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Entries in racism (11)


Would Frantz Fanon Agree With Orville Lloyd Douglas & His Essay 'Why I Hate Being A Black Man'?

Seeing these images of Marcelia Freesz, lensed by Fernando Louza for Marie Claire Brazil’s November issue got me thinking about Cuba and America. Paulo Martinez styles Marcelia in sheer, tropical elegance with utilitarian touches for a hard soft effect in ‘Havana Club’.

This weekend I caught Canadian Orville Lloyd Douglas on CNN, talking with Don Lemon about his essay ‘Why I hate being a black man’. His comments have caused both a backlash and an uproar — and also interesting dialogue like Douglas’ discussion with Lemon.

The issue of black self-hatred is something I am supposed to pretend does not exist. However, the great French psychiatrist Frantz Fanon wrote about this issue in his ground breaking book Black Skin White Masks in a chapter called “the Lived Experience of the Black Man”. According to Fanon, the black man is viewed in the third person, and he isn’t seen as a three-dimensional human being. The black man internalizes the perspectives of white society and its negative thoughts about blackness affect his psyche. In the chapter, Fanon discusses a white child calling him the “N word” and how he becomes cognizant of how he is different and viewed as someone people should fear.

Posting ‘Havana Club’ coincides with Sunday’s New York Times ‘Opinionator’ column A Lesson From Cuba on Race. I was researching Cuba’s health and education statistics like infant mortality rates — where Cuba’s is lower than America’s. It’s rates of vaccination and even education are equal to or better than ours. See Cuba; see America.

Written by Alejandro de la Fuente, director of the Afro-Latin American Research Institute at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research and the author of “A Nation for All: Race, Inequality and Politics in Twentieth-Century Cuba.”

De la Fuente’s words echo those of Orville Lloyd Douglas and Frantz Fanon:

In other words, despite Cuba’s success in reducing racial inequality, young black males continued to be seen as potential criminals. Perceptions of people of African descent as racially differentiated and inferior continued to permeate Cuban society and institutions. The point is not that issues of economic justice and access to resources are irrelevant. Eliminating massive inequality is a necessary step if we are ever going to dismantle racial differences. There is, as Gutting argues, a deeper issue of access to basic resources that does need solution. But the Cuban experience suggests that there are other equally deep issues that need to be addressed as well.

Those issues relate to what another writer here, George Yancy, in writing about the Trayvon Martin case, referred to as a “white gaze” that renders all black bodies dangerous and deviant. Unless we dismantle this gaze and its centuries-strong cultural pillars, it will be difficult to go past the outrage on race.

As for Cuba’s relations with the US, Reuters reported yesterday that a new mood of cooperation — “a surprise warming” is “raising expectations of possible agreements to bring the two countries closer after more than 50 years of hostility.”

And who said that fashion isn’t relevant in provoking conversation! ~ Anne

Related reading: Jay Z breaks Barneys silence, says he’s going forward with fashion line deal and promises to personally tackle racial profiling allegations.


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Senate Showdown Over Military Assaults | Marijuana Arrest Rates Target Blacks | Komen Cancels 2014 Races

French Roast News

Anne is reading …

Military leaders agreed on the need to do more to prevent sexual assaults while resisting any and all attempts to institute reforms, including removing the handling of sexual assault cases from the chain of command.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described the sexual assaults “like a cancer” in the military. But he said only the commanders — who resulted in a 1% conviction rate in last years’ estimated 26,000 sexual assaults — can change it.

“Not every single commander necessarily wants women in the force. Not every single commander believes what a sexual assault is. Not every single commander can distinguish between a slap on the ass and a rape because they merge all of these crimes together,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

Frustration among the senators was obvious in a unified group of seven women senators from both parties. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, a Navy veteran of Vietnam, said he could no longer give his unqualified support that women are safe in the military. Note that 50% of sexual assault victims are men. Proportionally, women are more likely to be assaulted, representing a much smaller number of service members.

The Washington Post summarizes that “More than 40 senators are sponsors or co-sponsors of the proposals, several of which have overlapping provisions. A bill by Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., would provide any victims with a special military lawyer who would assist them throughout the process. Another, sponsored by Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, would require any service member found guilty of rape or sexual assault receive a minimum punishment of a dismissal or a dishonorable discharge. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., introduced a bill with provisions that require commanders to submit reports of sex-related offenses to more senior officers within 24 hours.”

Drug Use & Drug Arrest By Race

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A major study by the ACLU reports the huge disparity between the number of black Americans and whites arrested for marijuana possession. The report confirms that blacks and whites use marijuana at about the same rates. Among young people ages 18-25, usage rates are higher for whites.

Iowa leads the country, arresting blacks at 8.34 times the rate of whites, while DC arrests blacks at 8.05 times the rate of whites for marijuana possession. Nationally, blacks are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested. Graphs via Washington Post.

