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Posts tagged racism

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Hawks owner to sell after 'offensive' email

ESPN.com on the second NBA owner this year to lose his team due to doing some racist stuff:

Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson is selling his controlling interest in the team, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced Sunday.

In July, Levenson self-reported an email he wrote to the team’s co-owners and general manager Danny Ferry in August 2012 that he called “inappropriate and offensive.” The league commenced an independent investigation after being made aware of the comments.

Levenson writes in a statement that the racially offensive comments came as he pondered ways to bridge Atlanta’s racial sports divide and increase fan attendance at Hawks’ games.

"In trying to address those issues, I wrote an e-mail two years ago that was inappropriate and offensive," he said. "I trivialized our fans by making clichéd assumptions about their interests (i.e. hip hop vs. country, white vs. black cheerleaders, etc.) and by stereotyping their perceptions of one another (i.e. that white fans might be afraid of our black fans). By focusing on race, I also sent the unintentional and hurtful message that our white fans are more valuable than our black fans."

I guess this one is going a lot more smoothly than the Donald Sterling fiasco though.

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In the running for best TED talk is “The danger of a single story,” given by Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie at TEDGlobal 2009 in Oxford:

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

The TED site has a transcript too if you’d rather read it.

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How the Civil Rights Act pioneered anti-discrimination laws in America

On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act. In honor of the fiftieth anniversary, the LBJ Presidential Library in Texas has been holding a summit, with speeches by four Presidents and so on.

At the summit, Gwen Ifull of PBS NewsHour spoke with four folks on the topic of what the Act did and meant and represented:

SHIRLEY FRANKLIN, Former Mayor, Atlanta: Over the years, we have seen the explosion of political figures from all walks of life. And so it opened the door for people from all backgrounds, whether gay, lesbian, people from limited means.

There was a sense when I was growing up that you had to be from a certain side of the tracks in order to be an elected official. You had to be lucky to be an elected official. And with the passage of the Civil Rights Acts and the Voting Rights Act and all that that entailed, all of a sudden, a child like me could not be mayor of Atlanta when I was born, when I graduated from high school, when I graduated from college.

But, some years later, I had the opportunity because of the legislative initiatives, but also because of the shift in the cultural forms and the cultural traditions.

But we’ve still got a long way to go.

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Named after KKK leader and slave trader, Nathan B. Forrest High School in Jacksonville to be renamed

Derek Kinner, AP:

A Florida school board has decided to end a decades-long controversy and rename a high school now named for a Confederate general and honorary Ku Klux Klan leader that some historical records say ordered the execution of hundreds of black Union soldiers.

Forrest High opened as an all-white school in the 1950s. Its name was suggested by the Daughters of the Confederacy, who saw it as a protest to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that eventually integrated the nation’s public schools.

Yep, spite naming of schools is a thing that happened.

I think the coolest part of this story is that a good majority of the students at the school thought the name should be change and the school board based its decision on what the students wanted, not what the faculty and alumni wanted.

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Knockout King: Kids call it a game. Academics call it a bogus trend. Cops call it murder.

So, unfortunately, this “knockout game" thing is making the rounds again. Just like several years ago, there doesn’t actually appear to be any sort of increasing trend in this rare type of assault; the only rise is in news and social media’s caring about and sensationalization of it. But hey, racists gotta keep us in constant fear of the endemic violence of black culture or whatever dog whistle they’re trying this week.

I’m going to take this opportunity to link John H. Tucker’s award-winning article for St. Louis’s Riverfront Times in 2011 on the subject:

Mike Males, a research fellow at the nonprofit Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice and who runs the website YouthFacts.org, says the media have made habit of cherry-picking isolated instances of “knockout games” in order to gin up sensational stories that demonize youth. “This knockout-game legend is a fake trend,” Males contends.

Given that 4.3 million violent attacks were reported by U.S. citizens in 2009, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey, Males says reporters should know better than to highlight a handful of random attacks by kids and call it journalism. It’s the same thing as plucking a few instances of attackers with Jewish surnames who beat up non-Jews and declaring it a “troubling new trend,” he argues.

