Warriors Don't Cry: The Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High by Melba Pattillo Beals: What Melba endured as a high school junior integrating Central High in 1957 can only be described as open warfare on African-Americans. The internal strength she exhibited, to get up and go to school every day, is something I can't even imagine. I didn't enjoy reading about this shameful time in US history, but I'm very glad I read the book. It should be required reading in every high school in America, because we clearly have not evolved past this as a society yet.
Razorblade Tears is set in rural southwest Virginia, the same as Cosby's previous book, the universally acclaimed Blacktop Wasteland. The story mines some of the same territory too, as our protagonist is a black ex-con who has turned his life around and is now a responsible family man, although he is estranged from his gay son who is happily married with a small child in Richmond. [more inside]
When the 57 residents of Arizona border town Sangre de Cristo are massacred in a single night in 2011, the sole survivor, a Mexican immigrant, is quickly arrested, charged, and convicted of single-handedly murdering all of them. In 2015, a documentary examines the case and raises questions: Why doesn't the evidence seem to implicate him? Why were people so eager to blame him, no matter how implausibly? And do the horrors captured on the roll of film he shot that night provide a more plausible explanation for the killings? [more inside]
IN AMERICA, DEMONS WEAR WHITE HOODS. In 1915, The Birth of a Nation cast a spell across America, swelling the Klan's ranks and drinking deep from the darkest thoughts of white folk. All across the nation they ride, spreading fear and violence among the vulnerable. They plan to bring Hell to Earth. But even Ku Kluxes can die. [more inside]
(The African Doctor) The story of Seyolo Zantoko, who as a freshly graduated doctor of Congolese descent in France, struggled with his family to integrate in a small rural village, and ended up being considered as one of the most respected doctors in the area. [more inside]
Black Buck is a how-to manual for succeeding in sales, wrapped up in a brutal satire of start up tech culture, with a heavy dose of racial commentary disguised as satire. I say disguised because a lot of what our young sales star Darren experiences in the book seems completely absurd to me. But I’m a white dude. I expect most black people would just be nodding their heads thinking, yep, been there done that. I can't imagine this not being in my top 5 book list at the end of the year.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Housing Discrimination Season 8, Ep 18
This week: another show from the void, but maybe not for much longer! The Tokyo Olympics proceed despite a spike in COVID cases, and the UK prepares to lift nearly all restrictions despite an uptick in cases over there. And Now: People On TV Mean "Fucking" (Olympics Edition). Main story (32 minutes): Housing Discrimination, its legacy in the US, how its effects are felt today, and what can be done to rectify it. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Asian Americans Season 8, Ep 14
Another week in the void. We hear about two right-wing leaders and their failed COVID responses, that of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, who let an offer by Pfizer of 70 million vaccine doses pass without response. And Now: People On TV Lose Their Shit Over The Phrase “Hot Vax Summer.” Main Story: The experiences of Asian Americans, often held up as a “model minority” by people who would like other minorities to see their problems as their own fault, when, to no surprise, the true story is a lot more complicated than tends to be recognized. [more inside]
Them: Season 1 Season 1, Ep 0
In the first season of Little Marvin's new Amazon horror anthology show Them, which follows 10 days in the lives of a Black family moving to Compton in 1953 during the course of the Great Migration, the horror arises as much from the racism endured by our protagonists as from the spooky occurrences happening in their new house. [more inside]
Chapter 2, "Glass Office": Years later, in 2018, a new wave of people of color arrives at Bon Appétit. And when their white bosses don't understand the problems they're facing, those people will decide to fix the place themselves. [more inside]
In the summer of 2020, Bon Appétit faced an online reckoning. It imploded, seemingly overnight, former employees calling it a racist and toxic workplace. But the story of what actually happened there started ten years earlier. This is Chapter One, "Original Sin," of our series The Test Kitchen. This is chapter one of a four part series reported and presented by Sruthi Pinnamaneni. [more inside]
"I am not arguing that every white man is mediocre. I do not believe that nay race or gender is predisposed to mediocrity. What I'm saying is that white male mediocrity is a baseline, the dominant narrative, and that everything in our society is centered around preserving white male power regardless of white male skill or talent."
Hari's visit to Stonehenge on the solstice prompts an investigation into the gray zone between being a native and a migrant, and his memories of growing up in Essex during the Thatcher years. He also tracks down an old friend, whose work with Harvard geneticist David Reich overturns centuries of nationalist thinking. Official site: Into The Zone [more inside]
In her new book, novelist Alyssa Cole moves away from romance to thriller. Set in a close-knit neighborhood in Brooklyn, the book follows Sydney as Green as she learns more about her old neighborhood and her new neighbors.
