This index includes a link to the post as well as a short description of content and purpose. Regular readers of the blog may know that each post is a short lesson on a particular concept having to do with race and racism in the US, illustrated, usually, by current news and events. I've highlighted keywords in each description for those searching for a particular topic. This index lists the posts in the order that they were written.
"On Racism at Thanksgiving"
This post tries to answer the question of why the Thanksgiving holiday can be a hotbed of racist conversation for many of my white students returning home to their families. I suggest that the resistance that my students encounter from their own families comes from white privilege and an entitlement to comfort--one that is slowly eroding in public life and taking refuge at home.
"What Happened to White Privilege"
This post is addressed to people of color and allies who rely upon the discourse of "white privilege" to discuss the impact of racism upon white people. I argue that the concept of "white privilege" has become an insufficient proxy for white supremacy when talking about racism. In this way, white privilege shields white people from understanding how white supremacy truly damages them.
"#StealingFocusWhileWhite: A Hashtag for White Allies"
This post responds to the popularity of the #CrimingWhileWhite hashtag. It argues that #CrimingWhileWhite revealed only the institutional white privilege but not the internalized white supremacy of its users. By focusing on how white supremacy leads white people to center their needs and experiences, #StealingFocusWhileWhite is a better way for white allies to out themselves.
This post calls attention to the language that we use to talk about racism that can strengthen racism. We may use euphemisms intentionally but also do so in a much less conscious way than we realize, given how we are socialized to maintain white supremacy. Many use terms such as "race relations" instead of "racism" because they know that the latter will be controversial and cause discomfort.
"I'll Side with You"
This post critiques the #IllRideWithYou hashtag that trended following the Sydney hostage situation that elevated xenophobic attitudes toward the Muslim minority in Australia. I argue that white Australians who offered to ride public transportation with Muslim strangers became a version of the "white savior" identity. Racism can also utter "You're welcome" as much as "You're inferior."
"Why I Don't Go to the Movies"
This post was inspired by the controversy over Sony Pictures' decision to scuttle the release of The Interview, the film that featured the assassination of Kim Jong-un. I read the film into the enduring story featuring a binary of "good" and "bad" people of color. This trope constructs a seemingly objective subject position that in reality fosters internalized white supremacy in all viewers.
"Parable for White Nonsmokers"
This post is an allegory for the ubiquity of racist speech. In telling the story of a family at a party, I liken racist speech to cigarette smoke--a dangerous element in their presence that many nonsmokers uncompromisingly reject--despite the defensiveness of smokers. They do so because they know that secondhand smoke is bad for them, something they haven't learned about racism.
"How to Tell if Something Is Racist"
This post includes a simple but important rule of thumb for determining whether something is racist--an image, a phrase, etc. Does it uphold white supremacy? I also discuss why people of color cannot be racist. I explain the difference between systematic oppression and isolated prejudice with a useful story I invented several years ago that, unfortunately, came true.
"How to Win Friends of Color"
This post explores why authentic relationships between white people and people of color are so uncommon. White supremacy has conditioned white people, on the whole, to believe in their superiority vis-a-vis people of color. This superiority manifests in the entitlement to dismiss or minimize the experiences of people of color. People of color even do this to each other.
"A Modest Proposal"
This post responds to a blog post from Filipino American journalist Emil Guillermo. Guillermo and I disagreed on whether Margaret Cho's impersonation of Kim Jong-un at the Golden Globes was racist. He shared my feelings with Cho--who dismissed them as "racist"--and mentioned me in all but name in his blog. I show how their responses exemplify the fallacy of intention equaling outcome.
"White Happened to You"
This post comments on the vast confusing existing in American society over the meaning of being white. I argue that popular culture has abetted the transformation of the nature of "white" from a inequitable social relation to an essential, ahistorical personal identity. I describe how I teach about racism that encourages my white students in particular to see what is at stake for their humanity.
