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jerryking : identity_politics   31

Opinion | What Does It Mean to ‘Look Like Me’?
Sept. 21, 2019 | The New York Times | By Kwame Anthony Appiah. Mr. Appiah is a philosopher.

Minorities can find it gratifying to see people who resemble them on-screen. But resemblance is a tricky thing........It’s a formula that we turn to again and again to affirm the value of inclusion, especially in the realm of popular culture: the importance of people who “look like me.”......The “look like me” formula appeals because it feels so simple and literal. We can think of a black or Asian toddler who gets to play with dolls that share her racial characteristics, in an era when Barbie, blessedly, is no longer exclusively white. The emotions it speaks to are real, and urgent. And yet the celebratory formula is trailed by jangling paradoxes, like tin cans tied to a newlywed’s car.......For one thing, nobody means it literally. Asians don’t imagine that all Asians look alike; blacks don’t think all blacks look alike.....What the visual metaphor usually signifies, then, is a kinship of social identity. ....the complexities don’t end there. When it comes to representation, two cultural conversations are happening at the same time. One is about “speaking our truths” — about exploring in-group cultural commonalities......e.g. the cultural conversation put on by comedians whose jokes you “get” — the in-group references that resonate with you, that trigger a knowing “nailed it!” smile......That’s one way of “looking like me.”.......What films like Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther deliver is a way of “looking like me” that’s as much about aspiration as identification. We say that their characters look like us; maybe what we mean is that we wish to look like them.....What these fantasies ask is, Who gets to tell you what you look like? It’s not a representation of identity so much as it is a renegotiation of it.......How identity relates to identification is, of course, a complicated matter.........The truth is that our best stories and songs often gain potency by complicating our received notions of identity; they’re less a mirror than a canvas — and everyone has a brush. It takes nothing away from the thrill of feeling represented, then, to point out what the most ambitious forms of art and entertainment are always telling us: Don’t be so sure what you look like.
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How did children develop self-worth and an identity before movies and tv? People have to stop looking to mass and social media for self-esteem.
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The trouble is that racial and ethnic iconography, including color, eye shape, nose length etc . govern our responses to people the second we see them.
cultural_appropriation  cultural_conversations  culture  emotional_connections  identity_politics  inclusiveness  Kwame_Appiah  paradoxes  popular_culture  representation  self-identification  self-worth  visible_minorities  visual_cues 
september 2019 by jerryking
Kwame Anthony Appiah on race, nationalism and identity politics
Spetember 1, 2018 | | Financial Times | by Mark Vandevelde.

Kwame Anthony Appiah’s ‘The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity’ is published by Profile, £14.99.
books  identity_politics  Kwame_Appiah  nationalism  self-identification  race 
september 2018 by jerryking
The trouble with the Toronto high-school black list - The Globe and Mail
MARCUS GEE
PUBLISHED 15 HOURS AGO

Last year, the Toronto District School Board issued a report noting that the student body at specialty schools such as ESA tends to be whiter and more prosperous than the board average. Detecting bastions of entitlement, the authors of the report recommended shutting down the schools in the name of equity. That was an awful idea. Toronto’s specialty schools are gems. Parents revolted and the school board backed down. Specialty schools would stay. But a cloud continued to hang over ESA. Its principal, Peggy Aitchison, wanted to do everything she could to make sure the school was not “creating inequity.” So “with an objective of supporting success for all students, particularly those for whom we know as a group there are gaps,” she came up with a plan. She would give teachers a list of black students. It came to be called the “black list.”.....At institutions such as the Toronto board, which distinguished itself by banning the word “chief” from job titles to spare the feelings of Indigenous people, the air is simply full of talk about white privilege and systemic racism. The old ideal of colour blindness has gone right out the window. If you say that individuals should be judged by the content of their character not the colour of their skin, you simply don’t get it.

