Tuesday, September 14, 2010

tuesday: race, equality, Obama, and a hate crimes question

• Global equality

Equality is the one item nobody wants on the UN agenda next week has good news and not-so-good news:
... three quarters of the world's poorest now live in middle-income countries such as India or Nigeria. This kind of poverty is not about increasing aid, it's about politics and fair government. There's a subject they will be avoiding over the canapes next week in New York.
Slideshow: The long, steep path to equality

• Red, Brown, and Blue

Ray Suarez, who I've admired at NPR, writes about "How our definition of whiteness has changed with each new wave of immigration—and how it needs to change again." It has interesting bits like:
Four pre-1917 decisions had ruled that Syrians were white, and three that they weren’t. Then came rulings that Koreans weren’t white; Afghanis weren’t white, followed in 1945 by a decision that they were; and that “Arabians” weren’t white, again followed by a Board of Immigration Appeals ruling (in 1941) that, because European civilization had originated in the Middle East, they were white.
I think Suarez overemphasizes what's racist and underemphasizes what's nativist, so in some cases where he says "white", I would say "citizen", but I generally like his take.

(Thanks, DairyStateDad!)

• Race and romance

I thought I'd blogged about okcupid's How Your Race Affects The Messages You Get, but I must've discussed it at another site, so I'm posting it here now. The satisfying part? White males get exactly the response they would be expected to get if race wasn't a factor. The part that makes me want to cry? "Black women reply the most, yet get by far the fewest replies. Essentially every race—including other blacks—singles them out for the cold shoulder."

To state the obvious for anyone who might miss it, black women are at the intersection of class, race, and gender prejudice. The class factor may not be immediately obvious, so here goes: Some people are not racist, but they are classist. If they know a black woman is of their class or higher, they'll date her. But if all they have to go on is that she's black, the odds increase that she's working class because blacks are disproportionately working class.

That logic even applies to classist black men.

(Thanks, Nathan Long!)

Adolph Reed Jr. on Obama

In 1996 (mentioned here):
In Chicago, for instance, we’ve gotten a foretaste of the new breed of foundation-hatched black communitarian voices: one of them, a smooth Harvard lawyer with impeccable credentials and vacuous-to-repressive neoliberal politics, has won a state senate seat on a base mainly in the liberal foundation and development worlds. His fundamentally bootstrap line was softened by a patina of the rhetoric of authentic community, talk about meeting in kitchens, small-scale solutions to social problems, and the predictable elevation of process over program—the point where identity politics converges with old-fashioned middle class reform in favoring form over substance. I suspect that his ilk is the wave of the future in U.S. black politics here, as in Haiti and wherever the International Monetary Fund has sway.
In 2008 (from Obama No):
…It may be instructive to look at the outfit where he did his “community organizing,” the invocation of which makes so many lefties go weak in the knees. My understanding of the group, Developing Communities Project, at the time was that it was simply a church-based social service agency. What he pushed as his main political credential then, to an audience generally familiar with that organization, was his role in a youth-oriented voter registration drive.
The Obama campaign has even put out a misleading bio of Michelle Obama, representing her as having grown up in poverty on the South Side, when, in fact, her parents were city workers, and her father was a Daley machine precinct captain.
…Obama’s belonging to Wright’s church in the first place was quite likely part of establishing a South Side bourgeois nationalist street cred because his political base was with Hyde Park/University of Chicago liberals and the foundation world.
Adolph Reed Jr. on Race

Intelligent Action: an Interview With Adolph Reed. The first half was kind of boring, but the second half was, imho, great.

Are hate crime laws effective?

Jay Lake's post made me ask something I haven't found an answer to: Is there any evidence that hate crime laws actually make anyone safer?