Each of the last couple of years, Halloween time sees a number of flow charts getting passed around through social media helping people answer the question, “Is this costume racist?” These are helpful to an extent, and usually add enough humor to help them spread. But their medium limits their analysis.
Jenée Desmond-Harris has contributed some great analysis on The Root, last year and this year. In addition to pointing out that one needs to consider a costume’s effects on others and not only the wearer’s intent, she also comments on the “I’m-just-having-fun” response.
That kind of defensiveness is a symptom of the very attitude that stifles productive conversation about race for the other, noncostumed 364 days out of the year, says David J. Leonard, associate professor in and chair of the department of critical culture, gender and race studies at Washington State University, Pullam. “It just reflects how we talk about race in contemporary society,” he says. “It reflects the overall belief that race doesn’t matter, or that it only matters when people of color — who are accused of being overly sensitive, or ‘playing the race card’ — bring it up.”
In an Open Letter to the Evangelical Church, Asian American evangelicals say that racism must stop. They lay out some examples in recent years of particularly offensive and publicized racial stereotyping of Asian cultures, and add
“Although it is beyond unfortunate that these incidents happened at all, in many cases the reactions from the parties responsible towards the Asian Americans who have challenged them have been even worse than the initial stereotyping and ignorance.”
And so, after being explicitly told that the reactions toward those who challenge racism have been more damaging than the original racism, what response did these leaders receive? Anne Joh, one of the signers, describes at NYTimes.com’s Room For Debate, that
In case you thought that Halloween costumes that play on racist stereotypes were just a thing for 8-year-olds and college students, Sociological Images reminds us that they are for your pet also.
Here’s an analysis of Western media coverage of the Pakistani teenager who was shot in the face for speaking out in favor of girls’ education. Is the West’s interest in Ms. Yousafzai (who is definitely an incredible young woman) largely because she is a “helpless,” young, brown girl whom Western governments can “save” from the “evil,” brown, native men of her country? Notice: intersectional analysis of race and gender required!
Here’s a nice run through of the atrocities committed by colonial terrorist Christopher Columbus. Not totally on-board with the author’s renaming Columbus Day after Bartoleme de las Casas (who is a model of redemption), when others have already chosen “Indigenous People’s Day.” From http://theoatmeal.com/comics/columbus_day
A couple things making the rounds of the Interweb these days have to do with gender stereotypes in children’s books marketed for boys and girls separately. Such as:
Welcome to the Roots of Justice Blog. Here we will be posting information about trainings and other events, resources, and news of interest to people who are engaged dismantling systems of oppression. I’m Regina, and I’ll be blogging here with a couple of other people in the Roots of Justice collective.
A bit about me: I was one of the co-founders of the Damascus Road Anti-Racism Training process. I currently teach at a small Christian liberal arts college in northern Indiana.
Roots of Justice trainers and friends share reflections on historical and current events