also I am _not_ Lori from fiveofmyown ….. just went there from here and noticed that – not to publish, just saying!

  74. Hello! how are you? my name is Guada and I’m from The third world. . I wanted to submit a question I have already submitted to other bloggers to see if you could answer me. if you wouldn’t mind If I submit a copy of the text I already submitted elsewhere because writing in english is difficult for me?
    I’m from the third world, and I’ve been reading the most I can recently about racism, sexism, transphobia in english-american blogs, basically because I found loads and loads of material that I didn’t find in spanish. Also seeking for answers, because I always was taught that civil rights were in better shape in the North. Well… The thing is that when I wanted to see what american activists suggest to do to change things I didn’t found clear answers, I wanted to compare how things are done in other countries to see, well, if there were information that could be useful to replicate here. So, most of the things I found give suggestions like micro activism and encouraging people to own their privileges, people googling information about the issue, plus commentaries about the role of the media (demanding the media to stop reinforcing stereotypes, etc). I wanted to ask you if you have an opinion about the role of the State and their institutions (the School, the health care institutions).
    Can the state be held accountable for being discriminative?
    Because something we discuss here is that we need to change the way everything is taught, from teaching from a modern european perspective ( it would be necessary to challenge modern thinking that gives kids the idea that you can logically calculate and measure and classify everything and everyone); and the way history tells always the Western-european story, how we are not told about the black people, the original people who did great things for our history, the way the privilege system works, why some sectors of society are oppressed, and many many other things. There are some new asignatures (or subjects) like Costruction of Citizenship and Contemporary Culture that attempt to tackle this subjects (althought I think we need even more contents and discussion in the schools, but it’s a start). And also the importance of having education available for everyone for free in every level and having good public hospitals. While these things are discussed it’s very difficult to do, because. You know. It’ll take a lot of struggle and such.
    But I wanted to ask because I haven’t found much material on this subject and I wanted to know if this is discussed as a possible outcome?
    Because people seem to focus in calling out bigotry and demanding the media to stop reinforcing stereotypes; and I wonder if the state shouldn’t be called out for not fullfilling their obligation of listening to their people and assuring their safety and well-being by educating massively everyone to not be a racist/sexist/transphobic/ableist/homophobic/classist through the school, and whatever means available. Is this not considered something viable or is it considered a bad idea? Or hasn’t this been discussed much?
    Do you think that it would be possible someday to demand the state changes the education system to teach about privilege? To make people understand their privileges? Because I really think that If one expects priviledged people to educate themselves not much is going to happen (besides I really don’t understand the concept of someone educating themselves since I have this idea of education as the construction of knowledge between two or more people, but that’s a cultural notion). They already have been educated to ignore their privilege. They think they are already educated. They are flying in a cloud of denial that is created by the education they recieved, and the media and that is made to be as plastic and alluring as possible.
    To me, while the least priviledged people owe minorities is researching and learning about privilege and doing something, there is also a social construction that in democracy is supposedly in charge of taking care of the citizens and listening to their reclaims. There is an institution formed of people that gets paid with tax money and is supported through that people’s work and the election system whose job is to ensure the well being of the citizens. That’s the State. The state is there to make sure that should anyhting happen you’re not naked in the snow.
    I see a lot of posts directed at individuals or at companies, wich is GREAT, but not much directed at the state. Maybe I’m carrying a cultural perspective, (we tend to hold the State accountable for everything down here). I’m really asking because I haven’t found much conversations on this, and people I have asked either don’t know or think it’s impossible.
    The reason I submit this is to understand better and also because maybe maybe if there is a chance this can be of interest or useful for you.

  75. I am so glad that I have found this site
    I am seriously fed up of being racially discriminated against, generally by highly educated people, who should know a lot better
    I have flagged the latest incidences on a community forum, only to be shot down. Had to explain what passive racism is, only for people to get very defensive and say that there isn’t a problem, if there wasn’t why get defensive
    ignorance is bliss it would appear, not however if you are victim
    brilliant site, thanks

  76. Whoa, something’s different. Can’t quite put my finger on it :P So far this seems alright, is the change in layout here to stay or experimental?

  77. Whoa. Again it changed, Hm… This was a cleaner look, somehow. But it necessitates a lot more scrolling. I do enjoy being able to read some text to get an idea what the post is about, as opposed to the previous look where all you had was photos :) Oh! And the tags showing on top was a nice twist!

