What would my life be like if I wasn’t white? If I didn’t benefit from white privilege? Certainly being female provides me with a tablespoon’s-worth of inequality perspective, but that’s nothing when it’s measured against a gallon’s-worth of racial inequality.
When I consider how charmed my life has been – not by virtue of a lifetime’s worth of law-abiding, responsible decisions, no – due to the invisibility afforded me thanks to the color of my skin. No one was paying attention to a middle-class, white, teen-aged girl as a potential law-breaker. In point of fact, my teen-aged self only caught law enforcement attention when I was with my black friends. Because then, and only then, was I suspect. Keep reading »
I’m not going to lie. I won’t pretend that I’m not a white woman from an upper-middle-class family from a relatively affluent suburb of Chicago, that the word “sketchy” has never come out of my mouth relating to majority black or Hispanic neighborhoods, that I was never told to avoid “certain areas” of the city. I’m just going to say that it hasn’t happened in a good long while, because I grew the fuck up and both got educated and educated myself about race and economics, gentrification, white flight, gerrymandering, the consequences of privatization, municipal budget allocation, and on, and on, and on.
Allison McGuire and Daniel Herrington, creators of the super-racist app SketchFactor and grown-ass adults who should know better, didn’t get the memo. The app combines user-contributed reports and “publicly available data” to rate the relative “sketchiness” of different parts of your town. In effect, of course, this will be used to single out neighborhoods because of the way that they look, regardless of your actual chances of being victimized or how nice the neighborhood might be if you bothered to do more than pass through while trying to avoid traffic on the expressway. Keep reading »
Last week, I found myself grateful for the conviction of Renisha McBride’s murderer, Theodore Wafer. This conviction did not bring back Renisha McBride. It did not atone for the miscarriage of justice that happened when George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin. It did not lay to rest my fears for my niece growing up in a country where Black girls and boys, men and women, are still fighting to see the completion of our ancestors dreams and hopes for equality.
But I was grateful.
I was grateful because I thought that this may be a step in the right direction — an inching towards our goal. I was still reeling from the death of Eric Garner in New York, still raw from the violence against Professor Ersula Ore, but this was a bright spot in the overwhelming despair. And then Saturday happened. Keep reading »
“Some problems we share as women, some we do not. You fear your children will grow up to join the patriarchy and testify against you, we fear our children will be dragged from a car and shot down in the street, and you will turn your backs upon the reasons they are dying.”
— Audre Lorde, “Age, Race, Class, and Sex,” Sister Outsider
My younger brother is 16-years-old. He is six feet, four inches of gentle, timid, and awkward. He loves baseball and breakfast food, family and faith. He is quiet and complex, an introvert who often laughs with me about our frustrations with growing up in a small home with six people.
But in our Orange County hometown, he is feared. A Black teen with a physical presence that far eclipses his white and East Asian peers, he bears the psychic toll of being seen as a walking threat before being seen as a boy. He knows the police are not on his side. He is right; every 28 hours a black person is killed extrajudicially by law enforcement or vigilantes. And that terrifies me. Keep reading »
Last year, the upscale department store Barneys in New York City was hit with several accusations that it engages in racial profiling of its customers. On Friday, following a nine-month-long investigation by the New York State Attorney General’s civil rights decision, Barneys admitted it discriminated against Black and Hispanic shoppers. In addition to a settlement, the store is hiring an anti-racial profiling consultant and adopting an anti-profiling policy. Keep reading »
Sigh. To anyone who thinks racism is over and we should all stop complaining about it, there are still states with segregated proms and segregated sororities. The fact of the matter is that at these sororities, like the ones at the University of Alabama, a lot of the girls who get in or pledge, White and Black, don’t even really know what’s going on or don’t get to have a say. It is a major bummer. Read more on College Candy…