Saturday, January 2, 2016

Damed if you do, damned if you don't : The Myth of the Model Asian Minority.

This informative New York Times article provides an accessible and instructive case studies of how recent racial demographic shifts have yielded a dynamic in affluent public school districts where Asian-Americans and Whites compete for coveted college admissions. As the racial and ethnic demographics of the United States continue to evolve, historically unchallenged racialized assumptions regarding the nature, aims and distribution of education will continue to come to a head.

Moreover, if history teaches us anything, the rules of the game will also evolve. Consider this: a recent study found that white definitions of college admissions and merit change when they think about Asian Americans (…/white-definitions-merit-an…). 

Here's the thing: people of color have long known (and again, longitudinal empirical research would corroborate) that we need to be twice as prepared to even be considered to gain access to networks. The challenge is that meritocracy, white privilege and post-racial ideologies complicate excavating this reality. 

Controlling for socioeconomics in a largely affluent district, it follows that race mediates the attitudes, expectations, behaviors and advocacy of the parents of different racial groups. Until we acknowledge that the American system of education was not conceived as meritocratic or to "level the playing field," we will continue to run around in circles, waste resources and replicate inequities.
Check out the article here:
Times Article

Monday, November 16, 2015

Beirut, Paris, Kenya, Chicago: Empathy and Compassion for All

Far from 'grief bashing," this balanced article advances a legitimate argument regarding normative 

underlying assumptions and the corresponding consequences for universal empathy and compassion. 

Put more simply, to what degree does who you are (or where you live) mediate your basic right to shared 

humanity, empathy and compassion? Far more nuanced than a reductionist argument that suggests that 

caring deeply about Paris precludes equally deep sentiments about Beirut, or Syria-- or the deaths in 

Chicago for this matter; or that heightening awareness around this empathy deficit model is akin to lack   

of empathy for Paris, I challenge us all to consider the following: how can we personally interrupt the 

dominant narrative that continues to value some lives over others?

 I say this as someone who knows and loves Paris and France deeply and who has a number of dear 

French friends.I also have visited and love Beirut, and have many friends who live in Beirut or have 

family who live there. I also was born in Chicago, where violence is disproportionately claiming the lives 

of my brown brothers and sisters on a daily basis. I worry every weekend when my mother calls to tell 

me that she is going visit friends and family in certain parts of the City plagued by violence.

Read NYT Article Here

Monday, August 3, 2015

Cecil Who? Putting Cecil into Perspective

This article is worth reading in its entirety to integrate a Zimbabwean perspective into your

analysis. Again, this issue is not as superficial as who feels or doesn't feel compassion over

the death of ONE or potentially TWO LIONS. The core of this argument centers around who

is framing the Cecil narrative, who benefits/loses from the framing, the irony regarding who

has the power to tell the story, and the ways in which certain narratives elicit visceral

reactions and mobilize resources in the West and the United States in the face of a number

of equally (if not more) compelling domestic and international issues. Lest we forget that an

innocent American was shot in his car by a police officer in Cleveland recently. Conduct a

poll of Americans and ask them HIS name? ‪#‎Crickets‬. In short, should we grieve Cecil's

death? That's a personal decision. Does it warrant a full on sustained international effort? I

would argue not.

Alex Magaisa, Zimbabwean national and teaches law at the University of Kent Law School in the United Kingdom

"I understand why people are upset and angry over his vile act. I love animals. As a small 

boy herding cattle with my friends in a village in Zimbabwe, we fought boys from another 

community for killing defenseless little birds. I despise cruelty in general, particularly toward 

wild creatures.But it is important to put the outrage over Cecil’s death into perspective. We 

Zimbabweans don’t write our stories often enough. We leave them to be written by others 

and complain when our stories are not told properly and accurately. So let me tell my   

Zimbabwean version of the Cecil story."

Read the full article here:

Monday, May 4, 2015

Strong Opinion or Informed Opinion? What Do You Know About Baltimore?

