Racism Creates Race

White Trade Only sign in Ohio restaurant 1938

As Black History Month draws to a close, the question of dividing humanity according to race remains an active issue in contemporary discourse, as the arbitrary creation of racial differences (out of all the possible differences between people) tells us that race is not a natural construct. Some in the US decry the racial divisions that they associate with racial identifications and events like Black History Month. The National Review denounced such “tribalism” and “identity politics” in the days before Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, holiday last month. These assertions blame continual racial division on this tribalism within minority groups, but the broader history suggests that these racial identifications and community formations are a consequence of racism, a response to the discrimination and marginalization that racism generates, not the other way around.  Continue reading “Racism Creates Race”

Imagining Eras

StracheyWoolfDiscussing her observation of a man and a woman getting into a taxi, Virginia Woolf declares in A Room of Her Own,

The sight was ordinary enough. What was strange was the rhythmical order with which my imagination had invested in it.

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Islam, Islamic, Islamist

4998846448_711a839455_mRecently, Omid Safi, a professor at UNC Chapel Hill, advanced several points about the identifying labels commonly used in memorialization, including the 9/11 Memorial Museum, and news accounts. He responds to one question posed to him about critiques of labels, “What should we call it when acts of terrorism are committed by Muslims?” by explaining his concern with the application of the “Islamic terrorist” label, Continue reading “Islam, Islamic, Islamist”

Expanding A Woman’s Touch

Picture 8Russell McCutcheon’s blogpost yesterday analyzed the viewer’s role in reading this image (above) juxtaposing the current leaders of Chile, Argentina and Brazil to the past dictators of those three nations three of the first members of the Chilean Junta: Leigh (Air Force), Pinochet (Army) and Merino (Navy), emphasizing the conservative notion of gender that appears to inform the reading of the image in ways that people often identify as progressive. That reading of the image that McCutcheon analyzed also overlooks the strategic production of such an image. Continue reading “Expanding A Woman’s Touch”