Tag Archives: Racism

But That Was Then, This Is Now: Part 4: The Racial Wealth Gap

dsc_0024.jpgOkay, so African Americans were segregated at almost every level until the Civil Rights Movement. But since then they have no excuse for being less well off, and white people haven’t done anything to hold them back since then, have they? And what about white people? Aren’t they just as badly off as poor blacks?

Well, it just so happens that several studies were recently done on the subject, on which I will heavily rely for this post. But first a few things that made getting ahead harder for blacks before the Civil Rights Movement. Continue reading

But That Was Then, This Is Now : Part 2 Housing Inequality

redlining

Image: HousingWire.com

The first African-American disadvantage I want to address is housing, because housing determines access to education, healthcare, jobs, fresh vegetables, even, and the ability to build assets.  (For an introduction, see the previous post.) A lot of white people think, or like to think, that de jure segregation, i.e. based in law — the official segregation of blacks and whites — was something of the Deep South and the distant past, and that the segregation we see today ‘just happened’, because of black people’s personal choices and circumstances — that it’s voluntary, de facto segregation. Continue reading

But That Was Then, This Is Now : Part 1 Introduction

DSC_0072A while ago I saw someone ask, somewhere on Facebook, “But what have whites done, since the Civil War, to prevent blacks from succeeding? Why do we owe them anything?” So I got to work, thinking I’d write a post in which I’d neatly sum up, chronologically, all the ways whites have worked to systematically exclude blacks from the American dream. Continue reading

Salsbury’s Slavery Spectacular!

Black America Show poster

Image: newyorkhistoryblog.org

I’m reading Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire, A 500-Year History, by Kurt Anderson. He gives an inventory of all the ways (white) Americans have been more prone than Europeans to believe in big dreams, in get-rich-quick schemes, the supernatural, cure-alls, conspiracy theories, UFO sightings and other “alternative facts” from the beginning of white colonization up to the Trump presidency and America’s current “post-factual” society. It’s fascinating, and it confirms that I’m right when I argue with my American husband that UFO sightings are really mostly an American thing. Continue reading

Zwarte Piet : Putting Him Into Perspective, Again!

zwarte piet again

Image: cnn.com

So let me get this straight:

Sinterklaas can still be Sinterklaas.
He and his Pieten can still arrive in Amsterdam on the steamboat.
They can still have all the processions through cities and towns.
People can still come out to welcome them.
Kids can still wave at Sinterklaas and give the Pieten their drawings.
The Pieten can still wear the same costumes.
They can still hand out candy.
Everyone can still eat pepernoten,
and taai-taai,
and marzipan,
and kruidnoten,
and suikerbeesten,
and amandelstaven,
and chocolate letters,
and speculaas poppen
and drink hot chocolate.
Everyone can still sing Sinterklaas songs.
You can still have Book Piet, Organizer Piet, Grumpy Piet and what have you Piet (a relatively new phenomenon).
Everyone can still buy Sinterklaas and Piet dolls at Xenos (also relatively new).
Kids and adults can still place their shoes at home on Sinterklaas Eve.
Kids and adults can even place their shoes at school, at work, on the street and in the bars (again, new).
People can still exchange gifts.
Children can still make surprises.
A good time can still be had by all.

The only thing that would change is the color of Piet’s face and hair.
And this is how you react?

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(Welcome to the Netherlands, where all cultures are accepted except our own.)

Have you all lost your mother-loving minds?

My original series on the whole Zwarte Piet issue starts here.

The Zwarte Piet Debacle From the Outside, Again

zwarte clownOkay, it’s the end of November and that means that Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) is arriving in the Netherlands, with his helpers, who have traditionally been all called Zwarte Piet (Black Pete). The Zwarte Pieten are traditionally white people with blackface. People of color in the Netherlands have gradually become vocal about not liking that and the Dutch reaction is incredibly embarrassing to me. Continue reading

Neither Racist Nor Responsible?

20160423_130914Okay, there’s no way I can keep up with everything that’s going on, so I’m just going to write about what I was going to write about.

In the wake of Charlottesville there’s been a lot of talk on social and main stream media about white privilege and white responsibility for blacks’ uphill battles in America. Many white people claim not to be racist, but they also don’t feel responsible for race problems that they were not directly involved in. Continue reading