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Broken System Can’t Keep Track of Native Deaths; from Medical Health Privacy Laws to a Maze of Siloed Information Systems, a True Accounting of COVID-19’s Impact on Indian Country is Impossible to Know
by Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Sunnie Clahchischiligi, and Christine Trudeau | June 2021
In May of 2020, the Navajo Nation reported one of the highest per-capita COVID-19 infection rates in the United States. Since that milestone, official data reveals that the Navajo Nation has been one of the hardest-hit populations during the pandemic. The Navajo Nation boasts the largest population of any Indigenous nation in the United States, and thousands of Navajos live outside the nation, in towns along the border, cities across the country, and in other parts of the world, making it difficult to tally the virus’ impacts on Navajo citizens. It’s made worse by a labyrinthian system of local, state, federal and tribal data-reporting systems that often do not communicate with each other or share information.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Health Disparities] [Indigenous] [Politics] [Myths] [Systemic Racism] [Silencing POC] [Denial]
Submitted by Roy Finkenbine | June 2021
Most stories of the Underground Railroad follow the narrative of white people helping Black people escape slavery, but overlook the involvement of Indigenous allies who often risked their own lives to help freedom seekers cross into Canada safely. Historian Roy Finkenbine is among those rewriting that history. He’s working on a book tentatively called, Freedom Seekers in Indian Country, while teaching African American history at the University of Detroit Mercy. He spoke with Falen Johnson, host of Unreserved, about his research on Indigenous involvement in the Underground Railroad, and why he feels a moral obligation to write about it. What questions are you trying to answer in your upcoming book, Freedom Seekers in Indian Country? I’m looking at how and why Native Americans helped freedom seekers. How they helped includes providing sanctuary among their communities – often to boost their populations – and in assisting people to cross the border. They shared a kinship based on a common enemy, if we can use that term, in terms of white expansionism. Many groups like the Ojibwa referred to African-Americans as cousins and brothers. Peter Jones, a [Mississauga] missionary, said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Negroes,” as he said, “have it even worse because of the iron bands of slavery. So we have an obligation to help.”
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Slavery] [Indigenous] [History] [Myths] [White Culture] [White Privilege] [White Supremacy] [Systemic Racism]
by Steve QJ | April 2021
Every black person has a story about racism. It might be about a chance encounter on holiday or being denied entry to our own home. It might be about the statistically improbable rate at which we’re “randomly selected” for additional screening or those awkward moments when a poorly thought out comment backfires.
If there’s such a thing as “the black experience”, these stories are a part of its oral tradition. A collection of life lessons, clapbacks, and cautionary tales through which we celebrate our victories and vent our frustrations. They’re in-jokes that provide a sense of community and solidarity. They’re touchstones that help us to navigate a world that doesn’t always treat us as it should.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Systemic Racism] [Policing] [Police Shootings] [Social Justice] [Black Lives Matter] [History]
Private Museums Could Face NAGPRA Scrutiny; Museums and Other Institutions that Accept Stimulus Funds Could Be Required to Repatriate Indigenous Artifacts and Remains
by Nanette Kelley | May 2021
Small museums and private institutions that accept federal CARES Act money or other stimulus funds could be forced to relinquish thousands of Indigenous items and ancestral remains now in their collections.
Under the Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990, museums or other institutions that accept federal funding must compile an inventory of Indigenous cultural items and initiate repatriation of the collections and remains to tribes or family members. At least two museums are now facing possible scrutiny – the nonprofit Favell Museum of Native American Artifacts and Contemporary Western Art in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and the End of the Trail Museum, which is connected to the Trees of Mystery gift shop in the redwood forest in Klamath, California.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Indigenous] [Art & Culture] [Silencing POC] [History] [Politics] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [Economics] [Systemic Racism] [Advocacy] [Social Justice]
Whitewashing the Great Depression; How the Preeminent Photographic Record of the Period Excluded People of Color from the Nation’s Self-Image
by Sarah Boxer | December 2020
Quick, name one iconic Depression-era portrait each by Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and Russell Lee. My guess is that you’d choose Lange’s Migrant Mother, a portrait of Florence Owens Thompson and her children taken in Nipomo, California, in 1936. For Evans, you’d probably pick a 1936 portrait of tight-lipped Allie Mae Burroughs standing before the wall of her family’s cabin in Hale County, Alabama. For Lee, you might draw a blank, but you’d likely recognize his 1937 group portrait Saturday Night in a Saloon, showing four drinkers in Craigville, Minnesota. (It was used in the opening sequence of the TV show Cheers.)
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Silencing POC] [White Culture] [White Privilege] [White Supremacy] [Art & Culture] [History] [Systemic Racism] [White Defensiveness] [Politics] [Denial]
Performative Activism Is the New ‘Color-Blind’ Band-Aid for White Fragility; White People Embracing Hashtags Won’t Help Us Destroy Anti-Black Racism. Here’s Why.