  78. This is way better. I didn’t love clicking on pictures without any text to know whether I’d be interested in the post.

  79. What? You aren’t interested in EVERYTHING?! I am crushed, I tell you, crushed!

    Ideally the blog format would show some text, the front page would display recent comments and the blogroll and there would be pictures. I decided I liked pictures and wanted to change to a format that would encourage/force me to include them. Haven’t checked it out on any smaller devices yet, curious to know how it appears on tablets and phones.

  80. On my Galaxy Note phone, it looks just fine. What surprised me is that the article ‘ten thousand somtehings’ had a different pic, instead of the one jesus peeking out of the concrete, I get three poking out of the snow :D

  81. Exactly one month since you posted here. Here’s hoping you are fine, and that whatever holiday you (don’t) celebrate gives you time to breathe and charge up for another imperialist onslaught at the hands of patriarchy, various forms of white supremacy and so forth.

  82. 2013 is the 50th anniversery of many important events in the Civil Rights Movement (the Children’s March, the March on Washington, & the bombing of the 16th St. Baptist Church that killed the four girlsto name a few) so I expect we’ll see lots about it. Seems to me it would be a great time to get dialogue going on the racial issues still prevelent today. (I included the bombing because I believe that contributed to getting the nations & the Kennedy’s attention & moved things along for civil rights legislation.)

  83. Hi! I’ve enjoyed and learned a lot from your blog. I am hoping this might be an appropriate place to ask for an opinion or suggestions for a place to look for information. I have asked Google as many ways as I could think of and tried to find related posts on blogs like (and including) this one, but can’t find anything directly addressing this. Maybe it’s a stupid question? I am hoping I did enough research before this that I’m not being a lazy white person asking other people to do the heavy lifting for me- I understand that I totally deserve a verbal ass-kicking if I didn’t.

    Basically, I’d be very grateful for any help, tips, warnings, or suggestions on how to (and/or whether it’s possible to) be respectful and not be racist while trying to caricature people of colour as a white person.

    I am an artist who does, among other things, caricatures at fairs. Knowing what someone wants and wont be hurt by is the single most important part of caricaturing someone. It can go further than tactfully not exaggerating a receding hairline or zit- for example, I have found that white women who are very ‘done up’ tend to prefer being given a drawing of a generic model rather than an actual caricature of themselves, because they dislike their own facial features (tending to aim for one ideal). I don’t exaggerate features to the point of being ‘ugly’, but ‘ugly’ is socially constructed and rather moveable. I know that ‘pretty’ is so often defined as being white, and caricatures of people of colour have been used in racist ways for so long that it would be/is very easy as an artist to unwittingly support racist structures, so I’ve tried to read about race and beauty issues in addition to general racial prejudices. If anyone had ideas for other areas to research to educate myself to help avoid this that I haven’t thought of, they’d be gratefully received.

    Until last month, I had lived and worked until now in a relatively small rural area that is nearly exclusively home to white people (there was literally one black family in a town of 20k, and none in the surrounding uber-rural areas that came out for fairs). The city I moved to has a million people, about a third of which (according to the census) are ‘visible minorities’. I’ve been invited to work with another (white) artist at a major festival this summer doing caricatures, and there are several smaller fairs that happen regularly in the section of town that I live in, and the population here is mostly people of colour. I want to be respectful and make people happy with what they get, but I live in the Canadian equivalent of Texas so I don’t necessarily trust my colleague or the organizers to fully know how his/our drawings would affect marginalized groups. Thus I ask here- to hopefully learn more about how people feel and how not to hurt them, or to find a direction to look for that in.

    I understand the glaringly obvious things, such as not to exaggerate features of poc more than I would for wp, and to not include anything ‘because its stereotypical’. I get that old-timey racist depictions like minstrel dolls and WWII anti-Japanese propaganda are obviously racist caricatures because they don’t even look like humans- it’s the nuances I am most worried about. Again, I’d never make someone look ‘ugly’, but I’m not sure where to look for guidelines about how or if its possible to exaggerate features in a non-racist way. How poc represent themselves in speech is not necessarily an ok way for a wp to represent them (ie wp feeling the need to use the n-word casually), so I assume the same can hold true for drawings (what I see a poc draw on DeviantArt isn’t necessarily OK for me to draw).

    Would it be possible to be respectful by only exaggerating the features that aren’t typically racialized- drawing eyes, nose, lips, hair, curves, and teeth realistically? Are there even any features that haven’t been used in a racist way against people?

