If you managed to abstain from social media and television last night, you missed the strange awards sideshow that was the Golden Globes. There were some great moments on stage—Emma Thompson was the coolest person in the room as she presented an award barefoot, holding her high heels in one hand and a martini in the other and hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler had some genuinely funny jokes—but I came away from the night thinking more about who wasn’t on stage: many people of color.
What happens when two great black women fiction writers get together to talk about race in young adult literature? That's exactly what happens in the conversation below, where Zetta Elliott (below left), a black feminist writer of poetry, plays, essays, novels, and stories for children, and award-winning Haitian-American speculative fiction writer Ibi Aanu Zoboi (below right) decided to discuss current young adult sci-fi.
In mid-November in the Netherlands, Dutch families take to the streets of Amsterdam to celebrate the arrival of their favorite winter guests, Sinterklaas and his whimsical helper Black Pete. The air is crisp and cold. Pepernoten, bortsplaat, marzipan, and other sweet holiday fill the pockets of onlookers. When the adored duo comes into town (they sail in on a ship from Spain), they are greeted with a city-wide, family-friendly parade.
However, what is different and potentially shocking to many non-Dutch onlookers is that during the traditional parade, Sinterklaas is escorted by hundreds of white people in blackface. Smiling Dutch folks in blackface bike, walk, and rollerblade through the town, waving at children in celebration.
New York artist Donna Choi wanted to create a “weird, memorable way” to discuss fetishization of Asian women, so she put together a satirical series about how to diagnose Yellow Fever—the specific obsession many Western men have with Asian culture.
The over-the-top series is a discussion of race crafted for the attention span of the Internet.
Before I saw those pictures of her online Monday morning I didn’t know who Julianne Hough was. Even after Googling her, I’m still not entirely sure. Ballroom dancer and country music singer? Which is it, Julianne, did you have a hit song or were you just on Dancing With the Stars?
When I spoke to Mikki Kendall on August 14, just two days after she started the nationally trending Twitter hashtag#SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen, she was tired. The discussion started on Twitter had spurred much-needed and long-ignored conversations about the treatment of women of color by Big Name Feminism.
A dialogue between two siblings highlights the messages internalized from growing up as an "other" in America.
"Growing up, I really hated being Chinese. I had so many feelings I couldn't explain- shame, guilt, discomfort. More than anything else I felt the painful desire to be normal, to be completely accepted as American. And it hurts me now to see my brother going through same thing as I did."
Barack Obama at this morning's press conference on the death of Trayvon Martin.
President Barack Obama has spoken out relatively rarely in his presidency on the big, controversial issues that dominate our headlines. In an analysis this week, the New York Times described his political strategy as a "hidden hand," saying: "While other presidents have put the bully in the bully pulpit, Mr. Obama uses his megaphone, and the power that comes with it, sparingly, speaking out when he decides his voice can shape the trajectory of an issue and staying silent when he thinks it might be counterproductive."
So it's extraordinary that Obama used his megaphone today to talk about why the Trayvon Martin case and "not guilty" verdict for George Zimmerman has led to such hurt and outrage across the country—and it's powerful the way he connected the politics of the case to his personal experiences with systemic racism.
Full text of the speech and more commentary is below.
Two years ago, on vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains, I saw a white couple at a restaurant with their Asian daughter. Though her father told her to quit staring, I felt the girl's eyes on me all through the meal. I smiled at her, feeling a strong sense of kinship, a pang of sympathy. As a child, whenever I saw another Asian person – which I hardly ever did – I used to stare, too, hungry for the sight of someone, anyone, who looked like me.