by Maia Niguel Hoskin, Ph.D. | June 2020
Because Whites are the nonracialized majority, they live in an insulated environment of racial protection and comfort, which makes them unable to tolerate racial stress. Whiteness scholar Robin DiAngelo refers to this as White fragility and says this about it: Once White people are confronted with racial stress, it triggers various defensive responses in them, such as anger, guilt, silence, outward displays of emotion, defensiveness, and shutting down. Some argue that color-blindness has been used as a way for Whites to accommodate their racial fragility and ease their guilt. Feelings of shame and defensiveness associated with racial injustice can be minimized if its existence is denied. Like color-blindness, performative activism is manipulative and maintains systems of racial privilege by Whites centering their desire to seek comfort over addressing racial injustice.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Myths] [White Fragility/Tears] [“All Lives Matter”] [White Defensiveness] [White Blindness] [White Supremacy] [Social Justice] [Policing] [Black Lives Matter] [History] [Colorblindness] [Tips-Dos/Don’ts] [Anti-Racism]
by Briget Quinn | August 2020
It’s an under-known fact that the “revolutionary” concept of a democratic union of discrete states did not spring fully formed from the Enlightenment pens of the Founding Fathers, like sage Athena from the head of Zeus. No, the idea of “united states” sprang from the Haudenosaunee, collective name for six tribes that comprise the so-called (mostly by non-Natives) Iroquois Confederacy: the Seneca, Oneida, Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Tuscarora nations. Should you doubt this, check out Congressional Resolution 331, adopted in 1988 by the 100th Congress of the United States, which says as much. It’s worth noting that the Haudenosaunee Confederacy still thrives today, likely the world’s oldest participatory democracy.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Collective Action] [History] [Indigenous] [Myths] [Politics] [Silencing POC] [Systemic Racism] [White Blindness] [White Culture] [White Fragility/Tears] [White Privilege] [White Supremacy]
by Michael Elsen-Rooney | March 2021
A white Long Island Catholic school headmaster forced a Black 11-year-old student to kneel down and apologize to a teacher — calling it the “African way” to say sorry, the Daily News has learned. Hempstead mom Trisha Paul says it was disturbing enough to learn about the punishment of her sixth-grade son at the hands of St. Martin de Porres Marianist school headmaster John Holian. But she was even more shocked when Holian, who is white, told Paul, who is Haitian-American, he’d learned the approach from a Nigerian father who said it was an “African way” of apologizing.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Systemic Racism] [Black Lives Matter] [Teachers] [White Supremacy] [White Privilege] [White Culture] [White Blindness] [White Defensiveness] [Accountability]
by Emily S. Renschler and Janet Monge | Month Unknown 2008
Although few visitors to the Museum would know this, the Samuel George Morton cranial collection at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is one of the most famous collections of human skulls in the entire world. Its presence in Philadelphia is the result of the collecting activities of Samuel George Morton (1799–1851), a Philadelphian who actively participated in the vibrant medical and scientific community that spanned the Atlantic Ocean in the early 19th century.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Art & Culture] [History] [Slavery] [Indigenous] [Black Lives Matter] [Latino/a] [Myths] [White Supremacy] [White Privilege] [White Culture] [Systemic Racism]
by Shanelle Genai | March 2021
When composer Daniel Roumain was commissioned to create an original work for “Greenwood Overcomes,” a celebration led by the Tulsa Opera to recognize the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, I’m sure he never thought one lyric would be enough to lose him the commission. Unfortunately, it was. As Vulture reports, Roumain composed an aria inspired by the horrific details of the massacre titled They Still Want to Kill Us, with the last two lines reading: “God bless America/God damn America.” But when mezzo-soprano singer Denyce Graves, who was set to perform the aforementioned song, expressed concerns over those lines—Tulsa Opera asked Roumain if he would consider changing the lyrics. He said no, and now, both Roumain and his work are now no longer a part of the celebration.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Silencing POC] [Systemic Racism] [History] [Art & Culture] [-ing While Black] [Black Lives Matter] [Denial] [White Defensiveness] [White Supremacy] [White Privilege] [White Blindness] [White Fragility/Tears]
White Women’s Role in White Supremacy, Explained; Women at the Capitol Riot are Just the Latest Reminder of a Long History
by Anna North | January 2021
It’s tempting to think of the storming of the US Capitol on Wednesday as toxic masculinity run amok: a mob of mostly white men, carrying guns and wearing animal skins, trying to overthrow democracy on behalf of a president who once bragged about his ability to grab women “by the pussy.” It’s even more tempting to embrace this narrative when, in a bizarre statement, that president’s campaign press secretary describes him as “the most masculine person, I think, to ever hold the White House.”
But focusing too much on masculinity obscures a crucial truth: Many women were either present at the riot or cheering on the insurrectionists from back home. There was Ashli Babbitt, the 35-year-old Air Force veteran and apparent devotee of QAnon ideology who was killed during the riot. There was the woman photographed with “zip-tie guy” Eric Munchel, now believed to be his mother. There was Martha Chansley, the mother of the widely photographed “QAnon shaman” who wore a horned hat and carried a spear to Congress. She wasn’t present at the riot but later defended her son in an interview, calling him “a great patriot, a veteran, a person who loves this country.”
