What About Promoting Anti-Racism?

We live in a society where racism is alive and well and shows no signs of being willing to die anytime soon. Its a downer to see racism plastered on billboards, televised for 30 seconds as a commercial shown thousands of times in a day, and all over the internet. So isn’t time we start to show anti-racist things? When will we being to see posters, commercials, or ADs with a positive message?

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In 1942, Dr. Seuss believed in this positive message. His cartoons were showcased with the message of bringing the issue of racism to light. Political cartoons by Dr. Seuss denouncing racism in the US and specifically in industry are things you rarely see anymore unless you go searching for them. In the cartoon above Seuss is demonstrating a mental insecticide to flush out things like prejudice from the brain. Racism and prejudice are dirty little bugs that need to be exterminated. This was true in 1942 and is still true today in 2013. 

When will we begin to actually become a “melting pot” and become a nation that cherishes its diversity versus trying to bleach everyone in the country? In order to have any type of order and harmony, everyone needs to work together. This sounds cliche and in an ideal world, we can work to this. But these things can no longer just be said and hoped for. There needs to be words put into action. Dr.Seuss had a vision for America. If we can use Dr. Seuss as the primary staple of our children’s lives to teach them good lessons, why can’t we use him to teach the adults some lessons too?

Racialized Images in Lil Wayne’s “Love Me” Video

Lil Wayne’s recent hit “Love Me” has been criticized by many of being misogynistic. The song features lines like “Can’t treat these hoes like ladies” and “She say ‘I never wanna make you mad, I just wanna make you proud’ I say ‘Baby just make me come, then don’t make a sound.'” After the music video came out, Lil Wayne’s message became incredibly more offensive. Since Lil Wayne himself is black, I think viewers can easily pinpoint his offense as being sexist, which it is, and they can’t quite call him racist because, as we know, reverse racism does not exist. However, there are many images in this music video that depict women of color in an offensive and stereotypical way and that should be noted.The images in his video portray black women as hypersexual and animalistic. All of the women in the video are women of color and they have been made up to appear as snakes and wild cats.

 

Screenshot 1 from "Love Me" Music Video

This depiction of women of color as animals was used historically and in modern times as a way of “othering” all nonwhite people. These images dehumanize women of color, turning them into sexual animals that don’t have the proper civility to fit into white culture. This ideology dates back to slavery, when white men treated black enslaved women as objects for their sexual abuse; while white women thought of the black women as over-sexual beings and blamed them for their own sexual assault. The screenshot below shows another dehumanizing image.

Screenshot 2 from "Love Me" Music Video

The women are shown in chains and in cages, implying that they are dangerously wild and they need to be locked away. Again objectifying these women of color and portraying them as nonhuman. The screenshot below shows another depiction of these women as savage and barbaric.

Screenshot 3 from "Love Me" Music Video

These women of color are wearing minimal clothing. They have just crawled on all fours to this bathtub and here they are soaking their bodies in what looks like blood. This image is blatantly showing these women as savage animals. Further dehumanizing them and playing into racial stereotypes.

Many hip hop artists (including Lil Wayne) have been criticized for depicting women as objects and for writing sexist lyrics. Futhermore, many music videos have been criticized for portraying women of color in offensive and stereotypical ways. I think it is interesting to see how prejudice and sexism work together in this video. Society can see Lil Wayne as an oppressor of women because when it comes to gender he is a man and therefore part of the dominant group. I won’t call him racist, because reverse racism does not exist, however I do not think it is okay for him to be depicting women of color as savage and sexual animals. These images are incredibly oppressive and they are perpetuating racial stereotypes.

 

Overriding Prejudice Given the Daunting Statistics

In Sharon Begley’s article, Racism Studies Find Rational Part of Brain Can Override Prejudice, she dismisses scientists who theorize that racism is merely a survival tactic in cognition; a manner in which to differentiate the “unlike me” from the “like me.” Begley states that higher cognitive processes that go one in the prefrontal cortex and the anterior cingulate override the “automatic” response of the amygdala.