Here is the paradox of today’s Canada. Thanks to evolving attitudes and the critical work of crusaders for racial justice, prejudice is less prevalent that it has ever been. This country is approaching a moment that idealists have dreamed about for centuries − the moment when who you are matters more than how you look, how you pray or where you come from. Yet at this very moment, so full of promise, we find ourselves positively obsessed with racial identity.
high_schools  TDSB  race  elitism  political_correctness  identity_politics  Marcus_Gee  Toronto  arts  Etobicoke 
july 2018 by jerryking
The Dying Art of Disagreement
SEPT. 24, 2017 | The New York Times | Bret Stephens.

The title of my talk tonight is “The Dying Art of Disagreement.”.......But to say, I disagree; I refuse; you’re wrong; etiam si omnes — ego non — these are the words that define our individuality, give us our freedom, enjoin our tolerance, enlarge our perspectives, seize our attention, energize our progress, make our democracies real, and give hope and courage to oppressed people everywhere. Galileo and Darwin; Mandela, Havel, and Liu Xiaobo; Rosa Parks and Natan Sharansky — such are the ranks of those who disagree......The polarization is geographic.......The polarization is personal........Finally the polarization is electronic and digital, .......What we did was read books that raised serious questions about the human condition, and which invited us to attempt to ask serious questions of our own. Education, in this sense, wasn’t a “teaching” with any fixed lesson. It was an exercise in interrogation.

To listen and understand; to question and disagree; to treat no proposition as sacred and no objection as impious; to be willing to entertain unpopular ideas and cultivate the habits of an open mind ....uChicago showed us something else: that every great idea is really just a spectacular disagreement with some other great idea....to disagree well you must first understand well. You have to read deeply, listen carefully, watch closely. You need to grant your adversary moral respect; give him the intellectual benefit of doubt; have sympathy for his motives and participate empathically with his line of reasoning. And you need to allow for the possibility that you might yet be persuaded of what he has to say........there’s such a thing as private ownership in the public interest, and of fiduciary duties not only to shareholders but also to citizens. Journalism is not just any other business, like trucking or food services. .....But no country can have good government, or a healthy public square, without high-quality journalism — journalism that can distinguish a fact from a belief and again from an opinion; that understands that the purpose of opinion isn’t to depart from facts but to use them as a bridge to a larger idea called “truth”; and that appreciates that truth is a large enough destination that, like Manhattan, it can be reached by many bridges of radically different designs. In other words, journalism that is grounded in facts while abounding in disagreements.

I believe it is still possible — and all the more necessary — for journalism to perform these functions, especially as the other institutions that were meant to do so have fallen short. But that requires proprietors and publishers who understand that their role ought not to be to push a party line, or be a slave to Google hits and Facebook ads, or provide a titillating kind of news entertainment, or help out a president or prime minister who they favor or who’s in trouble.

Their role is to clarify the terms of debate by championing aggressive and objective news reporting, and improve the quality of debate with commentary that opens minds and challenges assumptions rather than merely confirming them.

This is journalism in defense of liberalism, not liberal in the left-wing American or right-wing Australian sense, but liberal in its belief that the individual is more than just an identity, and that free men and women do not need to be protected from discomfiting ideas and unpopular arguments. More than ever, they need to be exposed to them, so that we may revive the arts of disagreement that are the best foundation of intelligent democratic life.
assumptions  Bret_Stephens  civics  Colleges_&_Universities  courage  critical_thinking  dangerous_ideas  demagoguery  difficult_conversations  disagreements  discomforts  dissension  dual-consciousness  free_speech  good_governance  high-quality  identity_politics  journalism  liberalism  open_mind  polarization  the_human_condition  uChicago 
september 2017 by jerryking
What if Steve Bannon Is Right? - The New York Times
Timothy Egan AUG. 25, 2017

It turns out that racial resentment was the strongest predictor of whether a voter would flip from supporting a thoughtful, intelligent Democrat to a boorish, mentally unstable Republican. When you say Black Lives Matter, these white voters hear Kill a Cop. When you say diversity in the workplace, they hear special privileges for minorities at the expense of whites.

So, if you still wonder why Trump would give comfort to racists and Hitlerites, look at the reaction of his base this week. While the civilized world was appalled at his remarks after the hate parade in Charlottesville, Va., a majority of Republicans approved of Trump’s response. Approved.