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [White Blindness] [White Defensiveness] [White Privilege] [Politics] [Black Lives Matter] [Civil War] [Myths] [Slavery] [Economics] [History] [Calling Police] [Systemic Racism]
by Jessica Hill | February 2021
When freshman Adaesia O’Garro was accused of threatening another student at Falmouth High School in 2018, she was criminally charged and suspended for 10 months while her case made its way through the long court process. The charges, which included assault and battery, larceny and distributing material of a child in the nude, were later dismissed by Judge James J. Torney Jr., according to court records O’Garro shared with the Times. But O’Garro, who is Black, missed her sophomore year and, now a senior, continues to deal with the aftermath as she works to graduate in June with her class.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Systemic Racism] [Black Lives Matter] [White Privilege] [White Culture] [White Supremacy] [Social Justice] [-ing While Black] [Denial] [Calling Police] [Accountability] [Justice System]
by Chloe Edwards | February 2021
Mansplaining is a pejorative term used to describe the action of a man commenting on or explaining something to a woman in an often condescending or oversimplified way. … While there are obstacles for all women and stereotypes related to competence, Black women specifically face concrete ceilings that supersede gender as they are doubly oppressed. Black women are ranked the most educated group by race. … While many have heard of the terminology mansplaining, most may not be familiar with the concept whitesplaining. Whitesplaining is when white people condescendingly explain something — typically about race as well as other topics— to Black, indigenous or people of color. Whitesplaining shows up in a variety of common ways, so much so, the categories keep growing.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Microaggressions] [Slavery] [Cognitive Dissonance] [White Supremacy] [Systemic Racism] [Black Lives Matter] [Implicit Racism] [Indigenous] [Colorblindness] [Tips-Dos/Don’ts]
by Aukram Burton | February 2021
African culture is vastly misunderstood in western societies. This misunderstanding continues to be perpetuated by educational and media institutions in the Western world that consistently misrepresent the image and contributions of African culture and ethics to the world. For centuries, European-centric thinking has justified colonialism and imperialism as a “civilizing mission” meant to save the African “savages” who live in “sh–holes” often characterized by terms like “exotic,” “primitive” or “pagan,” which is a misconception. This thinking is rooted in the age of European Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries. This movement provided an intellectual backdrop for European theories about human differences.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Myths] [History] [Definitions] [Slavery] [Systemic Racism] [White Supremacy] [Economics] [White Blindness]
by Danielle Allen | March 2021
Many of us who live in Massachusetts know the basic outlines of this story and the early role the state played in standing against enslavement. But told in this traditional way, the story leaves out another transformative figure: Prince Hall, a free African American and a contemporary of John Adams. From his formal acquisition of freedom, in 1770, until his death, in 1807, Hall helped forge an activist Black community in Boston while elevating the cause of abolition to new prominence. Hall was the first American to publicly use the language of the Declaration of Independence for a political purpose other than justifying war against Britain. In January 1777, just six months after the promulgation of the Declaration and nearly three years before Adams drafted the state constitution, Hall submitted a petition to the Massachusetts legislature (or General Court, as it is styled) requesting emancipation, invoking the resonant phrases and founding truths of the Declaration itself.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [History] [Role Model] [Black Lives Matter] [Slavery] [Teachers] [Silencing POC] [-ing While Black] [Advocacy] [Systemic Racism] [Social Justice] [Civil War]
Hypothetical Racism: The Trauma We Feel when White Terrorists Go Home and Innocent Black People are Shot on the Spot
by Taharee Jackson | January 2021
Hi. My name is Taharee Jackson, and I am suffering from HYPOTHETICAL RACISM.
I have not slept in two nights due to hypothetical racism-induced insomnia.
Allow me to explain. … Last night, on January 6, 2021, I was glued to the television, trying to see with my own eyes if the invasion of the United States Capitol by angry, White, gun-toting terrorists was actually happening. I kept waiting to see if throngs of police officers, special forces for insurrections, and National Guard members would show up in riot gear, handle them violently, spray rubber bullets, arrest them, shoot them, or even execute them on the spot. It happened. They did not. What truly kept me awake last night was my inability to identify the emotion I was feeling as a multiracial-mixed-with-Black woman watching the storming of the U.S. Capitol unfold WITHOUT CONSEQUENCE. Or, I should say, without the SAME consequences as the Antiracism and Black Lives Matter protests we just witnessed in all 50 states and the world over.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Systemic Racism] [Accountability] [Black Lives Matter] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [White Privilege] [Definitions] [Policing] [Indigenous] [Social Justice] [Politics] [Silencing POC] [Economics] [Denial] [Justice System] [Police Shootings] [Racial Terrorism] [History] [Anti-Racism]
by Reina Sultan | January 2020
White women love saying some variation of, “We are the granddaughters of the witches you could not burn”—even though no “witches” were actually burned at the stake during the Salem Witch Trials. It would be more accurate for them to say, “We are the granddaughters of the Suffragettes who sold out Black and brown women for their own political gain.” Because white women have been choosing whiteness since they fought for the right to vote.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2010’s] [Systemic Racism] [History] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [White Privilege] [White Blindness] [Politics] [Indigenous] [Myths] [Silencing POC] [White Fragility/Tears] [Collective Action]
This African American Woman Got No Credit for Designing the Image of Roosevelt on the U.S Dime in 1944
by Elizabeth Ofosuah Johnson | August 2018
Selma Burke was born on December 31, 1900, and was the 7th of ten children to her parents. Her father worked in the railway service and was a church minister, while her mother was a stay at home mom. At a very young age, Selma showed artistic skill and would often draw or carve objects out of used paper and cardboard. … In 1943, Selma entered a national competition which she won. Sponsored by the Fine Arts Commission in Washington D.C, the competition was to create a profile portrait of the then U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt with a granted commission. Selma then wrote a letter to the president and was invited to the White House to do her sketch.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2010’s] [Systemic Racism] [History] [Art & Culture] [Silencing POC] [Myths] [Black Lives Matter] [Denial] [White Culture] [White Privilege] [White Supremacy]
by Peter Crimmins | February 2021
Florence Price had one of her pieces performed in 1933, by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Since then, she has disappeared from the classical canon. “She shouldn’t be an obscure composer. It’s sensational music that’s been overlooked,” said Orchestra CEO Matías Tarnopolsky. “It raises questions of how canons of music are made. Here we have this brilliantly creative compositional voice that has been largely unheard since her death in the middle of the 20th century.” “In the musical world we have to ask: Why is this the case?” he added.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Art & Culture] [Silencing POC] [White Privilege] [White Culture] [White Blindness] [History]
by Joe Heim | August 2019
For generations, children have been spared the whole, terrible reality about slavery’s place in U.S. history, but some schools are beginning to strip away the deception and evasions. “Think about this. For 246 years, slavery was legal in America. It wasn’t made illegal until 154 years ago,” the 26-year-old teacher told the 23 students sitting before him at Fort Dodge Middle School. “So, what does that mean? It means slavery has been a part of America much longer than it hasn’t been a part of America.” It is a simple observation, but it is also a revelatory way to think about slavery in America and its inextricable role in the country’s founding, evolution and present.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2010’s] [Slavery] [History] [Collective Action] [Myths] [White Culture]
by Philip Gerard| July 2019
The Native Americans of Robeson County are strong and proud, but their history is marked by the struggle to overcome bias. In the 1950s, a watershed moment brings national attention to the Lumbee Tribe.
