Category Archives: Race Relations

Content Of One’s Character; Major Fail

One of the beauties of writing most of one’s blog posts ahead of schedule is that when something really strikes you all you have to do is change the posting dates around so you can tackle something new. This one’s going to be kind of a rant post, so if you’re not up for that then wait until tomorrow.

Last week there was a post on the Problogger blog that kind of irked me a little bit. I don’t even remember the person’s name who wrote it, as it was a guest post, and frankly I’m not going to go back and look it up. However, the topic was 40 blogs to watch in 2011 or something like that.

The first comment the post got was wondering where all the people of color were. That comment didn’t get a lot of positive responses; actually it got none. Someone else alerted me to the post, and me being me, as someone who talks about diversity issues, I popped over to check things out. The list was nice enough, but from what I could see, there was one Asian lady and that was pretty much it. Someone wrote that one of the other people on the list was Indian; I couldn’t tell based on what I saw.

Frankly, I didn’t have a problem with the list itself. After all, everyone has the right to list whomever they want to list and follow whomever they want to follow. But some of the comments irked me greatly. So I decided to pop my own voice into the mix in support of the first person who commented, saying that there weren’t any black people on the list from the United States, and thus it wasn’t an overly inclusive list.

That didn’t go over well, which I still didn’t care about. One lady actually wrote that if she had tried to be inclusive that it would have been a racist post; what the heck? Inclusion is now racist? That comment didn’t sit well with me either, so I pretty much said that, along with some other stuff. Then some kid, and it had to be a kid, wrote a response to me that ended with “bitter old man”.

Well, there it was. I had a lot of responses that I thought about writing back, but I decided not to. After all, it was already proven that there wasn’t going to be any kind of discourse on the subject. It was going to be accusations back and forth; frankly, I don’t have to go somewhere else for that; I can get it right here, or on my business blog.

I really don’t talk about race all that often on this blog. According to my categories, I’ve only talked about it specifically 6 times in more than 900 (almost 950) posts. I didn’t even consider it as a category when a month ago I wrote a post on 8 Top Black Individual Blogs because in my mind it wasn’t as much about race as about acknowledging some folks that many others might not know all that well.

The truth is that there are a lot of black bloggers out there, a lot of Asian bloggers, a lot of… well, you get my drift, minority bloggers. The other truth is that when it comes to mainstream mentions of bloggers, black bloggers are almost never mentioned. Asian bloggers are; well, it’s nice to see that one group has broken through anyway.

Most people will usually find themselves gravitating towards others who share something with them. In general I’m a lot like everyone else; in general, that is. I don’t find myself hanging with a beer drinking, cussing, smoking dart throwing crowd that listens to country music. Actually, I don’t have a crowd. I have individual friends with whom I share some things with. Most of the time they don’t interact with each other; that’s somewhat strange in principle, but that’s how my life has always gone outside of sports when I was younger.

Overall, I’m about inclusion. I follow a lot of people with a lot of different background. I have lots of interests so I’m all over the place. Except for that one list of black bloggers, most of the time when I’ve listed folks there’s been a mix of some kind, not conscious, just because it is. Not always, but then again, if I’m writing about 5 people it’s probably a more finite list than writing about 40.

Goodness, even Chris Brogan, someone I’ve enjoyed reading over the past couple of months, had a post near the end of 2008 where he highlighted 17 bloggers to follow in a post of his (titled 8, but he mentioned 9 others) and not one of them was a person of color. Like I said, people can highlight who they want to highlight, but really, there’s not a place for anyone of color on any top lists? Do we really go back to what Al Campanis said about the dearth of black executives in baseball, back in 1987, which began with “It’s just that they may not have some of the necessities…”

Why am I talking about all of this stuff today? In the United States it’s the Martin Luther King, Jr holiday, and back in 1963, at a march on Washington D.C., in his famous ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, he stated these words: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Overall, we still haven’t reached this point. Sure, we have Barack Obama, we have athletes and musicians, and of course I thank y’all for checking me out from time to time. But we’re the anomalies; we’re not the norm. What’s the norm? I’m not really sure. I will say this, though. When I see more Mitchell Allen’s, more Kissie’s, more Vernessa’s, more Evelyn’s, more Beverly’s, more Johanna’s, more Rummuser’s, more Marelisa’s, and more Ching Ya’s, I’ll really think we’ve achieved at least a semblance of balance and inclusion.

Trust me, those aren’t the words of a bitter old man, just someone who’s asking to see more of what Dr. King was asking for, which he ended up giving his life for. Is it really too much to hope for?
 

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King Holiday #24

This is the 24th year that there’s been a holiday commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s only the 10th year that every state in the union has celebrated it, as South Carolina, obviously the bastion for racial diversity (sarcasm; after all, they still fly the confederate flag), held out until that year. Actually, most people don’t know this one, but the city of Hiroshima, Japan, also celebrates the King holiday, being the only city in the world outside of the United States that celebrates a U.S. holiday.