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Komen Cancels 2014 Races

Dayna Smith/For The Washington Post - Walkers in the The Komen Global Race for the Cure, an annual run/walk event in Washington, D.C. that raises funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer, which was held on the mall near the Washington Monument, May 11, 2013.The Susan G. Komen foundation has cancelled for 2014 its signature 3-Day walk in Washington DC and six other cities: Arizona, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, the Tampa Bay area and San Francisco. 

Komen will continue to host the 3-Day events in 2014 in Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Michigan, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Komen’s annual Race for the Cure in Washington took place a week later. It had fewer participants than in previous years — about 21,000 people, down from 27,000 last year and nearly 40,000 in 2011. The race raised $5 million in 2011, $2 million last year and about $1.5 million this year, although this year’s tally is not final, writes The Washington Post.

Komen has never recovered from the fury caused by founder Nancy Brinker when she unsuccessfully attempted to deny Komen funds to Planned Parenthood. The Komen 3-day events, which requires participants to raise at least $2,300, previously attracted a significant number of Planned Parenthood supporters. 

Avon’s 2014 Walk for Breast Cancer will take place in the same eight cities as this year. They are Houston, Washington, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Charlotte and Santa Barbara, Calif. Avon’s walk in Washington which took place in May raised $4.5 million, compared to $5 million in May.

Despite trademarking the phrase race “for the cure”, Komen gave only 16 percent of the  2011 $472 million raised to research vs the $231 million spent on education and screening. The actual value of mammograms was recently covered by the New York Times in Our Feel Good War on Breast Cancer by Peggy Orenstein. 


America's New Mothers More Educated Than Ever | Heritage Foundation's Jason Richwine Resigns

1. Federal judge Edward R. Korman slammed the Obama administration on Friday, denied the government’s request that he suspend his ruling making the morning-after emergency contraceptive pill available to women and girls of every age and without a prescription.

The Ronald Reagan appointed judge called efforts to delay distribution of the pill based on “frivolous” and “silly” arguments and not scientific evidence. Korman is so angry over the efforts by secretary of health and human services Kathleen Sebelius to deny full implementation of the pill that he questioned her credibility and integrity.

Judge Korman postponed the enforcement of his order until today, allowing lawyers for the Justice Department to take their case to the appeals court. via NYT

2. In an attention-getting opening line, celebrity interviewer Lynn Hirschberg writes “The only thing that worried Michael Douglas about playing Liberace, the flamboyant Las Vegas superstar, was the fourteen-inch penis.”

Who knew!! Douglas opens up on playing Lee, as Liberace was known to friends, in HBO’s Behind the Candelabra’. The focus is the famed entertainer’s life with Scott Thorson, played by Matt Damon, who was Liberace’s live-in boyfriend for five years.

The movie represents a return to public eye for Douglas, who reveals more of himself in questions about his battle with stage four cancer and his son’s imprisonment.

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3. New mothers are more educated than ever, writes PEW Research. In 2011, 66% of new mothers had some college education, with 34% having a high school diploma and 14% not having finished high school.

The trend reflects a continuous rise in educational levels of all American women, as well as a decline in births set in motion with the Great Recession in late 2007. Between 2008 to 2011, the number of new mothers with no high school degree dropped 17%, as the number with only a high school diploma dropped 15%.

4. Co-author of the Heritage Foundation’s disputed immigration study Jason Richwine resigned on Friday, as questions mounted about the racially-charged conclusions in his previous work. Richwine as hired by the ultra-conservative think tank in 2010, and his departure comes less than five weeks after former Republican senator Jim DeMint assumed leadership of Heritage.

To date, the organization defends its methodology, one rejected by libertarian groups like the Cato Institute. The report argues that low-skilled immigrants have less education and lower IQs, making them likely to earn less money and need more taxpayer-supplied benefits.

In 2007, a similar Heritage report helped derail immigration reform, arguing that the plan would cost $2.7 trillion, instead of last week’s $6 trillion.

5. PEW Research reports that Hispanic high school graduates have passed whites in their rate of college enrollment. In post recession America, a record 69% of Hispanic high school graduates in the class of 2012 enrolled in college. As the rates of Hispanic college enrollment have risen from 49% in 2000 to 69% in 2012, the rate of college enrollment has dropped among white high school grads to 67%.

In 2011 only 14% of Hispanic 16-24-year-olds were high school dropouts, 50% less than the 2000 level of 28%. PEW suggests that some educational growth may be driven by declining employment among young Latino youths, where unemployment has risen by 7 points, compared to 5 points among whites.

Hispanics are less likely to be in a four-year college, be enrolled full time, and complete a bachelor’s degree.