Tag Archives: Race and Racism

“I am forced to conclude that your work is bad science”

Elizabeth Chin has written an excellent scholarly takedown, in the form of a “letter from your thesis reader,” of Jason Richwine’s 2009 Harvard PhD dissertation, ” IQ and Immigration.”

I’ve not read Richwine’s thesis, though I probably will at some point. And you probably haven’t either. But, you’ll still find Chin’s post informative and compelling.

It is here: What Jason Richwine Should Have Heard from his PhD Committee

While you are on the subject have a look at this: Harvard Students Demand Investigation Into Jason Richwine’s Thesis On Hispanic IQ

Hat tip: Jennifer Raff.

Congressman Dan Young of Alaska on Mexicans and Mexican-Americans

This is why we can’t have nice things, like immigration reform.


Amid a hot-button debate in Washington over how to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws, Rep. Don Young, a 21-term lawmaker, referred to immigrant workers as “wetbacks” โ€” a term that could threaten to inflame the debate about immigration reform.

“My father had a ranch; we used to have 50-60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes,” Young said in an interview with radio station KRBD. He was discussing the number of jobs that have been made irrelevant due to advances in automation.

Young is one of the top Republicans in the House. He offered a rather lame apology which seemed to indicate that “wetback” is just a term we used to use and he forgot to stop using it. I hope we were not hanging our hopes on the Republicans to do anything reasonable about immigration related issues.

Please, let us not be inured to this sort of issue. A very senior elected official in the Federal Government just used, casually, the Mexican version of the N-word in an interview about policy. This is more important than March Madness, people. Or at least, we should be more mad about it than we seem to be. I’ve yet to hear mention of censure, but that is the obvious next step.

Your opinion requested on internet shenanigans

You probably already know that when Obama won the presidency a large number of people, many teenagers, tweeted racist comments about that. Funny story: I found out about the use of the n-word in relation to the re-elected President in one person’s tweet, so I figured I’d investigate. I went to twitter and entered the appropriate search terms, and found a bunch of hateful hideous tweets, as expected. About 20 down I found my friend Debbie Goddard. She had done the same search and tweeted about it. Sort of like hearing a bad noise in the yard and when you go out there to check it out you find your neighbor also checking it out.

Anyway, it turns out that Jezebel identified several high school students thusly tweeting and turned them into their high schools. Subsequent to this, The Young Turks did a piece on Jezebel’s action. The conversation among the Turks is interesting and reflects a lot of my own uncertainty about this situation. Below is TYS’s piece, please have a look and tell me what you think:

Human Subspecies and Race

This is something that started last midweek, but that travels, a cold, and intermittent internet connectivity conspired to distract me from until now. Jerry Coyne was writing about human “race” and in so doing may have made a number of statements that some people disagreed with, and one of those people contacted me and asked my opinion, which I gave, etc. etc. etc. And, of course, the whole conversation got blogged HERE. The conversation in the comments is also very interesting. Go have a look.

Among Cannibals

I have lived among Cannibals, according to a lot of people who claim to know. The number of times that the “tribal” people of the Congo have been called cannibals is too great to be counted, most notably in great literature like The Heart of Darkness but most commonly, I suspect, from the pulpit or soap box by those raising money to spread this or that word. Most Europeans and Americans don’t know it, but many people who live in the Congo are quite convinced that the bazunga … the white foreigners … are cannibals. I’ve listened closely these assertions, made by many individuals, and I’ve lived in both places for considerable time and I can say something about these claims.

They have a case.
Continue reading Among Cannibals

“Home Stoned in Race Row”

At about this time in 1931, a black family moved into an all white neighborhood. The resident whites tried to stop it from the beginning, even offering to buy the house at a price over that paid by Army vet Arthur Lee and Edith Lee. When these early efforts failed, the denizens of the segregated neighborhood found the solution that what was most obvious to them: Thousands of them surrounded the home, screamed racial slurs and threw stones at the house and family until they finally moved out.

Except that last part didn’t happen. Arthur and Edith stayed, and the racist citizens of this southern city lost their battle.
Continue reading “Home Stoned in Race Row”

Minneapolis Tornado Update: Info, Sad News, and the Politics of Race

Two pieces of sad news, some useful information, and a personal note (well, more of a political note).

First, the useful information. For those of you affected or busy passing information to those who are, the City of Minneapolis has set up this web page with information: Resources available for North Side residents affected by tornado

Sad item one: There has been a second death, related to the cleanup. Details.

Sad item two: After passing through one of the more urban areas of Minnesota, the north side of the City of Minneapolis, the tornado crossed the Mississippi River, which includes a fair amount of rather wild country. And there, within the boundaries of the city but along the river, it struck and destroyed the local Great Blue Heron rookery. Details of this event are provided by BirdChick who is also the conservation officer who discovered the damage. Read: Minneapolis Heron Rookery Destroyed By Tornado

Finally, I just want to extend my good thoughts and kudos to Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak. Here’s what you need to know: If you don’t live in North, but you live in the Twin Cities, then you know of North as a dangerous slum, a blighted African American neighborhood where there are frequent shootings, arsons, kidnapping, and where the police gather in clusters wearing bullet proof vests and carrying big-ass firearms, just in case. Most of these stereotypes are held and passed around by people who’s families fled North a generation ago, to the newly minted suburbs, or who have never been there, mainly out of fear.

Well, North does include a good proportion of the African American population of the city, and it also does include something close to half of the crime that happens in the city, and it is where you will, in fact, find a good number of any sort of events commonly noted on the local evening news happening. But that is because it is, well, about half of the city. North Minneapolis is quite large, and North does not include any of the la-la-shi-shi upper middle class and wealthy neighborhoods (which are in South) and it does not include the University Campus (which is in South and Southeast) and it does not include downtown (which is neither North nor South, by our local nomenclature), so North defaults, statistically, to something close to the average. It is actually a diverse area with all sorts of people living in it (not that tornado victims have to be “diverse” to be our sisters and brothers in need). Despite the obnoxious remarks made by local readers on the WCCO news reporting web pages about the tornado, in which people actually referred to the tornado as appropriate Karma for those living on the dole in Section Eight Housing, I’d wager that the majority of homes destroyed or damaged in this event were working class owner-occupied. And, I quickly add, do we really want to throw people who rent under the bus in a society in which people who own have almost single handedly destroyed our housing market with unchecked greed married to unmitigated ignorance? I don’t think so.

The other night the local new station, especially Fox 9 but to some extent the others as well, breathlessly reported widespread looting in North Minneapolis. They showed the owner of a liquor store saying “well, you know how it goes … unprotected property, and this is what they will do” wink wink nod nod. They showed clusters of Minneapolis police standing around with big scary looking long-guns and other weapons, donning their bullet proof vests, and looking tough.

In response to this, the mayor came out and made it clear that there was NOT widespread looting in the city. There were a couple of incidents. They were managed. What really happened was this: Everybody in the affected area took a look around them and immediately tried to do what they could do to help their neighbors. Yes, the news mentioned that as well, but they sullied the sense of community with their sensationalist reporting of non-events. And RT had the balls to set them straight. Thanks for that, RT.