If this is the case, however, than why do 90% of respondents of Harvard’s Implicit test link blacks with negative traits? Can we blame this association to the media? I’d say so. Begley proposes that respondents of such tests should view black faces as unique individuals rather than collectives in order to avoid the “category-based emotional responses” generated by the amygdala. I’d like to say, easier said than done, Begley. While I agree that prejudice is not inevitable, I fear that Begley’s proposal alone is not a sufficient way to rid society of prejudice sentiment. Do you think Begley’s proposal is enough? How do you propose the “automatic” racist responses be overridden?

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“Anti-White Prejudice” v. #whitegirlproblems : The History and Fate of Affirmative Action

October has been a fascinating yet trying month for affirmative action, especially “the constitutionality of racial preferences in admissions decisions by public universities” (NYTimes, 10/8/12). Abigail Fisher, a 22 year old white graduate of Louisiana State University, believes that her race was held against her in her application to UT Austin. She was rejected, she claims, because she was white.

There is plenty of ongoing discussion about Ms. Fisher’s case, and even more on the ideas surrounding affirmative action in both historic and present day contexts.

Here is the link to original article I reference : http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/09/us/supreme-court-to-hear-case-on-affirmative-action.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

And here are some notable responses:
http://colorlines.com/archives/2012/10/how_diversity_trumped_equity–and_may_kill_affirmative_action.html

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/03/history-lessons/?ref=us

http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/09/this-weeks-admissions-tip-pay-close-attention-to-the-supreme-court/?ref=us

Bonilla-Silva address, to some extent, the background for Ms. Fisher’s claim that her race was held against her in her college admittance. In Chapter 4: “I Didn’t Get That Job Because Of A Black Man”, Bonilla-Silva tease apart the white rhetoric and psyche when it comes to this minority blame game. “If they are not admitted into a college, it must be because of a minority. This story line allows whites to never consider the possibility that they are not qualified for a job, promotion, or college.” It’s unnerving how these two sentences perfectly capture the sentiments expressed in the NYTimes article on Ms. Fisher. University of Texas issued a statement claiming that “Ms. Fisher would not have been admitted even if race had played no role in the process.” Bonilla-Silva go on to say that there are very few actual cases filed on “reverse discrimination” as they tend to be dismissed on the basis of lacking any foundation.

Color Lines: News For Action, offer a response to Fisher v. University of Texas in “How Diversity Trumped Equity—and May Kill Affirmative Action”. Here, Julianne Hing discusses notions of equity and diversity rationale, the two “legally permissible arguments for affirmative action”. The article goes on to offer a comprehensive outlook on factors such as the “major collective trauma” of racism, reluctance to acknowledge racial privilege, affirmative action v. meritocratic ideals, and plain old increasing selectivity in the college admissions process — and how these factors all play into the ultimate “fate of affirmative action” in the next few weeks.

I thought it was particularly interesting to place these articles through the lens of the Bonilla-Silva reading alongside the Mail Online article “White Suffer More Racism Than Blacks”. Clearly, researchers Norton and Sommers’ conclusion that there is an “emerging belief in anti-white prejudice” holds true in the case of Abigail Fisher. But to what extent is this “anti-white prejudice”, and to what extent are these, excuse my language, just #whitegirlproblems?

Police Brutality: Another Example Of How Reverse-Racism Is A Myth

This photo was taken in one of New York’s Occupy Wall Street Events.

When seeing this image, the first thing that I thought of was the article- “Whites suffer more racism than blacks”. I find it really frustrating that people still believe this, seeing the statistics of higher police brutality for people of color.

I think people (mostly white) justify police brutality against people of color due to the prevalence of cultural racism mentioned in Bonilla-Silva’s Chapter 2. White people might think that people of color have higher rates of police brutality, due to the illogical belief that they are more likely to be criminals due to their “culture of poverty”. More specifically when “people of color say they experience discrimination, whites do not believe them  and claim they use discrimination as an ‘excuse’ to hide [...] their presumed laziness” (p. 40).

How long is it going to take for people to realize that there is not a culture of poverty? How many lives are going to be lost before-hand? How much discrimination is going to happen before?