It’s too easy to write all these people off as racists, for that’s exactly what Bannon is counting on. Yes, there’s a genuine hate-cohort in the Republican Party — neo-Nazis, or “clowns and losers,” in Bannon’s terms — of about 10 percent, which is horrifyingly high....... you can’t bang just one drum. Trump has said demonstrably racist things many a time, from his birther obsession to his taco bowl tweet. He still won, “on a straightforward platform of economic nationalism,” as Bannon noted.

“As long as Democrats fail to understand this, they will continue to lose,” he said.
Donald_Trump  economic_nationalism  Democrats  GOP  grievances  Timothy_Egan  Stephen_Bannon  racial_resentment  identity_politics 
august 2017 by jerryking
The country is frighteningly polarized. This is why.
June 15, 2017 | The Washington Post | By Fareed Zakaria Opinion.

in the past few decades, people began to define themselves politically less by traditional economic issues than by identity — gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation. I would add to this mix social class, something rarely spoken of in the United States but a powerful determinant of how we see ourselves. Last year’s election had a lot to do with social class, with non-college-educated rural voters reacting against a professional, urban elite.....Today, everything becomes fodder for partisanship....Zakaria criticizes America’s mostly liberal colleges for silencing views they deem offensive, arguing that it was bad for the students and the country. The same holds for conservatives who try to mount campaigns to defund art that they deem offensive.....Instead of trying to silence, excommunicate and punish, let’s look at the other side and try to listen, engage and, when we must, disagree.
political_polarization  Fareed_Zakaria  identity_politics  gender  race  ethnicity  sexual_orientation  partisanship  Julius_Caesar  social_classes 
june 2017 by jerryking
A Different Bargain on Race
MARCH 4, 2017 | The New York Times | Ross Douthat.

Instead, the demographic transformation of America has given us a Democratic Party more attuned to racial injustice or committed to ethnic patronage (depending on your point of view) than ever, and a Republican Party that has exploited white racism or ridden a white backlash against ethnic patronage (again, depending on your perspective) on its way to control of the House, the Senate and the White House.

At one end of this polarized political landscape, you have the liberal acclaim that greeted Ta-Nehisi Coates’s case for reparations, his argument that the debt owed by “the people who believe themselves to be white” to the descendants of African slaves is vast and essentially unpaid.

At the other end you have the fears of those white Trump voters who feel like the new liberalism offers affirmative action for everyone but them, allowing immigrants and minorities to “cut the line” (to borrow an image from Arlie Russell Hochschild’s recent study of working-class Republicans) and claim an American dream that they themselves can no longer reach.

These views are worlds apart, but it is actually possible to accept elements of both. It can be simultaneously true that slavery and Jim Crow robbed black Americans on a scale that still requires redress, and that offering redress through a haphazard system of minority preferences in hiring, contracting and higher education creates a new set of reasonable white grievances in its turn.
Ross_Douthat  race  race_relations  slavery  GOP  identity_politics  Democrats  reparations  affirmative_action  bargaining  one-time_events  the_American_dream 
march 2017 by jerryking
No Racial Barrier Left to Break (Except All of Them) - The New York Times
JAN. 14, 2017 | NYT | By KHALIL GIBRAN MUHAMMAD.