"There are a few things that are widely known about the work of HP Lovecraft – his viscous, tentacular monsters; his fondness for words such as “eldritch” and “gibbous”; and his racism. Matt Ruff’s new book is therefore a kind of exorcism. It pits a predominantly black cast of characters against “America’s demons”, though the Shoggoth in the woods is not nearly as dangerous as the systemic and ubiquitous racism they encounter. Is it scarier if the sheet-clad thing holding a burning torch is a genuine ghost, or just your average member of the Ku Klux Klan?" (From Stuart Kelly's review for The Guardian.)
Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU Rewatch Season 3, Ep 23
Rewatch! Megalomaniacal, stereotypical Fu Manchu, played as an inscrutable pillar of evil by Christopher Lee, schemes to freeze the world's oceans, because that's the kind of thing a powerful Chinese person does in a movie adapted from a Sax Rohmer book. This is not one of the best episodes, to be blunt: the movie drags like a lead weight. Good luck everyone. Previously
Mike tells Sarah how a silly sports promotion galvanized a reactionary movement. Digressions include "Charlotte's Web," Jane Fonda and German-language musicals. Songs are dissected; the honor of David Bowie and late-night salad bars are defended. [more inside]
Ibram X. Kendi writes part a distillation of the thesis from his 2016 Stamped from the Beginning previously and part personal memoir of his own journey through racist ideas to an antiracist perspective. [more inside]
AOA is a medical honors society that's supposed to separate top-tier medical students from the rest of the pack. It helps determine which doctors get the top jobs in the most competitive fields. The problem? There's implicit racism in the way it chooses members, and fixing it may be a massive challenge.
An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation's history of racial inequality. [more inside]
Podcast: Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine: Sawbones: Medical Racism and Protest Safety
This week on Sawbones, we examine how Black Americans have received substandard care and fewer opportunities within the American medical system. Also, some guidance on how to protest as safely as possible in the face of COVID-19.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: JUNGLE GODDESS Rewatch Season 2, Ep 3
Rewatch! On Sunday: Some white guys search Africa for a lost heiress, who it turns out reigns over a native tribe as their goddess, apparently only because she's white. Get ready for the kinds of stereotypes that make making fun of the movie seem almost a duty. Previously [more inside]
When Bronwen Dickey brought her new dog home, she saw no traces of the infamous viciousness in her affectionate pit bull. Which made her wonder: How had the breed—beloved by Teddy Roosevelt and Helen Keller—come to be known as a brutal fighter? Dickey’s search for answers takes her from nineteenth-century New York dogfighting pits to early twentieth‑century movie sets, from the battlefields of Gettysburg to struggling urban neighborhoods. In this illuminating story of how a popular breed became demonized--and what role humans have played in the transformation--Dickey offers us an insightful view of Americans' relationship with their dogs.
A deeply personal novel about race, pop culture, and escaping the roles we are forced to play—by the author of the infinitely inventive How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe. Willis Wu doesn’t perceive himself as a protagonist even in his own life: He’s merely Generic Asian man. Sometimes he gets to be Background Oriental Making a Weird Face or even Disgraced Son, but he is always relegated to a prop. Yet every day he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden... [more inside]
In 1784, passengers on the ship Empress of China became the first Americans to land in China, and the first to eat Chinese food. Today there are over 40,000 Chinese restaurants across the United States. Now, in Chop Suey Andrew Coe provides some history of the American infatuation with Chinese food, telling its fascinating story for the first time. It's a tale that moves from curiosity to disgust and then desire. From China, Coe's story travels to the American West, where Chinese immigrants drawn by the 1848 Gold Rush struggled against racism and culinary prejudice but still established restaurants and farms and imported an array of Asian ingredients. He traces the Chinese migration to the East Coast, highlighting that crucial moment when New York "Bohemians" discovered Chinese cuisine--and for better or worse, chop suey. Along the way, Coe shows how the peasant food of an obscure part of China came to dominate Chinese-American restaurants; unravels the truth of chop suey's origins; reveals why American Jews fell in love with egg rolls and chow mein; shows how President Nixon's 1972 trip to China opened our palates to a new range of cuisine; and explains why we still can't get dishes like those served in Beijing or Shanghai. The book also explores how American tastes have been shaped by our relationship with the outside world, and how we've relentlessly changed foreign foods to adapt to them our own deep-down conservative culinary preferences. Andrew Coe's Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States is a fascinating tour of America's centuries-long appetite for Chinese food. Always illuminating, often exploding long-held culinary myths, this book opens a new window into defining what is American cuisine.