The recent events in Baltimore do not reflect an isolated event; rather; the frustration that manifested in protest is the product of a number of sociopolitical and historical considerations. Generating a comprehensive analysis requires pulling from a number of disciplines, many of which are beyond the expertise of most educators.

A few days ago I happened upon a veritable treasure trove of resources, which I now share with you. Unfortunately, the humble saint that culled these resources together did not provide a name, as I imagine recognition was not her/his primary aim.  I have not read read each and every resource, but a cursory eyeballing reveals a great number of valuable resources.

I.   reminders from Ferguson
“When Rioting is Rational”

“In Defense of Black Rage”

“In Ferguson, the Violence of the State Created the Violence of the Street”

Resisting State Violence: Justice or Just Us?

bell hooks “killing rage”

II.             What’s up with Baltimore?
‘Two Reports Illustrate the Paradox of Baltimore”

“A Tale of Two Baltimores” (2011)

“The Brutality of Police Culture on Baltimore”

“Baltimore Youths Have it Worse Than Those in Nigeria”
“Ten Shocking Facts About Baltimore”

“Baltimore Uprising in Context”

“In Baltimore, We’re All Freddie Gray”

“Sun Investigates: Undue Force”

“David Simon in Baltimore’s Anguish” (interview)

III.           On “riots” and protest  
“We Have a Right to Be in the Streets for Freddie”

“The Dominant White Response to Baltimore Shows Why Black Residents Are Justified in Their Anger”

“Baltimore: The Fire Next Time”

“Baltimore’s Violent Protestors Are Right”
(please note: the title of the blog where this was originally posted is a political re-appropriation of “faggot”)
“Nonviolence as Compliance”
historical perspective: The Kerner Commission Report on “riots,” 1968

“A History of Rap Songs Against Police Brutality”

 “Silence on Black Female Victims Weakens Fight Against Police Brutality”
“The Baltimore Rebellion”

Gang Members: We did not make truce to harm cops

“Go Home, David Simon: Without Justice in Baltimore, There Can be No Peace” (a critique of SImon’s blog post criticizing “rioters”

“What’s Happening in Baltimore Didn’t Just Start with Freddie Gray”

IV.           On the Bigger Picture
“Stealing a Bag of Potato Chips and Other Crimes of Resistance”

“The Hyper-Criminalization of Black and Latino Male Youth in the Era of Mass Incarceration”

“Why Don’t American Cities Burn Very Often?”

“Who Killed L.A.: A Political Autopsy”

“The Case for Reparations”

“Segregation Now: The Re-segregation of America’s Schools”

“The Night Chicago Burned”
“A Herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement”

V.             Movies
Race: The Power of an Illusion – Episode 3 – “The House We Live In”

Broken on All Sides: Race, Mass Incarceration, and New Visions for Criminal Justice in the U.S.

The House I Live In

Hard Times at Douglass High: A No Child Left Behind Report Card

Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequality
The Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975
Revolution ‘67
Crips & Bloods: Made in America

The Throwaways:

Eyes on the Prize: Two Societies

VI.           Books

The Hero’s Fight: African Americans in the Shadow of the State by Patricia Fern├índez-Kelly (twenty year ethnography of Baltimore)

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Code of the Street: Decency, Violence and the Moral Life of the Inner City

When Work Disappears, the World of the New Urban Poor              

The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy

More Than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City

Black Liberation and Socialism

American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass

Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago, 1940-1960

Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North

Into the Fire: African-Americans Since 1970           

Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class

The Political Economy of Racism

How Racism Takes Place

Are Prison’s Obsolete?

Not In My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City (Historical overview of Baltimore, especially around housing and segregation)

Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People In The United States

VII.         News/Memes/Videos from Baltimore

10,000 Strong Peacefully Protest In Downtown Baltimore, Media Only Reports The Violence & Arrest of Dozens

The Roots of Baltimore's Violence