The future is no longer about “firsts.” It is instead about the content of the character of the institutions our new leaders will help us rebuild....The U.S. can’t create a more just nation simply by dressing up institutions in more shades of brown. Now there must be an effort to confront structural racism.....for African-Americans, Obama's travails are proof positive that MLK's contention that the content of one’s character would be the perfect antidote to racism is necessary but--by itself--insufficient to heal the gaping wounds of racial injustice in America.....in a post-assimilation America where there is no racial [occupational] barrier left to break, [African] Americans must turn to confronting structural racism and the values of our institutions....Obama's pedigree and character couldn’t protect/save him from the Tea Party revolution, Republican obstructionism, police brutality, voter suppression and Islamophobia.... individuals, no matter how singular, cannot bend the moral arc of the universe....In a post-assimilation America, recognize that institutions are far more powerful than individuals, no matter how many people of color can be counted in leadership. Structural racism is immune to identity politics....history matters. Black people in charge of, or embedded in, institutions that have not atoned for their history of racism can make it easier for those institutions to ignore or dismiss present-day claims of racial bias. That’s because the path to leadership has often meant accepting institutions as they are, not disrupting them.....people of color can inherit or perpetuate structures of inequality. Many institutions of government, finance and higher education were built on the backs of enslaved African-Americans and remain haunted by that history. Diversity and inclusion policies, therefore, should grow out of truth and reconciliation practices as well as strategic hiring plans. Intentional transformation, even reparations, one government agency, one company, one college at a time moves us past the denial and the empty promises....In post-assimilation America, people of color must continue to pursue leadership roles as the demographics of the nation inexorably change. But they must also reject their personal achievement as the core measure of progress and instead use history as a tool to measure systemic change.
Obama  legacies  institutions  farewells  history  obstructionism  GOP  Tea_Party  MLK  leaders  systemic_discrimination  systemic_racism  institutional_change  identity_politics  structural_change  African-Americans  Georgetown_University  assimilation  institutional_path_dependency 
january 2017 by jerryking
For Whites Sensing Decline, Donald Trump Unleashes Words of Resistance
JULY 13, 2016 | - The New York Times | By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE.

The resentment among whites feels both old and distinctly of this moment. It is shaped by the reality of demographic change, by a decade and a half of war in the Middle East, and by unease with the newly confident and confrontational activism of young blacks furious over police violence. It is mingled with patriotism, pride, fear and a sense that an America without them at its center is not really America anymore.

In the months since Mr. Trump began his campaign, the percentage of Americans who say race relations are worsening has increased, reaching nearly half in an April poll by CBS News. The sharpest rise was among Republicans: Sixty percent said race relations were getting worse.

And Mr. Trump’s rise is shifting the country’s racial discourse just as the millennial generation comes fully of age, more and more distant from the horrors of the Holocaust, or the government-sanctioned racism of Jim Crow.
Campaign_2016  Patrick_Buchanan  decline  deindustrialization  multiculturalism  globalization  race_relations  Donald_Trump  resentments  grievances  political_correctness  white_identity  identity_politics  bigotry  race_card  birthers  Colleges_&_Universities  whites  working_class  blue-collar  racial_resentment 
july 2016 by jerryking
We must never censor ourselves for fear of offending the faithful - The Globe and Mail
ELIZABETH RENZETTI
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Jan. 16 2015

The New York Times, along with the majority of North American newspapers, did not print the most inflammatory cartoons. The paper’s public editor, Margaret Sullivan, described a difficult decision made by executive editor Dean Baquet: “Ultimately he decided against it, he said, because he had to consider foremost the sensibilities of Times readers, especially its Muslim readers.”

But isn’t that defence not only self-serving, but insulting as well? Infantilizing, even. It assumes that all Muslim readers will react to the cartoons in the same way, as if they are incapable of filtering their opinions through any lens other than religion. A set of beliefs is just that; it is not a hive mind. The religious scholar Reza Aslan was all over television this week, repeating the idea that there is no one “Muslim world” – there are hundreds of millions of individuals who share some of the same beliefs. But not, by any means, all.

Self-censorship is a form of slow suicide for those of us in the news business, and a news outlet that tries to avoid giving offence will soon be printing one page a week
self-censorship  Charlie_Hebdo  hard_choices  identity_politics  religion  Elizabeth_Renzetti  free_speech 
january 2015 by jerryking
Seeking to define voters by their skin colour is sophistry - FT.com
April 27, 2014 7:25 pm
Seeking to define voters by their skin colour is sophistry
By Ken Olisa
United_Kingdom  identity_politics  Black_British  sophistry  African-Americans  politicians 
april 2014 by jerryking
Conservatives face new reality: Embrace immigrants and gays, or lose power - The Globe and Mail
Dec. 26 2012 | The Globe and Mail | DOUG SAUNDERS
Conservative analysts in many countries watched the Republican presidential candidate decisively lose last month, and were then horrified to learn that his party had largely disappeared from the electoral landscape because it had been abandoned by visible minorities, religious minorities, young women and well-off urbanites.

