Archive for 2003

Content of Whose Character?: Race, College Admissions and the Myth of Merit

Published as a ZNet Commentary One thing can be said for conservatives: they are nothing if not unoriginal. This truism was driven home yet again recently when I found myself in a debate over affirmative action with such a person, who insisted that folks like me, by virtue of our support for the concept, had […]

It’s the Racism, Stupid: Bias, Not Affirmative Action Stigmatizes People of Color

Published as a ZNet Commentary, 12/07/03 Sometimes an argument gets made with such regularity that no matter how silly, it nonetheless requires an answer. Indeed the more often it gets made, the more often it calls for rebuttal, since its repetition indicates someone just isn’t getting it. Such is the case with the oft-repeated claim, […]

Denial, Evasion Won’t Solve Racism

Published in the Lexington Herald-Leader, November 10, 2003 Although I’m not psychic, I know what many readers are thinking right now. “Oh no, here we go again, someone else complaining about racism. Why do we have to talk about this? Isn’t it time we moved on?” Well, no actually. No matter how uncomfortable the topic, […]

Persecuting the Truth: Claims of Christian Victimization Ring Hollow

Published on, 11/08/03 David Limbaugh, brother of Rush, has been making the rounds lately, promoting his new book, Persecution: How Liberals are Waging War Against Christianity. Therein, Limbaugh claims that the left, broadly defined, is doing everything possible to eliminate all mention of the nation’s majority faith from the public square. Limbaugh digs up […]

Anywhere but Here: Examining the Crimes of Thee, but Not of Me

Published as a ZNet Commentary, 11/08/03 Imagine that in Germany, public officials and teachers decided to develop a school curriculum about the horrors of racism and intolerance. Now imagine that this curriculum never mentioned the Holocaust of European Jewry, or Germany’s persecution of homosexuals, Romany, persons with disabilities, or any of the other groups singled […]

Ghettos are Not a Game (Part Three): Examining the Consequences of Racial Stereotypes

Published in the Black Commentator,, Issue 63, 11/06/03 It’s just a game. Thus speaks David Chang, creator of GHETTOPOLY, which uses the traditional MONOPOLY board game formula to steer players through life in an inner-city community: or at least what Chang presumes such a place looks like. Though he has never spent time in […]

Ghettos are Not a Game (Part Two): Racism and the Perpetuation of the Urban Poor

Published in the Black Commentator,, Issue 61, 10/23/03 In a recent column, I discussed with a healthy amount of disdain the marketing of a board game called GHETTOPOLY, in which players maneuver through the traps and snares of an inner-city community, replete with every stereotype in the book about such places: filled with criminals, […]

Ghettos are Not a Game (Part One): Making Money off the Misery of Others

Published in the Black Commentator,, Issue 59, 10/9/03 Some things just aren’t funny, and some ways of making money are pathetic. Both of these truisms apply to the entrepreneurial “humor” of David Chang, a 28-year old Pennsylvanian who apparently gets his kicks making fun of poor folks in urban America in order to make […]

Standards Without Substance: Resisting Minimum Test Scores for College Admission

In the wake of declining enrollment, University of Tennessee Chancellor, Loren Crabtree, has suggested abandoning an idea floated by the school’s former President, which, if implemented would require applicants to receive an ACT score of at least 26 (out of 36) in order to gain admission. While rethinking such a score cutoff makes sense, the […]

Collateral Damage: Poor Whites and the Unintended Consequences of Racial Privilege

Published as a ZNet Commentary, 10/05/03 A few years ago, a young woman who was an anti-poverty organizer in rural Kentucky asked me how she could infuse her work with an anti-racist analysis. She knew there was a need to address the link between institutional racism and white privilege on the one hand, and economic […]