The powerful true story of Harvard-educated lawyer Bryan Stevenson, who goes to Alabama to defend the disenfranchised and wrongly condemned, including Walter McMillian, a man sentenced to death despite evidence proving his innocence. Bryan fights tirelessly for Walter with the system stacked against them. [more inside]
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A big sweeping novel of friendship and marriage” (The Washington Post) by the celebrated author of The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini Leopold Bloom King has been raised in a family shattered—and shadowed—by tragedy. Lonely and adrift, he searches for something to sustain him and finds it among a tightly knit group of outsiders. Surviving marriages happy and troubled, unrequited loves and unspoken longings, hard-won successes and devastating breakdowns,... [more inside]
"White people in North America live in a social environment that protects and insulates them from race-based stress. This insulated environment of racial protection builds white expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering the ability to tolerate racial stress. Although white racial insulation is somewhat mediated by social class (with poor and working class urban whites being generally less racially insulated than suburban or rural whites), the larger social environment insulates and protects whites as a group through institutions, cultural representations, media, school textbooks, movies, advertising, and dominant discourses. Racial stress results from an interruption to what is racially familiar. In turn, whites are often at a loss for how to respond in constructive ways., as we have not had to build the cognitive or affective skills or develop the stamina that that would allow for constructive engagement across racial divides. leading to what I refer to as White Fragility. White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium. This book explicates the dynamics of White Fragility and how we might build our capacity in the on-going work towards racial justice." [more inside]
BoJack Horseman: The Kidney Stays in the Picture Season 6, Ep 6
The assistants of Hollywoo go on strike. BoJack tries to help Doctor Champ. When Todd learns that his mother needs a kidney, Diane comes up with a plan. "Howdy, howdy! Welcome to Mike and Morgan's House of Organs! We handle all your matters, from keyboards to bladders."
In 1987 Luton, in Thatcher's Britain, confronted by National Front racists on the streets and a stressed, angry father at home, a British Asian teenager learns to live his own life, get a new perspective on his Pakistani immigrant family, and find his own voice through the music of Bruce Springsteen. Directed and co-written by Gurinder Chadha (known for Bend It Like Beckham), with music by legendary Indian composer and film score creator A.R. Rahman. Inspired by a true story. [more inside]
In this New York Times bestseller, Ijeoma Oluo offers a hard-hitting but user-friendly examination of race in America Widespread reporting on aspects of white supremacy--from police brutality to the mass incarceration of African Americans--have made it impossible to ignore the issue of race. Still, it is a difficult subject to talk about. How do you tell your roommate her jokes are racist? Why did your sister-in-law take umbrage when you asked to touch her hair--and how do you make it right? How... [more inside]
Warrior: If You're Going to Bow, Bow Low Season 1, Ep 10
Ah Sahm rethinks his place in San Francisco; Big Bill waits for Lee; Zing and the Fung Hai debate positions with Mai Ling; Dylan Leary brings some friends to negotiate with Bryon Mercer, while Penny has a look at his books. [Season Finale] [more inside]
Warrior: They Don't Pay Us Enough to Think Season 1, Ep 8
The Hop Wei and Long Zii consider a novel way to end hostilities. Ah Toy and her real-estate business partner, Leonard Patterson, find a new obstacle to their latest land purchase. After promising jobs to Leary's Irish workers, Mercer toasts Crestwood at a fundraiser, while Penny struggles to hold her tongue. Mai Ling warns her brother against waging a battle he may not win. [more inside]
The classic, bestselling book on the psychology of racism -- now fully revised and updated Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see Black, White, and Latino youth clustered in their own groups. Is this self-segregation a problem to address or a coping strategy? Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential if we are serious about enabling communication across racial and ethnic divides....