"Whiteness and the Anti-Vaccination Movement"
This post questions why the media coverage of the anti-vaccination movement fails to discuss race, as an important factor in to the movement. I discuss an important critical race theory concept known as "whiteness as property" to connect the movement with race and racism. More than a race, whiteness is a privileged basis of social expectation that law and institutional policy have codified.
"Fresh Off the Boat Is Not Science Fiction"
This post reflects upon the ABC comedy Fresh Off the Boat. It compares it to another big-name show that premiered the same week and that also stars an Asian American family, the animated Miles from Tomorrowland. I use both shows to illustrate the difference between "race" and "ethnicity," discussing how popular culture is usually much more comfortable reckoning with ethnic difference.
"Six Myths about Affirmative Action"
This post is a version of a lecture that I give to my university's education students. I discuss affirmative action as a policy in the workplace as well as in higher education. I include many links to useful reports that show, for instance, how white women have benefited most from modern-day affirmative action and how white students receive more than their share of scholarship monies.
"White Supremacy Can Make You Poor"
This post uses the Patricia Arquette gaffe at the Oscars to illustrate the concept of intersectionality. Arquette suggested that people of color and LGBTQ people need to fall in behind white women and work for gender wage equity. Black people have, in fact, done this. I argue that the concept of white supremacy played and continues to play a historic role in maintaining class divisions.
"What Monopoly Can Teach Us about Ferguson"
This post developed following the damning DOJ report on the Ferguson police department and court system. It cites researchers who used the board game Monopoly to demonstrate how systemic racism can still discriminate despite the presence of Civil Rights Acts. I updated the example with new rules to account for the discriminatory role played by the justice system in Ferguson and beyond.
"Starbucks and the Problem with Empathy"
This post uses the "Race Together" promotion from Starbucks to critique the idea that personal empathy can catalyze antiracist change. It borrows from a critical race theory concept known as the "empathic fallacy," which is the false belief that free speech allows diverse stories to trump racist stereotypes. The problem is that some stories, like white supremacy, drown out alternate narratives.
"What Comfort Tells Us about Racism"
This post argues that our feelings of comfort and discomfort in diverse situations can be an index to our level of internalized white supremacy. It develops upon Robin DiAngelo's concept of "white fragility" to suggest that white supremacy can cause Americans of all races to become uncomfortable or even confrontational when they see people of color in a state of comfort with themselves.
"You're the Model Minority until You're Not"
This post contextualizes the killing of Akai Gurley by Officer Peter Liang with the "model minority" stereotype. I show how the stereotype is a tool of white supremacy that shames black people while purporting to praise Asian people. White supremacy has always racialized ethnic groups in this way in order to maintain itself, yet people of color too often internalize these "positive" stereotypes.
"The Last Day of School"
This post was written for my students and all those who are new to antiracism. Its main point is that, outside of a college classroom, nothing in our world esteems or rewards learning about racism and white supremacy. This reality can swerve them from staying true to their conscience. They will have to be the ones to hold themselves to account for this learning because the alternative is oblivion.
"Campus Protests and Whiteness as Property"
This post returns to the critical race theory tenet of "whiteness as property" to analyze institutional responses to the antiracist student protest movement across college campuses in the US. I posit that because the college curriculum is understood as property by faculty, student demands for antiracist curricular change will be met by stiff resistance or, at best, weak suggestions of compromise.
"Downton Abbey Is Over. Watch It Again Like This."
This post uses the popular TV show Downton Abbey to discuss how white racial identity has been transformed from an idea into a thing. I analogize nobility and whiteness: not essential, "genetic" identities, they are simply ideas invented to make superiority inheritable for a particular group. Fans see the problems with internalizing aristocratic superiority but not with internalizing whiteness.
"Abigail Fisher Isn't an Asian American"
This post examines how the affirmative action debate is transforming the racial identity of Asian Americans. I examine Justice Samuel Alito's dissent in Fisher II to find that Justice Alito seems much more concerned about the University of Texas discriminating against Asian American applicants than white applicants. I argue that whites become "honorary" Asian Americans to protect their whiteness.