Then they examined their own voting base. Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democrats have lost elections in 18 of the 20 largest German cities during the past two years. Those four million Muslims had remained loyal to the Social Democrats and the Greens, whose co-leader, Cem Ozdemir, is from a Turkish family. Britain’s Prime Minister has expressed fear at the Conservatives’ image as “the nasty party,” and watched chunks of the younger, more urban electorate shift to Labour despite its weak leadership.

They realized something significant: A new generation of voters has come of age in most Western countries, and they simply don’t care about the old hot-button conservative warnings on minorities, gays and birth control. They’ve grown up with ethnic and sexual minorities around them and don’t have the taste for identity politics.
conservatism  Angela_Merkel  Doug_Saunders  Germany  identity_politics 
december 2012 by jerryking
Memo to Toronto school board: Are you nuts?
February 2, 2008 | G& M pg. A23 | Jeffrey Simpson.

Given the provincial election results, it is hard to fathom how the Toronto District School Board could be sanctioning "Afrocentric schools" that, although theoretically open to all, are clearly designed for black students only, or almost only. How could it be that having rejected an extension of religiously based schools just a few months ago, the province's largest city will now countenance the creation of racially based ones?

Of course, the board was pressured, as boards often are, by interest groups with a cause - in this case, the theory that inadequate educational achievement can be improved by changing the curriculum. That poor achievement - a 40 per cent dropout rate by black students - is supposed to be lowered if the curriculum is more Afrocentric, which will be quite a trick in mathematics, physics, biology, foreign languages, basic civics, and even the broad sweep of world and Canadian history.
The theory is largely unsound. The much more frequent explanations for poor student achievement, for blacks or any other group, have much less to do with curriculum than factors over which schools have little control: dysfunctional families, troubled neighbourhoods, few role models (absent fathers), poverty, gangs or, in a few immigrant communities, attitudes toward education (especially for females) that are not easily reconciled with mainstream Canadian ones.

All the discourse about inclusiveness, that usually forms a staple of trendy, leftish discourse, has been discarded by the Toronto board in favour of its opposite: membership based overwhelmingly on one characteristic of the human and educational experience - race. As such, it is at profound variance with an important goal of a "public" school system, and should therefore be rejected.
Jeffrey_Simpson  African_Canadians  TDSB  identity_politics  Afrocentric  education  schools  dropouts  public_schools  race  achievement_gaps  family_breakdown  dysfunction  fatherhood  out-of-wedlock 
august 2012 by jerryking
The Weekend Interview with Abigail Thernstrom: The Good News About Race in America - WSJ.com
May 18, 2012 | WSJ | By JASON L. RILEY.

Abigail Thernstrom: The Good News About Race in America
The 1965 Voting Rights Act has been a huge success. So why are black activists keen to press the discrimination button on issues like voter ID?
race  civil_rights  identity_politics  Jason_Riley 
may 2012 by jerryking
Freedom to be oneself
Oct 14, 2002 |The Globe and Mail. pg. A.12 | Editorials.

. In dismissing Mr. Powell's position as a reward for mere servility, Mr. Belafonte would deny him the most fundamental of freedoms: to seek and find one's own identity.

This is an insidious form of racism.

It is the flip side of the long-discredited statement, "he's a credit to his race" -- an insistence that each black person carries the burden of his people. White people do not carry such a burden. They are judged as individuals and their behaviour does not rebound on others. In Mr. Belafonte's worldview, black people must behave in a prescribed way (i.e. not join the Republican Party) or else they are, in essence, traitors to their people. That is a suffocating box for anyone.
ProQuest  Harry_Belafonte  Colin_Powell  editorials  identity_politics  slavery  plantations  worldviews 
november 2011 by jerryking
Is Group Identity Bad for Culture? - WSJ.com
DECEMBER 24, 2005 | WSJ | By TERRY TEACHOUT.
Not for Blacks Only. Why group identity is bad for culture (except when it's good)

That kind of pigeonholing is what the Oscar-winning star of such films as "Unforgiven" and "The Shawshank Redemption" must have had in mind when he complained about Black History Month in a recent "60 Minutes" interview. "You're going to relegate my history to a month?" he asked Mike Wallace. "I don't want a black history month. Black history is American history." The way to stamp out racism, he added, is to "stop talking about it. ... I am going to stop calling you a white man and I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man."