Still, over the years a handful of reports of “knockout” have emerged from cities in Missouri, Illinois, Massachusetts and New Jersey. And most criminologists and youth experts agree that unprovoked attacks by teenagers on strangers are a real, if extremely rare, phenomenon. “Knockout King” might be a new name, but it fits right into the timeworn litany of drifting, aimless kids who travel in packs and accost the vulnerable. The infamous Central Park Jogger case of 1989 popularized the term “wilding.”

This shit is literally just the “wilding” of the 2010s, and thanks to YouTube and CNN we’re going through another cycle of outrage.

I don’t want to make it sound like these assaults never ever happen, though, so please do read the article. It was written shortly after the murder of Hoang Nguyen from the knockout game in St. Louis, and Tucker devotes a lot of time to it.

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The Speech That Shocked Birmingham the Day After the Church Bombing

Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama. Andrew Cohen of The Atlantic has written a short biography of lawyer Charles Morgan, Jr., who the day after the bombing gave a speech about the event and Southern racism to a business club.

The piece also quotes Morgan’s entire speech. Here’s a bit:

And who is really guilty? Each of us. Each citizen who has not consciously attempted to bring about peaceful compliance with the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States, every citizen who has ever said “they ought to kill that nigger,” every citizen who votes for the candidate with the bloody flag, every citizen and every school board member and schoolteacher and principal and businessman and judge and lawyer who has corrupted the minds of our youth; every person in this community who has in any way contributed during the past several years to the popularity of hatred, is at least as guilty, or more so, than the demented fool who threw that bomb.

Pretty powerful, and a good read about someone I’d never heard of before.

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Vote suppression alleged in close Florida election

Weird story out of Florida, reported by Brendan Farrington for the AP:

A small Florida Panhandle town best known for its annual Worm Grunting Festival is at the center of an investigation into charges the white city clerk suppressed the black vote in an election where the black mayor lost by a single vote and a black city commissioner was also ousted.

Preventing anyone from voting because of race remains illegal under state and federal law. But if the claims in this Southern town of fewer than 500 people are substantiated, activists are likely to seize on the case as an example of how racial discrimination at the polls has not been eradicated — and why protections like those overturned by the Supreme Court should remain in place.

Three black voters filed complaints, which is a very small number, but 121 votes were cast, so those three voters make up nearly 2.5% of the voting population.

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Here’s a segment from the July 30 episode of All In with Chris Hayes, featuring West Coast editor of Gawker Cord Jefferson:

A very special “All In” investigation looks at the dangerous elements in White Culture, as seen on display during the Huntington Beach surfing riots this week. Chris Hayes talks to Cord Jefferson of Gawker to find out what can be done about this menace to society.

Colin: Chris Hayes: one of the best humans

'Ili: Props to that other guy I've never heard of before for mostly keeping in character too.

'Ili: “She used to ride horses and do that whole thing” I lost it there

Colin: Hahahaha yep

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Trayvon Martin and the Irony of American Justice

Ta-Nehisi Coates on the not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman over at The Atlantic:

The injustice inherent in the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman was not authored by a jury given a weak case. The jury’s performance may be the least disturbing aspect of this entire affair. The injustice was authored by a country which has taken as its policy, for the lionshare of its history, to erect a pariah class. The killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman is not an error in programming. It is the correct result of forces we set in motion years ago and have done very little to arrest.

Perhaps the best single paragraph I’ve read on this subject yet.

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Enough: An Open Letter to Dan Snyder

Dave Zirin wrote a piece for Grantland arguing that the Washington Redskins football team should change its name, on account of the racial caricature of its mascot and slur of its team name. The argument isn’t anything new and this probably won’t change anyone’s mind, but I liked this for a couple of reasons orthogonal to the actual argument.

First, I had no idea that George Preston Marshall, the owner of the team when it changed to the Redskins, was scary, scary racist.

Second, the last two paragraphs are really mean in an over-the-top way, and I just had to laugh at how brutal Zirin was being.

Finally, I just like reading things on Grantland. Check out those footnotes.