Archive for July, 2006

Rationalizing the Irrational: Racism and the Fallacy of Personal Experience

To paraphrase a line from the movie “Forrest Gump”–which film I never liked much, actually–”E-mail is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” And here, I’m referring not so much to the bevy of ads for porn or weight loss remedies that seem to sneak through whatever spam filter I [...]

The Oprah Effect: Black Success, White Denial and the Reality of Racism

“What about Oprah?” So came the question from the middle of the crowded lecture hall, spat out from a contorted face whose owner had just sat through an hour-long talk, the substance of which I can only imagine he had found excruciating. Needing a bit more information before I could confidently respond, I replied the [...]

“Eracing” Katrina: Historical Revisionism and the Denial of the Obvious

Published on Civilrights.org, July 25, 2006 According to a poll taken late last year, the overwhelming majority of whites in the U.S. reject the idea that Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath tell us anything important about race in America (1). Blacks, not surprisingly, feel otherwise. Thus has emerged the latest manifestation of an intergenerational process: [...]

Little Man With a Gun in His Hand: An Open Letter to Sheriff Jack Strain, of St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana

Published on Black Commentator.com, July 13, 2006 Dear Sheriff Strain, I always liked Slidell, even before Lucinda Williams sang about going there to “look for (her) joy.” And my fond feelings for the town were rekindled recently when I discovered that Grayson Capps–with whom I went to Tulane in the late ’80s, and who’s quite [...]

Sins of Omission: Race, Media and the Perpetuation of Stereotypes

Published as a ZNet Daily Commentary, July 7, 2006 It seems as though whenever black folks do something wrong, everyone hears about it. If gang violence heats up in America’s inner cities, for example, you can bet it’ll be front-page news. Unacceptably high dropout rates? Yep, you can read all about it, and even hear [...]

Progress and the Eye of the Beholder: Reflections on Race, Class and Truth

Published on The Black Commentator.com, July 6, 2006 Two pieces in my local paper today served as clear reminders of the adage that there is more than one side to every story. So too, they confirmed the wisdom–however much maligned it may be by some–that truth is often contingent upon one’s perspective, rather than being [...]