You know, Dr. King never wanted to be a civil rights leader. He just wanted to be a small country preacher. But he stepped up to the plate and did what people needed him to do. He was beaten, kicked, and thrown in jail. He had his house fire bombed. He was stabbed in New York City. He was followed by the FBI and put on Edgar J. Hoover’s hate list. He both feuded with then lauded by Malcolm X. He led marches, gave speeches, and inspired a heck of a lot of people to positive, non-violent actions that conquered Jim Crow and segregation. And he took a bullet for it while supporting a cause that had nothing to do with civil rights, but the overall rights of others.

The past few years I’ve posted a video and some sound files on the King holiday, either on this blog or my business blog. One of the things proven by my last post, where I had to go back and correct all these videos, is that those things can easily disappear, and suddenly the message is missing. Instead, I’m going to change up just a little bit. I want to quote a passage from a speech he gave on July 4th, 1965 at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA. If you’d like to read the entire thing, you can check it out here. Here’s the two portions I want to share; happy birthday Dr. King:

“Now ever since the founding fathers of our nation dreamed this dream in all of its magnificence—to use a big word that the psychiatrists use—America has been something of a schizophrenic personality, tragically divided against herself. On the one hand we have proudly professed the great principles of democracy, but on the other hand we have sadly practiced the very opposite of those principles.

But now more than ever before, America is challenged to realize its dream, for the shape of the world today does not permit our nation the luxury of an anemic democracy. And the price that America must pay for the continued oppression of the Negro and other minority groups is the price of its own destruction. For the hour is late. And the clock of destiny is ticking out. We must act now before it is too late.

And so it is marvelous and great that we do have a dream, that we have a nation with a dream; and to forever challenge us; to forever give us a sense of urgency; to forever stand in the midst of the “isness” of our terrible injustices; to remind us of the “oughtness” of our noble capacity for justice and love and brotherhood.”

and

“Are we really taking this thing seriously? “All men are created equal.” And that means that every man who lives in a slum today is just as significant as John D., Nelson, or any other Rockefeller. Every man who lives in the slum is just as significant as Henry Ford. All men are created equal, and they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, rights that can’t be separated from you. Go down and tell them, You may take my life, but you can’t take my right to life. You may take liberty from me, but you can’t take my right to liberty. You may take from me the desire, you may take from me the propensity to pursue happiness, but you can’t take from me my right to pursue happiness. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights and among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” (Yes, sir)”

Life Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

Price – $16.11








Subtle Tech Racism

I was reading a post by Adria Richards of But You’re A Girl on a topic called Is Google Voice Racist, and knew I had to comment on it. However, since she uses Disqus, and you know how I feel about Disque and blogs that use that kind of commenting system (I found another one called Intense Debate that’s like it that I don’t like either”, and I mentioned that I was clearing away iritations in 2010, I don’t want to comment there, so my comment will be here. By the way, you need to read some of the comments on her post also; quite telling, I might add.

Her gripe is that a girlfriend sent her a message and said “Hey Girlfriend”, but Google interpreted that as “Hey Negro.” Okay, what the heck is that about? She then posted a video that I’ve seen before, and commented on the post where I saw it, where HP has this new face recognition software that will have the camera follow you around, but, at least for many, it doesn’t work on black people. I mean, just because we’re tired of being followed around in stores doesn’t mean we don’t want software to work like it’s supposed to.

There’s always been things like this that pop up from time to time online and in software. Those of us who are offended find it either racist or bigoted. Those who aren’t say they don’t see it and wonder why we always say it’s racist or bigoted. Those who aren’t offended are never minority, by the way; that seems to figure when it comes to trying to identify racism or bigotry.

First off, I don’t see race everywhere, though some of my friends think I do. But I call things out whenever I need to. For instance, through this blog and my business blog I’ve called out people for many things. Back before the last presidential election I called people out for overt racism against Barack Obama and Muslims in a post called What, A Muslim Can’t Be President? I called out racism by the New York Post after they posted a cartoon equating President Obama to a monkey. I actually talked about the topic of what a racist is, because so many people throw the word around way too often. And I had to join Rachel Maddow in her smackdown of Pat Buchanan when he made a bunch of racist statements on her show earlier this year. I’ve even addressed it here, with my strangely named President Obama Calls Limbaugh A Racist post.

But these types of things just keep coming up over and over. There was one Microsoft software program where, if you typed in a certain thing asking about black people, a picture of a monkey came up. There was also a specific search term for Michelle Obama kept bringing up a picture of her with a monkey face. Even now there’s another Microsoft program running in Poland and another photography program. Sorry folks, but that’s racism no matter how you slice it.

Here’s my issue. There’s always going to be racism; I understand that. I don’t like it, but as long as there are people who look and act different and everything else isn’t equal. What I’d like is a little bit more accountability for when these things happen, then a little bit more support from people who may not be directly affected by it, but know something bad when they see it. Adria didn’t deserve to have the one guy say she was wrong and that’s just how software works; that was probably one of the more moronic things I’ve seen in a long time. It can’t always be minorities looking at something and saying it’s racist or bigoted or whatever; someone else has to step forward, in higher numbers than what happens now, and call those perpetrating this mess out on it.

And, by the way, not only racism. Add sexism, homophobia, and other intolerances to the list as well.

FIGHT RACISM

price – $2.99


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