racism

Strange Fruit
2:20 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Strange Fruit: Donald Sterling and Racism in the NBA

Credit Meg Caudill

Donald Sterling's racism and punishment were all anyone was talking about last week - so we did too! And to supplement our, shall we say, spotty familiarity with athletic endeavors, we enlisted the help of friend-to-the-show Brian Lee West.

Brian has spoken to us before about his theater work, but this time he joined us in his capacity as our favorite basketball superfan.

In case you were under a rock (or completely overwhelmed by a little horse race), here's what happened: Donald Sterling, owner of the L.A. Clippers, was recorded telling his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, not to post pictures of herself with black people on social media, and not to bring black people to his games. Not only is this obviously racist, it's also pretty irrational; Donald Sterling's girlfriend is half African American, half Latina, and the overwhelming majority of NBA players are black. Including all but two of the players on his own team's roster. And their coach.

Read more
Strange Fruit
1:35 pm
Sat November 16, 2013

Strange Fruit: 'Eenie Meanie' Examines Baby Boomer Racism & Louisville Busing Riots

"These buses came back from the West End with these little kids on them, and they were crying, there were windows knocked out. They had been beaten with baseball bats, they had been called every horrible racial name you can expect, right here in this town."
 

Read more
Strange Fruit
1:23 pm
Sat August 17, 2013

Strange Fruit: Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney

Credit Playbill

  Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney has been called the next August Wilson. Maybe that can be partially attributed to the fact that there are so few prominent African American playwrights, but there's still no doubt he is carrying an important mantle. 

Read more
Strange Fruit
11:36 am
Sat April 27, 2013

Strange Fruit: Who Counts as a Terrorist? (Hint: White Guys Don't)

Terrorist.

What image pops up in your mind when you hear that word? "When we think of the word 'terrorism,' most people get an image in their head of somebody who, of course, is a foreign national or somebody who's immigrated to the United States, who's Muslim, typically," explains clinical psychologist Dr. Kevin Chapman. "We think of things like violence. Guns. We think of airport screening."

Defining terrorism is challenging (even for the United Nations, apparently), but in common usage, it's an act of violence intended to intimidate or coerce, often for ideological reasons. The word itself has a long and emotional history, but this week, we were interested in how that word is applied, or not applied, following mass killings like the Boston bombing.

"We in America tend to react differently to terrorism depending on the ethnic, demographic, religious, and national profile of the alleged assailant," explains David Sirota. David is a political commentator who wrote a piece for Salon called Let's Hope the Boston Marathon Bomber is a White American. In it, he points out the double standard in public reaction to mass killings.

If the perpetrator is white, like in many recent shooting cases, it will be seen as an isolated incident, an aberration, possibly related to mental illness. We'll likely hear folks on TV mention how many hours a day the shooter spent playing video games. Any political fallout will probably be limited to gun control debate and will not involve taking action against the attacker's nation of origin, or adding surveillance against people who share his background. Or as Tim Wise wrote last week, "[I]f he's an Italian American Catholic we won't bomb the Vatican."

We spoke to Sirota this week about his piece, and the fallout from it. "My email box has been filled with the worst kind of anti-Semitic, racial epithets from the n-word to everything, for simply raising a point that should be obvious."

That reaction reveals just how deeply invested some folks are in their need to believe these acts are committed by people who are not like them. To understand what it is in our psychology that spurs this need to categorize "them" and "us," we called on friend to the show Dr. Chapman. "It's human nature to categorize, and unfortunately we dichotomize too often: ingroup, outgroup," he explains.  "We lump groups of individuals and profile them as a result, and that maintains our ingroup ideology."

Read more

Pages