Through the early decades of the 20th century, the Lumbee Indians were not much known outside of Robeson County in the southeastern part of the state — though their forebears settled there by at least 1754, when an agent for colonial Gov. Arthur Dobbs discovered some 50 families living at the headwaters of the Little Pee Dee. His description was less than flattering: “a lawless People [who] possess the Lands without patent or paying quit rents.” Thus began a long history with white settlers during which the Lumbee struggled to gain respect.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2010’s] [Indigenous] [History] [Implicit Bias] [Myths] [Politics] [Systemic Racism] [Denial] [White Supremacy] [Health Disparities] [Racial Terrorism] [Justice System]
by Stephanie Wood | November 2020
The Seal River is Manitoba’s only major waterway that hasn’t been dammed — and five Indigenous communities have banded together to keep it that way by establishing a protected area. Tadoule Lake is a Sayisi Dene community nestled in the Seal River Watershed, a vast, intact landscape that stretches across northern Manitoba from Hudson Bay almost to the Saskatchewan border. It’s dotted with trees, lakes and wetlands. Sandy hills left behind from glacial rivers, called eskers, snake across the land. The Sayisi Dene and the caribou have lived in relationship with the Seal River Watershed for many generations.
The 50,000-square-kilometre area — about the size of Nova Scotia — has escaped dams, mining and colonial settlement. It’s home to millions of birds, along with polar bears, moose, beluga whales and, of course, its namesake seals. The Seal River is also the only major river in Manitoba that is not dammed.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Indigenous] [Environment] [History] [POC Climate Action] [Justice System] [Systemic Racism] [Housing] [Advocacy] [Role Model] [Strategies]
Did You See the Law Enforcement Response to the Rioters Taking Over the Capitol? This Is What White Privilege Looks Like
by Petula Dvorak | January 2021
Everyone — millions of people — saw this coming. President Trump invited his followers to D.C. a month ago, promising them it’s “gonna be wild.” They planned the riots openly on social media for weeks, bragging about how many guns they’d bring and the mayhem they’d set off. They came by the thousands, and outside the White House, Trump rallied them to march on the Capitol on Wednesday, reassuring them that “after this, we’re going to walk down there, and I’ll be there with you.” (He wasn’t.)
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [White Supremacy] [White Privilege] [White Culture] [White Defensiveness] [White Blindness] [Systemic Racism] [Politics] [Policing] [-ing While Black] [Civil War] [Accountability]
by Ibram X. Kendi | January 2021
“Let me be very clear: The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America. Do not represent who we are,” President-elect Joe Biden said during Wednesday’s siege. …To say that the attack on the U.S. Capitol is not who we are is to say that this is not part of us, not part of our politics, not part of our history. And to say that this is not part of America, American politics, and American history is a bald-faced denial. But the denial is normal. In the aftermath of catastrophes, when have Americans commonly admitted who we are? The heartbeat of America is denial. It is historic, this denial. Every American generation denies. America is establishing the freest democracy in the world, said the white people who secured their freedom during the 1770s and ’80s. America is the greatest democracy on Earth, said the property owners voting in the early 19th century. America is the beacon of democracy in world history, said the men who voted before the 1920s. America is the leading democracy in the world, said the non-incarcerated people who have voted throughout U.S. history in almost every state. America is the utmost democracy on the face of the Earth, said the primarily older and better-off and able-bodied people who are the likeliest to vote in the 21st century. America is the best democracy around, said the American people when it was harder for Black and Native and Latino people to vote in the 2020 election.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Systemic Racism] [Black Lives Matter] [Indigenous] [Latino/a] [Denial] [History] [Politics] [White Defensiveness] [White Blindness] [White Privilege] [White Culture] [White Supremacy] [Slavery] [Civil War] [Racial Terrorism] [Policing] [Police Shootings] [Economics]
by Stephen Raskauskas | May 2017
The waltz is typically associated with composers from German-speaking countries. The word waltz is, after all, German. Viennese composers like Beethoven and Schubert composed waltzes. Viennese composer Johann Strauss II was known as the “Waltz King.” But at the same time that the Viennese were waltzing around ballrooms and clinking their champagne glasses, the people of Mexico were enjoying waltzes, too, many of which were composed in Mexico. One of the most famous waltz composers in Mexico was Juventino Rosas. He was born in 1868 in Santa Cruz de Galeana to parents who were Otomí. The Otomí people are one of many indigenous groups in Mexico. In 2015, over 25,000,000 people living in Mexico identified as indigenous.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [Indigenous] [2010’s] [Latino/a] [Myths] [Art & Culture] [Implicit Racism] [History] [Silencing POC]
by gamma | January 2020
