“Combined Destinies: Whites Sharing Grief About Racism”

Posted April 1st, 2013 by
Category: Living consequences, Repair and reparations Tags: ,

Combined Destinies: Whites Sharing Grief About RacismThis post is about Combined Destinies: Whites Sharing Grief About Racism (2013), a new book we haven’t read yet at the Tracing Center, but which we learned about this weekend from author Sharon Morgan and which we’re eager to get our hands on.

(Sharon, for those who don’t know, is co-author, along with Tom DeWolf, of Gather at the Table: The Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade.)

Combined Destinies, edited by Ann Todd Jealous and Caroline Haskell, is an anthology exploring the impact of racism on the lives of white people. The authors, both psychotherapists with experience facilitating dialogue on race, seek to begin a conversation about the impact on white people of the racist ideology created by their ancestors, in order to advance anti-oppression work and to contribute to individual and societal healing.

The book’s chapters focus on issues such as guilt, shame, and silence in the lives of white Americans, and are written for a wide audience, including lay people as well as counselors and mental health professionals. The chapters include the words of white people telling their own stories, often for the very first time.

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Exploring “White in America”

Posted December 11th, 2012 by
Category: History, Living consequences, Race and Ethnicity Tags: , , , ,

Update: On Monday, December 17, our Katrina Browne will appear on “Huff Post Live” at 12:30 ET to discuss the topic of “White in America,” in a segment entitled “Is It Time To Ask What Being White Means?

This weekend, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien debuted the fifth installment of her provocative series, Black in America. This time, in “Who is Black in America?”, O’Brien explores the nuances of racial self-identification in the United States, as well as the pressures put on individuals by the ways others categorize them.

The episode raises such difficult questions as whether there is a separate bi-racial identity in this country, or whether those of mixed black and white ancestry may, or must, self-identify simply as “black.” (For more, see Cheryl Contee’s essay at Jack & Jill Politics.)

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Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life

Posted October 23rd, 2012 by
Category: Living consequences

RacecraftFelicia Furman is a guest contributor and the producer/director of Shared History, a documentary about historical and contemporary relationships between black and white families connected to a southern plantation.

I’m pleased to introduce the Tracing Center friends and family to a new book entitled Racecraft by my friend and associate Karen Fields and her sister, Columbia University Professor of History Barbara Fields. Karen was the primary academic scholar and “cheerleader” for the production of my film Shared History. During the making of the film, we “came to the table” and formed an enduring friendship forged by our determination to move forward the conversation about the impact of slavery and segregation on our society—and each other—today.

— Felicia Furman
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When, if ever, should white people use the N-word?

Posted October 3rd, 2012 by
Category: Living consequences Tags: ,

Hip-hop artist Head-Roc has written a provocative essay in the Huffington Post about the use of the N-word by white people, entitled, “When the N-word Strikes in Chocolate City.”

In the essay, Head-Roc writes about being at a party and meeting a white guest who casually referred to him with the N-word. Interestingly, Head-Roc doesn’t assume this white person is bigoted, or reflects a white subculture where such language is still considered appropriate in casual conversation. Instead, he sees something very different in his fellow party-goer:

He is the progressive white guy at the parties who thinks he is so down and in tune with every aspect of the black experience in America to the point where he thinks he can comfortably say and use the word “nigger” in a black person’s presence.

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“2012 Don’t Re-Nig”

Posted September 26th, 2012 by
Category: Living consequences Tags: ,

Jacob Philadelphia touching the president's hairLeonard Pitts has another inspiring column this week on our nation’s persistent racial intolerance, based, of all things, on an anti-Obama bumper sticker reading, “2012 Don’t Re-Nig.”

This story isn’t new, with variations of this bumper sticker having been reported in the spring. As usual, however, Pitts manages to take a depressing topic and infuse it with hope for the future, exposing profound bigotry while showing that this bigotry is, in fact, a reaction to powerful and irreversible change for the good.

(Click here to see an image of the bumper sticker.)

Pitts doesn’t pull his punches in discussing the raw bigotry represented by this political slogan. He notes with sensitivity that some white people are experiencing a sense of “racial and cultural dislocation” in the age of a black president. But he quickly adds that for some of “us” the issue isn’t the rapidly changing racial landscape, but “just the same old hate as always.”

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“Beyond Guns and God”: How the white working class views race in the U.S.

Posted September 21st, 2012 by
Category: Living consequences

Beyond Guns and GodThe non-partisan Public Religion Research Institute has just released a survey of white, working-class Americans which presents a fairly complicated, nuanced picture of this demographic, which comprises one-third (36%) of all Americans.

The survey, and the institute’s report, Beyond Guns and God: Understanding the Complexities of the White Working Class in America, refute a variety of stereotypes held by both the left and right of the white working class, which the researchers defined as white, non-Hispanic Americans without four-year college degrees and holding non-salaried jobs. The survey shows, for instance, that white, working-class Americans do not tend to align with the Tea Party, are not generally motivated by social issues like abortion or same-sex marriage, do not vote always against their economic interests, and do not support unrestricted free-market capitalism.

One area where the survey does seem to confirm stereotypes of the white working class, however, is on the subject of race.

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Racial inequality in life expectancy improving

Posted June 8th, 2012 by
Category: Living consequences Tags: , , , , ,

A report in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association concludes that the gap in life expectancy between black and white Americans has improved in recent years.

Racial inequality in health care and health outcomes is one of the most important, and persistent, legacies of our nation’s history of slavery and racial discrimination. On average, black citizens of the Unites States can expect to live several years less than their white counterparts.

However, the racial gap in life expectancy has been narrowing at a surprising rate in recent years. Between 1993 and 2003, the gap declined by about two years for men and one year for women. This new report shows that the gap continued to decline between 2003 and 2008, narrowing by about another year for both men and women.

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