At a time when the angry irredentism of identity politics has blighted so much of America's cultural discourse, those are fighting words, defiant and inspiring. By speaking them in front of millions of TV viewers, Mr. Freeman stood up for his own individual excellence as an artist. But he also pointed to a different, equally important question: Is group identity -- race, gender, ethnicity, religion -- truly irrelevant to art? Or can it be used in a way that is not polarizing but "inclusive," in the best sense of that heavily freighted word?....Herein, I believe, lies the test of the utility of identity politics, cultural or otherwise. Is it inclusive or exclusive?
African-Americans  race  identity_politics  actors  pigeonholing  Terry_Teachout  Black_History_Month  Morgan_Freeman 
november 2011 by jerryking
Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? — By Touré — Book Review - NYTimes.com
Arem Duplessis
By ORLANDO PATTERSON
Published: September 22, 2011

One of his goals, Touré writes in “Who’s Afraid of Post-­Blackness? What
It Means to Be Black Now,” is “to attack and destroy the idea that
there is a correct or legitimate way of doing blackness.” Post-blackness
has no patience with “self-appointed identity cops” and their “cultural
bullying.” ...What this malleability means, ... is a liberating pursuit
of individuality...Post-black identity, we learn, resides in the need
to live with and transcend new and subtle but pervasive forms of racism:
“Post-black does not mean ‘post-racial.’
book_reviews  African-Americans  identity_politics 
september 2011 by jerryking
Jottings of an Embedded Tourist -
May 30, 2011 | Stabroek News | by Anil Persaud is Assistant
Professor in History at the Ambedkar University, Delhi, India. reviews
Rahul Bhattacharya’s debut novel, The Sly Company of People Who Care.
(FICTION BHA)
book_reviews  Guyanese  Indo-Guyanese  fiction  Guyana  race_relations  identity_politics  betrayals 
june 2011 by jerryking
Bret Stephens: What Ahmadinejad Knows - WSJ.com
SEPTEMBER 28, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By BRET STEPHENS.
What Ahmadinejad Knows
Iran's president appeals to 9/11 Truthers. What Ahmadinejad knows is
that there will always be a political place for what Michel Foucault
called "the sovereign enterprise of Unreason." This is an enterprise
whose domain encompasses the politics of identity, of religious zeal, of
race or class or national resentment, of victimization, of cheek and
self-assertion. It is the politics that uses conspiracy theory not just
because it sells, which it surely does, or because it manipulates and
controls, which it does also, but because it offends. It is politics as a
revolt against empiricism, logic, utility, pragmatism. It is the
proverbial rage against the machine.
Bret_Stephens  Ahmadinejad  conspiracies  anti-Americanism  empiricism  grievances  resentment  victimization  identity_politics 
september 2010 by jerryking
Guyana, New to Free Markets, Fears Loss of Identity to Brazil
March 30, 2000 |New York Times | By SIMON ROMERO . Guyana, New
to Free Markets, Fears Loss of Identity to Brazil. "There are about
10,000 Brazilians living in Guyana who chose to stay after their stint
in the mines has ended, the government says. In Dutch-speaking Suriname,
the number of Brazilians is estimated at 40,000, nearly 10 percent of
the population. "We run the risk of becoming a kind of adjunct to
Brazil," The Stabroek News, Guyana's leading paper, said in a recent
editorial. "If we are not to be swallowed up and lose our distinctive
identity, among other things, then we will have to devise policies and
strategies which will allow us to maintain an authentic independent
voice in the company of giants." "
Guyana  development  Brazil  indigenous  identity_politics 
july 2010 by jerryking

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