Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Theme: Racism

  • Progress is never inevitable, even in reform eras. The United States at the turn of the twentieth century was in a progressive mood. It was a time in which the nation’s leaders tackled some of modern life’s most vexing problems: from taming rapacious industrialization to ensuring a clean food supply to cleaning up political corruption, American progressives were seeking a more harmonious and salubrious national life. But for African Americans, even those closest to progressive national leaders, this was a period of disappointment and devastation.Read more
  • I go with a friend Jennifer to the exhibition ‘Genius of Place’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. Kathleen Petyarre’s canvasses are ravishing, and enormous. Their rhythmic repetition is arresting, and we sit for an uncounted moment of lost time to absorb this. Then, we go to the café, asking ourselves: why do we feel we ‘get’ those paintings?Read more
  • Last week, the Labour leader Ed Miliband made a much-hyped speech about ‘cultural integration’. He faced the usual problem: how to placate that section of Labour’s traditional, white working class constituency which opposes immigration, without at the same time alienating minorities and the anti-racist Left. And he reached for what has recently become the usual solution: restating that least contentious of propositions about ‘integration’, that everyone in Britain should speak English.Read more
  • Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer describes her escape from the racist ideology she grew up with in South Africa.Read more
  • The Washington Post ran the recent headline “Polls show widening racial gap in presidential contest.” They were not alone, CBS News dug up Emit Till: “Will white men sink Obama?” Suggesting the emphasis on women “swing voters” has been a miscalculation for the Obama campaign.Read more
  • Maurice Merleau-Ponty did not write much on race; he only mentioned it once, as far as I know, in his article, “The Child’s Relation with Others”. In these post-colonial times, it is recognized that one of the tools of colonialism is its epistemic hegemony—defining knowledge on the semblance of originating or affiliating with the northwest.Read more
  • When Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique in 1963, “the problem that has no name” was the problem of college-educated housewives sitting at home being bored to death. Today, the “problem that has no name” is more widespread, more alluring and more aggressive. Its most insidious aspect is how close it comes to the licit ways in which women are used to lure, seduce, persuade and sweetly tease those who see them.Read more
  • I don't know why all these racists are worried about Caucasians being reduced to a minority in Georgia as a result of demographic shifts. In fact it's logically certain that Caucasians will always be the majority in Georgia: if one is Georgian, ipso factoone is Caucasian.Read more
  • While analysing multiculturalism in the UK, the Netherlands and France in my recent Multiculturalism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2011), I had to confess that I had little idea what David Cameron’s “big society” project was going to mean for what remained of multiculturalism in the UK. I had my suspicions, of course. It was already clear that the “big society” seemed like a ruse. Read more
  • On the morning of 21 May 1925, a dog known as Hachikō walked with his master to a Tokyo railway station just as they had done each weekday morning for over a year since he had been adopted as a two-month-old puppy. Read more
  • In the United States, there are numerous consumer products with controversial pasts. We need only think of our grocery aisles and kitchen cabinets, where racist images of Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben have only recently given wayRead more
  • The French writer Pascal Bruckner wants to forbid a word. Which sounds more like a typically German obsession. Read more
  • We have all seen the blonde-fringed Tintin wriggle his way out of one sticky situation after another. But early 2010 saw the Belgian national hero's past catch up with him; a past most of us had forgotten he had. Congolese Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo believes the comic book Tintin in the Congo is racist and should be banned, and has taken legal action against the series' copyright-holder Moulinsart and its publisher Casterman. Read more
  • How, after fifty years of the institutionalised nurture of human rights and anti-racism in Europe could an ideology of vicious discrimination gain such ground? Read more
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