Most Black folks have heard or used the term Uncle tom when we refer to a sell-out, or someone we feel is tap dancing for the attention and acceptance of other races. It has always been used in a derogatory manner to infer that this was the type of person who cozied up to his slave master, but did you know that the inference and analogy is totally wrong? … His name? Josiah Henson! Josiah Henson was an author, abolitionist, and minister. Born into slavery, in Port Tobacco, Charles County, Maryland, he escaped to Upper Canada in 1830, and founded a settlement and laborer’s school for other fugitive slaves at Dawn, near Dresden, in Kent County, Upper Canada, of British Canada.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Myths] [Slavery] [History] [Denial] [Teachers]
Field Correction: Race-Based Medicine, Deeply Embedded in Clinical Decision Making, is Being Scrutinized and Challenged
by Stephanie Dutchen | December 2020
A young Black man arrives in the emergency room, doubled over in pain from a sickle cell crisis. “It’s an act,” says the attending physician dismissively. “I think he just wants drugs.” The attending refuses to prescribe the opioids he might give to a white patient in similar straits. Andrea Reid, MD ’88, associate dean for student and multicultural affairs for the Program in Medical Education and director of the Office of Recruitment and Multicultural Affairs at Harvard Medical School, witnessed too many such scenes as a trainee in Boston-area hospitals in the 1980s and ’90s. “It was awful,” she says. “There was bias that reflected in the management of some patients, especially those who didn’t look like they were in pain.” After watching this scenario play out in the emergency department and on the wards, Reid quietly began to direct some of the sickle cell patients toward her outpatient clinic for continuity care. … Many clinicians have heard or been formally taught that Black people don’t feel pain as acutely as white people because they have different biology. Black bodies have fewer nerve endings than white bodies, they’ve been told. Black skin is thicker than white skin, they’ve learned. Digging deeper reveals that these notions, as old as transatlantic slavery, have no evidence behind them. Yet a 2016 survey in PNAS of white medical students and residents found that half of the respondents still believe and act on them.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Systemic Racism] [Health Disparities] [Myths] [Implicit Bias] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [White Blindness] [Denial] [History] [Indigenous] [Asian] [Latino/a] [White Privilege]
The Pre-Civil War Fight Against White Supremacy; In a Country Driven by Racial Politics, Three Women Strove for a Just Society
by Dorothy Wickenden | January 2021
Two years into the cataclysmic war, Lincoln found a way to justify emancipation, as a “military necessity.” Frances greeted the proclamation with relief, but not euphoria. She was equally subdued when the Thirteenth Amendment eventually passed, on January 31, 1865, inscribing into the Constitution the eradication of slavery. Back in Auburn, she read the Herald Tribune’s report about the giddy scene in Washington. The visitors’ galleries were full, and senators and Supreme Court Justices squeezed onto the House floor. Finally, Speaker Schuyler Colfax stood and gavelled the room to order, announcing in a quavering voice that the ayes had a hundred and nineteen votes, the nays fifty-six. As Democrats looked on stonily, Republicans threw their hats in the air, cheering and roaring. Women in the gallery waved their handkerchiefs. Artillery at the Capitol fired a hundred-gun salute. The Tribune’s headline declared, “freedom triumphant. commencement of a new era. death of slavery.” It was a historic victory, but it had been won as much by political horse-trading as by deep principle. Henry and Lincoln, in a months-long backroom campaign, had lobbied wavering representatives with bribes and offers of jobs. And, Frances thought, it was too soon to celebrate. The amendment still had to be ratified by three-quarters of the states. Half a million men had died in the war, and it was not over. General William Tecumseh Sherman was moving through the Carolinas, and Ulysses S. Grant was eight months into his siege of Petersburg. There were rumors that rebels would attempt to assassinate the President. After reading about the joyous outpouring in the House, Frances wrote Henry a bracingly solemn note: “I congratulate you on the passage of the Constitutional amendment which I know you had much at heart. The prospect of abolishing slavery throughout the United States is indeed cheering.” The battle for equality had barely begun.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Slavery] [Justice System] [Civil War] [History] [Politics] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [White Privilege] [Systemic Racism] [Racial Terrorism] [Prison System] [Faith-Based/Spiritual] [Quaker]
The Brutish Museums by Dan Hicks Review – Return Everything; A Powerful Call for Western Museums to Return the Objects Looted in the Violent Days of Empire, During ‘World War Zero’
by Charlotte Lydia Riley | November 2020
The book is a vital call to action: part historical investigation, part manifesto, demanding the reader do away with the existing “brutish museums” of the title and find a new way for them to exist, not as sites of violence or trauma but as “sites of conscience”. Hicks is a curator at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, whose website says that it displays “archaeological and ethnographic materials from all parts of the world”. He focuses on one particular region – the kingdom of Benin, now located in modern Nigeria.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [History] [Art & Culture] [Systemic Racism] [Denial] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [Racial Terrorism] [Economics] [Slavery] [Reparations]
Alexander Hamilton, Enslaver? New Research Says Yes; A Paper by a Researcher at the Schuyler Mansion Finds Overlooked Evidence in Letters and Hamilton’s Own Account Books Indicating That He Bought, Sold and Personally Owned Slaves.