    Should I avoid literally caricaturing poc at all? I don’t want to have a ‘stock drawing’ of poc like I do for ‘done up’ wp, because that seems incredibly racist. The best solution I can think of at the moment is maybe to try to draw a more realistic cartoon of poc to avoid exaggeration of features at all, in a facial art style more like ‘Kirokou’ or the protagonists in ‘The Boondocks’. But I also am wary of assuming I know what any given poc would want when coming to my table (assuming it would even be possible to non-racistly caricature poc as a wp).

    Any help or links or suggestions on what to read about this kind of issue would be gratefully received and pored over. When consulting Prof. Google about this issue, I only found people talking about super-racist depictions (golliwogs, Zwarte Piet, WWII propaganda, not-so-old superhero comics- which I did read) . Looking at caricatured political cartoons of Obama just confused me more- some published ones seem pretty messed up.

    Thank you so much for your time and energy if you have any to spare for this.

  84. Resistance:

    I can’t find a place to contact you privately by email, so I suppose this will do.

    I am trying to get a project off the ground called UW-Madison Microaggressions. In short, it would be a blog that posts student submissions about microaggressions they’ve experienced on campus. However, I’m aware that when microaggressions are brought up, there is a tendency for non-minorities to try to invalidate them. Many of the invalidating remarks that can be made match up perfectly with your “We Heard It Before” list. However, for our project we are interested in not only exposing microaggressions related to racism; we would also like to bring issues of homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, ableism, sizeism, class/religion/age/etc discrimination to light. While your “We Heard It Before” list is tailored perfectly to issues of race, I would like permission to alter it slightly to fit a wider spectrum. I would still be willing and able to give you full credit (ie: stating clearly that our list was adapted from your “We Heard It Before” list, links to list and website).

    Thank you for your time and consideration,
    Jessica Draws

  85. Hi Jessica Draws, I see you wrote this in April. Sorry. Our e-mail is something really obvious at gmail but we are all very bad at checking e-mail. Please do use the list with attribution; we’d love to see the result and hear about your project.

  86. I stumbled upon your blog by accident. I suffer from a particularly serious form of PTSD. It’s the kind where someone tried to murder a four-year old child, but the child survived and then went on to have all sorts of other terrible things happen to her and her parents never intervened and there was no therapy until she was 19. They call it “aggravating a pre-existing condition”. It rewires the way my brain works and makes things like talking to people scary, because my social skills are still being worked on- was this inappropriately too much information? I have no idea, sorry.

    Anyway, the point of all that was a sort of explanation to how I ended up here. I wanted to know how other people deal with the sort of social experiences I fear so that I have an idea of what I’m supposed to do if and when it happens to me. (That’s how I ended up here).

    My whole life I struggled with identity. Not who-am-I-what-do-I-want identity, but how-did-I-get-here identity. My father insisted my whole childhood that I was white and he tried to stuff his extreme Conservative and occasionally racist views down my throat. Then I moved in with my mother and I learned just how much people could find to hate about me.

    Through my mother I learned this: I am a physically disabled female that comes from a mixed (Middle Eastern, Northern African, Mediterranean) family being raised by a poor, lesbian, single mother who worked three jobs to feed and clothe me. Also we were Jewish.

    The trick there was is my father wanted me to be white, because he wanted to be white, and I looked it (very pale skin, palest in the family), because he did not like where he and my mother came from. I found myself in a position I mistakenly thought at the time was unique. I got to experience a lot of white privilege until people got to know me better. Others found a lot in me suddenly to distrust and hate. I have been told my mother will rot in hell, that I better not “Jew” them out of their money when their not looking and that I would never amount to anything.

    Jokes on them! I now have two degrees and my mother has a prestigious career at an Ivy League university.

    But I still struggle with all of it, of course. A man- a gay man who grew up in the 60s and 70s- said something once in a book that made me understand a little more. I don’t have his name in my head, and the words are paraphrased, but I hope they help someone else understand a little better too:

    You must love yourself the most when you are hated the most. When there is no more hate, we must have neutrality- because too much love is just as bad as too much hate.

    Anyway, I love your blog a lot. It makes me think and it makes me feel less alone.

  87. I just wanted to leave a mote to say that I miss you and hope you’re doing well. I’m a little sad at the news about Grace Lee Boggs, but she lived a great life that she could be proud of, and I can only hope to touch a percentage of the people she did. But you’re the reason I knew who she was.

    So thanks.

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