American Gods: The Ways of the Dead Books Included Season 2, Ep 5
While Shadow tours Cairo and gets a lesson on its history, Laura and Sweeney meet with Baron Samedi and Maman Brigitte and make a deal. Wednesday takes The Djinn and Salim to meet with Alviss, the King of Dwarves. [Books included] [more inside]
American Gods: The Ways of the Dead Show Only Season 2, Ep 5
While Shadow tours Cairo and gets a lesson on its history, Laura and Sweeney meet with Baron Samedi and Maman Brigitte and make a deal. Wednesday takes The Djinn and Salim to meet with Alviss, the King of Dwarves. [Show only] [more inside]
The veteran Wall Street Journal science reporter Marilyn Chase’s fascinating account of an outbreak of bubonic plague in late Victorian San Francisco is a real-life thriller that resonates in today’s headlines. The Barbary Plague transports us to the Gold Rush boomtown in 1900, at the end of the city’s Gilded Age. With a deep understanding of the effects on public health of politics, race, and geography, Chase shows how one city triumphed over perhaps the most frightening and deadly of all scourges. [more inside]
ShortsTV presents a theatrical release of the five Oscar nominees for Best Documentary, Short Subject [more inside]
ShortsTV presents a theatrical release of the five Oscar nominees for Best Short Film, Live Action [more inside]
Where is Cleo? Taken by child welfare workers in the 1970’s and adopted in the U.S., the young Cree girl’s family believes she was raped and murdered while hitchhiking back home to Saskatchewan. CBC news investigative reporter Connie Walker joins the search to find out what really happened to Cleo. [more inside]
The highest homicide and hates crime rate in the country. A mayor charged with extortion. A police chief who faced trial for obstruction of justice. Nine tragic deaths of Indigenous high schoolers. Why does it all happen here? [more inside]
A bunch of teenagers go missing from a town in Long Island. For months, the police treat them as runaways, ignoring the kids' parents, who keep trying to tell them otherwise. They keep trying to tell them that something much worse might have happened. [more inside]
Dark satire in which the token black man on the executive board of an advertising firm is accidentally put in charge. Renaming the business "Truth and Soul, Inc.", he replaces the tight regime of monied white ad men with his militant brothers. Soon afterwards, however, the power that comes with its position takes its toll on Putney... [more inside]
Robert Gould Shaw leads the U.S. Civil War's first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices from both his own Union Army, and the Confederates. [more inside]
Comedian Hari Kondabolu confronts his cartoon nemesis, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the Indian convenience store owner from The Simpsons (1989). [more inside]
Atlanta: Money Bag Shawty Season 2, Ep 3
Earn is out here making that money. Too bad he still look broke as hell. This whole city runs on stunting, you feel me? [Official synopsis] / Along with earning social media attention, Paper Boi's newest single goes Gold, so Earn decides to take Van out for a night on the town to celebrate. Meanwhile, Alfred and Darius visit Clark County in the studio to record guest verses. [Clipped from Wikipedia summary] [more inside]
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee: March 7, 2018 Season 3, Ep 2
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Nuclear Waste Season 4, Ep 22
It's a little late, but here's LWT from 8/21:
- Steve Bannon loses his (official) position as Chief Strategist in Trump's White House, but the White Nationalist In Chief remains, and made more horrible remarks about the protests in Charlottesville. Two business councils advising the White House disbanded following the news as CEOs abandoned the President.
- And Now: Local News Answers The Question: "Should You Stare At The Sun?"
- Main story: Nuclear waste, and the United States' long-standing problems in properly disposing of it. YouTube (18m)
- And Now: Some Of The Actual Responses From Potential Jurors Excused From The Martin Shkreli Trial (see inside for a list)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: North Korea Season 4, Ep 21
- Violence in Charlottesville, where a Neo-Nazi drove a car into a group of counter protesters, killing one and injuring several others, after which Donald Trump refuses to admit that Nazis are bad. Oliver: "David Duke and the Nazis really seem to like Donald Trump, which is weird because Nazis are a lot like cats. If they like you, it's probably because you're feeding them."
- AND NOW: HIGHLIGHTS FROM ROBOCUP 2017, first without, and then vastly improved by Univision Deportes Commentator Luis Omar Tapia.
- Main Story: North Korea, the most dangerous rogue nation in the world, and its leader Kim Jong Un, whom Donald Trump seems to be personally insulted by, resulting in a dangerous exchange a couple of weeks ago between the two thin-skinned madmen. Last Week Tonight put together a helpful package of information on the country, revealing such facts that the accordion is the country's national instrument, and that video of US television programming, most notably NCIS, is smuggled into North Korea on USB drives. At the end LWT presents a special number by "Weird Al" Yankovich asking North Korea not to nuke us. YouTube (27m) - Metafilter
When it comes to America’s racial sins, past and present, a lot of us see people in one region of the country as guiltier than the rest. John Biewen speaks with some white Southern friends (Allan Gurganus, Shannon Sullivan, and Timothy Tyson) about that tendency. (This is part six of the “Seeing Whiteness” series, with recurring guest Chenjerai Kumanyika showing up at the end to help keep John honest.)
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