by Jennifer Schuessler | November 2020
“Not only did Alexander Hamilton enslave people, but his involvement in the institution of slavery was essential to his identity, both personally and professionally,” she writes. “It is vital,” she adds, “that the myth of Hamilton as ‘the Abolitionist Founding Father’ end.” The evidence cited in the paper, which was quietly published online last month, is not entirely new. But Ms. Serfilippi’s forceful case has caught the eye of historians, particularly those who have questioned what they see as his inflated antislavery credentials.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Slavery] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [White Privilege] [Art & Culture] [Denial] [Myths]
by Sydney Fogel | September 2020
Recently, a lot of light has been shed on the fact that that the history curriculum we learned in school may not always have been the most accurate, or at the very least, as extensive and well-rounded as it should be. While that could be a whole discussion in and of itself, we’re going to use that sentiment to focus on something positive: all the Black women who have, and still are, shaping history and changing the world. You may already know a few of these names, but we’re willing to bet most will be new to you — and that’s something we want to change. These incredible Black women have accomplished a lot of firsts — from the first Black woman elected to office, to the first Black woman to win a Nobel Prize, to the first Black woman to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture — the list is extensive. And, beyond firsts, there are Black women who have simply left their mark on the world, whether through the Civil Rights Movement, or by making a name for themselves in pop culture.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [History] [White Culture] [Role Model] [Myths] [Systemic Racism] [Collective Action] [Art & Culture] [Role Model] [Advocacy] [White Blindness]
by Maia Coleman | November 2020
“I contend that the Thanksgiving myth is just that — it’s a myth, it’s not history,” said Mr. Silverman. The real story, he explained, features far more bloodshed and destruction, including a European plague that wiped out enormous swaths of the native population, the continued exploitation of native people at the hands of the colonists and above all, the grabbing of native lands. The actual Thanksgiving feast was born from a mutual defense pact between the English colonists and the Wampanoags against the neighboring Narragansett tribe, Mr. Silverman said. “Neither side attributed much importance to this event,” Mr. Silverman told the audience. “The Wampanoags never invoked it again, at least on record in any diplomacy between themselves in the English…and English records dedicated two paragraphs to it.”
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Indigenous] [Myths] [History] [Silencing POC] [White Culture] [White Supremacy] [Denial] [Systemic Racism]
Elites Use Race to Divide Us; The War on Police Brutality Hides a Much Bigger Threat to All Americans
by Monica Harris | June 2020
Let’s get something straight: white privilege is real. I know because I’ve lived in its shadow my entire life. I’ve felt it even when I’ve tried to forget or pretend it wasn’t there. White privilege wasn’t earned; it was gifted to people who brought others, shackled in the bowels of ships, to serve them. Living in a country where your ancestors were once stuff that other people “owned” leaves wounds so deep they can’t be erased from the collective memory. And when your ancestors were the ones allowed to “own” other people, it creates something equally indelible: an advantage that’s hard-wired into all levels of society. It’s like getting a head start in every race that always puts you a few yards from the finish line. It’s an entitlement that lingers, unspoken, in the back of all minds, silently playing out in everything we say, think, or do.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [White Privilege] [White Culture] [Systemic Racism] [History] [Policing] [Slavery] [Implicit Racism] [Economics] [Black Lives Matter] [Police Shootings] [Denial] [Civil War]
by Renee Ghert-Zand | November 2020
Early 1920s newspaper ads for the blockbuster New York Yiddish stage shows Dos Khupe Kleyd (The Wedding Dress) and Yente Telebende (Loquacious Battle‐Ax), featured a Black artist among the spotlighted performers. This was Thomas LaRue, a Yiddish-speaking singer widely known in the interwar period as der schvartzer khazan (The Black Cantor). Although long-forgotten now, LaRue (who sometimes used the surname Jones) was among the favorites of Yiddish theater and cantorial music. Reportedly raised in Newark, New Jersey, by a single mother who was drawn to Judaism, he even drew interest from beyond the US.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Systemic Racism] [Black Lives Matter] [White Supremacy] [White Privilege] [White Culture] [White Blindness] [History] [Cognitive Dissonance] [Art & Culture]
by Reuters Staff | July 2020
An old image that is recirculating on social media purportedly shows quotes on race by the Founding Fathers Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and member of the Virginia House of Delegates Henry Berry. The quotes, contextualized below, are accurate.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Systemic Racism] [History] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [White Privilege] [Slavery]
Black Girls in Mass. Nearly 4 Times More Likely to Face School Discipline than White Girls, Report Finds
by Naomi Martin | September 2020
The authors of the report, “Protecting Girls of Color from the School-to-Prison Pipeline,” said stark racial disparities in school discipline is a nationwide problem. But they chose to focus on girls, who they said should be included more in the national conversation on racial justice, and picked the three states to compare as case studies. … The report found that in all three states, Black female students were far more likely than white ones to be suspended in school, suspended out of school, expelled, referred to law enforcement, and arrested. Out-of-school suspensions affected the largest share of Black girls. Though Massachusetts’ racial disparities were generally comparable to the two other states, Kansas and Alabama both suspended a far larger portion of their Black female students from school.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Systemic Racism] [White Privilege] [White Culture] [White Supremacy] [White Blindness] [Prison System] [Policing] [Black Lives Matter] [-ing While Black]
Black Scholars Confront White Supremacy in Classical Music; The Field Must Acknowledge a History of Systemic Racism While Also Giving New Weight to Black Composers, Musicians, and Listeners.
by Alex Ross | September 2020
This spring, the journal Music Theory Online published “Music Theory and the White Racial Frame,” an article by Philip Ewell, who teaches at Hunter College. It begins with the sentence “Music theory is white,” and goes on to argue that the whiteness of the discipline is manifest not only in the lack of diversity in its membership but also in a deep-seated ideology of white supremacy, one that insidiously affects how music is analyzed and taught. The main target of Ewell’s critique is the early-twentieth-century Austrian theorist Heinrich Schenker (1868-1935), who parsed musical structures in terms of foreground, middle-ground, and background levels, teasing out the tonal formulas that underpin large-scale movements. Schenker held racist views, particularly with regard to Black people, and according to Ewell those views seeped into the seemingly abstract principles of his theoretical work.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Art & Culture] [Systemic Racism] [History] [White Supremacy] [Myths] [-ing While Black] [White Culture] [White Blindness] [Immigration] [Slavery] [Civil War] [Asian]
by Dion Rabouin | July 2020
1. The myth of closing the racial wealth gap through education
2. The myth of closing the racial wealth gap through personal responsibility
3. The myth of closing the racial wealth gap through home ownership
4. The myth of closing the racial wealth gap with individual accomplishment
5. The myth of closing the racial wealth gap through increased savings
6. The myth of closing the racial wealth gap by investing in Black-owned banks
7. The myth of closing the racial wealth gap through entrepreneurship
8. The myth of closing the racial wealth gap through financial literacy
9. The myth of closing the racial wealth gap by emulating “model minorities”
10. The myth of closing the racial wealth gap through “stronger families”
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Myths] [Economics] [History] [Denial] [Racial Covenants] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [Housing] [Systemic Racism] [White Privilege]
A Judge Asked Harvard to Find Out Why So Many Black People Were In Prison. They Could Only Find 1 Answer: Systemic Racism
by Michael Harriot | September 2020
When a judge tasked researchers with explaining why Massachusetts’ Black and Latinx incarceration was so high, a four-year study came up with one conclusion. Racism. It was always racism. “White people make up roughly 74% of the Massachusetts population while accounting for 58.7% of cases in our data,” the study explained. “Meanwhile, Black people make up just 6.5% of the Massachusetts population and account for 17.1% of cases.” Of course, that could only mean that Black people commit much more crime, right? Nope. OK, then maybe Black people commit worse crimes. That wasn’t it. What they found is the criminal justice system is unequal on every level. Cops in the state are more likely to stop Black drivers.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Policing] [Systemic Racism] [Prison System] [White Culture] [White Supremacy] [White Privilege] [Latino/a] [Myths] [Black Lives Matter] [-ing While Black]
Inside a New Effort to Change What Schools Teach About Native American History; A New Curriculum from the American Indian Museum Brings Greater Depth and Understanding to the Long-Misinterpreted History of Indigenous Culture
by Anna Diamond | September 2019
Students who learn anything about Native Americans are often only offered the barest minimum: re-enacting the first Thanksgiving, building a California Spanish mission out of sugar cubes or memorizing a flashcard about the Trail of Tears just ahead of the AP U.S. History Test.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2010’s] [Indigenous] [Systemic Racism] [History] [Teachers] [Myths] [Silencing POC] [Immigration]
by Death Penalty Information Center | June 1998
The results of two new studies which underscore the continuing injustice of racism in the application of the death penalty are being released through this report. The first study documents the infectious presence of racism in the death penalty, and demonstrates that this problem has not slackened with time, nor is it restricted to a single region of the country. The other study identifies one of the potential causes for this continuing crisis: those who are making the critical death penalty decisions in this country are almost exclusively white.
From the days of slavery in which black people were considered property, through the years of lynchings and Jim Crow laws, capital punishment has always been deeply affected by race. Unfortunately, the days of racial bias in the death penalty are not a remnant of the past.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [Slavery] [1990’s] [History] [White Supremacy] [White Privilege] [Systemic Racism] [Silencing POC] [Accountability] [Prison System]
Why The U.S. Needs to do Reparations Now; Addressing centuries of racist Policy is a Critical Solution to Today’s Social Unrest, Explains Law Professor Mehrsa Baradaran in an Interview with HuffPost.
by Emily Peck | June 2020
Defunding the police is just part of the structural reform needed to root out racism in the U.S., says Mehrsa Baradaran, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, who studies the economic inequities between Black and white Americans. What’s truly needed is a big-picture rethink of U.S. policy at every level, she told HuffPost in an interview by phone and in follow-ups over email this week. In her 2017 book “The Color of Money,” Baradaran lays out how, over centuries, policymakers wrote Black Americans out of the economic system — and how policies blocking Black people from obtaining mortgages, land and credit created an immense wealth gap between Black and white Americans that persists to this day. In her book, Baradaran says that after slavery was abolished, Black Americans held just .5% of all the wealth in the U.S. Today, the number is barely higher, at about 1%.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Reparations] [Economics] [History] [Housing] [Civil War] [Policing] [Systemic Racism]
IBRAM KENDI, ONE OF THE NATION’S LEADING SCHOLARS OF RACISM, SAYS EDUCATION AND LOVE ARE NOT THE ANSWER; Founder of New Anti-Racism Center at American University Sees Impact of Policy, Culture on Black Athletes
by Lonnae O’Neal | September 2017
Education, love and exemplary black people will not deliver America from racism, Kendi says. Racist ideas grow out of discriminatory policies, he argues, not the other way around. And if his new center can help identify and dismantle those policies in the U.S. and around the world, he believes we can start to eliminate racism. At least that’s the goal. … “We have been taught that ignorance and hate lead to racist ideas, lead to racist policies,” Kendi said. “If the fundamental problem is ignorance and hate, then your solutions are going to be focused on education, and love and persuasion. But of course [Stamped from the Beginning] shows that the actual foundation of racism is not ignorance and hate, but self-interest, particularly economic and political and cultural.” Self-interest drives racist policies that benefit that self-interest. When the policies are challenged because they produce inequalities, racist ideas spring up to justify those policies. Hate flows freely from there.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2010’s] [Anti-Racism] [Systemic Racism] [Myths] [History]
by Beth Woolsey | June 2020
In 2016 I was super concerned about making sure I wasn’t in a social media “bubble.” I wanted to proactively avoid exclusively following, friending, and interacting with people who could provide me with a nice, comfy echo chamber and who would parrot back to me what I already think. I wanted to be open minded. I wanted to cultivate diverse perspectives. I wanted to be able to listen well and learn and grow. None of which was wrong in intention. Turns out, though, it was horrible in execution. …When people talk about “invisible privilege” this is what they mean. I genuinely DID NOT SEE that my feed wasn’t diverse, particularly because I’d taken such pains to cultivate diversity. I thought I was being diverse and open minded. I was actually being myopic and centering the white, cis, middle class experience and ensuring my demographic was the LOUDEST and received the most attention.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Systemic Racism] [White Blindness]
by Ola Caracola | June 2020
Not all white people are bigots. But all white people consciously or unconsciously benefit from a system, which oppresses people of color. Our indoctrination with underlying racist ideals begins at birth and is so engrained in our culture that we may not even be aware of the biases we hold. Often our perception of people who look different than us is based on incomplete or all-together inaccurate stereotypes. We need to do better. This does not mean that as a white person, you don’t struggle with the realities of life, it simply means that your skin color is not one of the things making it harder.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Myths] [Systemic Racism] [Implicit Bias] [White Blindness] [White Privilege] [Accountability] [History] [Black Lives Matter]
How Red Lines Built White Wealth: A Lesson on Housing Segregation in the 20th Century Teaching Activity. Rethinking Schools; A Teaching Activity
by Ursula Wolfe-Rocca | Date Unknown
An 11th-grade student leaned back in his chair at Lincoln High School in Portland, Oregon, and said, “Absurd. That is the only way to describe those numbers. They are absurd.” He and his classmates had just read statistics about the racial wealth gap in their Political Economy class: White households are worth at least 10 times as much as Black households; only 15 percent of whites have zero or negative wealth while a third of Blacks do; Black families making $100,000 typically live in the kinds of neighborhoods inhabited by white families making $30,000. These numbers are absurd, and they are not accidental. The mixer role play is based on Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law, which shows in exacting detail how government policies segregated every major city in the United States with dire consequences for African Americans.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [Teachers] [Economics] [History] [Politics] [Housing] [Racial Covenants] [Systemic Racism] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [White Privilege] [Reparations]
by Central Park Conservancy | January 2018
Before Central Park was created, the landscape along what is now the Park’s perimeter from West 82nd to West 89th Street was the site of Seneca Village, a community of predominantly African-Americans, many of whom owned property. By 1855, the village consisted of approximately 225 residents, made up of roughly two-thirds African-Americans, one-third Irish immigrants, and a small number of individuals of German descent. One of few African-American enclaves at the time, Seneca Village allowed residents to live away from the more built-up sections of downtown Manhattan and escape the unhealthy conditions and racism they faced there.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2010’s] [History] [Housing]
The Dehumanizing Condescension of White Fragility; The Popular Book Aims to Combat Racism but Talks Down to Black People.
by John McWhorter| July 2020
“ … herein is the real problem with White Fragility. DiAngelo does not see fit to address why all of this agonizing soul-searching is necessary to forging change in society. One might ask just how a people can be poised for making change when they have been taught that pretty much anything they say or think is racist and thus antithetical to the good. What end does all this self-mortification serve? Impatient with such questions, DiAngelo insists that “wanting to jump over the hard, personal work and get to ‘solutions’” is a “foundation of white fragility.” In other words, for DiAngelo, the whole point is the suffering. And note the scare quotes around solutions, as if wanting such a thing were somehow ridiculous. A corollary question is why Black people need to be treated the way DiAngelo assumes we do. The very assumption is deeply condescending to all proud Black people. In my life, racism has affected me now and then at the margins, in very occasional social ways, but has had no effect on my access to societal resources; if anything, it has made them more available to me than they would have been otherwise. Nor should anyone dismiss me as a rara avis. Being middle class, upwardly mobile, and Black has been quite common during my existence since the mid-1960s, and to deny this is to assert that affirmative action for Black people did not work.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [Individual Change] [2020’s] [White Fragility/Tears] [White Defensiveness] [Systemic Racism] [White Supremacy] [Anti-Racism] [Myths] [“All Lives Matter”] [Denial]
by Jason Parham | November 2019
The phrase turns a plural into a singular, an action that betrays all the ways we have come to understand contemporary identity.
This past summer, in one of the most bizarre applications, Representative Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, who is white and Republican, described himself as a “person of color” when discussing Trump’s comments about four Democratic congresswomen. “It’s time to stop fixating on our differences—particularly our superficial ones,” he said.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2010’s] [Systemic Racism] [Prison System] [Politics] [Racial Covenants] [White Privilege] [White Supremacy]
[White Defensiveness] [White Blindness] [Denial] [“All Lives Matter”] [White Fragility/Tears] [White Culture]
by Donald Yacovone | April 2018
After reviewing my first 50 or so textbooks, one morning I realized precisely what I was seeing, what instruction, and what priorities were leaping from the pages into the brains of the students compelled to read them: white supremacy. One text even began with the capitalized title: “The White Man’s History.” Across time and with precious few exceptions, African-Americans appeared only as “ignorant negroes,” as slaves, and as anonymous abstractions that only posed “problems” for the supposed real subjects of history: white people of European descent.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2010’s] [White Supremacy] [History] [White Culture] [White Privilege] [Accountability] [Myths]