February 27, 2014 |
The risks that Helen Oyeyemi takes in her fifth novel, "Boy, Snow, Bird," are astonishing in their boldness. "Nobody ever warned me about mirrors," begins the narrator, Boy, a pale white girl in Manhattan's East Village whose rat-catcher father beats her until she runs away to a small town in Massachusetts and marries a man she doesn't love. It is 1953. The man she doesn't love, a widower, has a small child, also very pale and very beautiful, and very beloved by all, named Snow. In time, Boy and her husband have their own child, Bird, who is black; this is how Boy discovers that her husband and much of his family have been passing for white.
November 28, 2013
Re "Blurring reality stokes fears," Perspective, Nov. 26 False allegations of widespread anti-white racism are intended to make people indifferent to anti-minority racism. It's a formula. Racists accuse others of racism. High-paid shills for coal or oil accuse scientists of lying for grant money. It looks like "he said, she said. " People give up. The data can help. The black-on-white scaremonger in this article says: "If you use statistics, which I don't, people say you are stereotyping.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 23, 2013 |
With her dark skin and "unconkable kinky hair," Wanda Coleman found growing up in Los Angeles in the 1950s often felt like torture. "The stultifying intellectual loneliness of my 1950s and '60s upbringing was dictated by my looks," she wrote years later. "Boys gawked at me, and girls tittered behind my back. Black teachers shook their heads in pity, and White teachers stared in amusement or in wonder. " Books became her precious refuge but were hard to come by because the libraries, she noted, "discouraged Negro readers.
November 19, 2013 |
In Britain to promote her film "The Butler," Oprah Winfrey gave an interview to the BBC last week. Not surprisingly, she promoted her movie about race relations in the White House with comments about race relations and the White House. The BBC's Will Gompertz asked: "Has it ever crossed your mind that some of the treatment of Obama and the challenges he's faced and some of the reporting he's received is because he's an African American?" Now there's a fresh take. Either Gompertz has been handcuffed to a radiator in someone's windowless basement for the last five years or, more likely, he was riffing off the suggested questions Winfrey's PR team handed out to interviewers.
November 10, 2013 |
A recent ruling by the Constitutional Court in the Dominican Republic to strip away the citizenship of several generations of Dominicans leaves no doubt that the nation has not left its history of abuse and racism behind. According to the decision, Dominicans born after 1929 to parents who are not of Dominican ancestry are to have their citizenship revoked. The ruling affects an estimated 250,000 Dominican people of Haitian descent, including many who have had no personal connection with Haiti for several generations.
October 25, 2013
Re "UCLA faculty survey cites racism," Oct. 19 The UCLA report on the university's policies on addressing accusations of racial bias mentions retaliation against a nonminority faculty member for speaking out against discriminatory conduct in his department. Something similar happened to me as a graduate student. The fact that my department as a whole was inclusive did not deter my advisor from making things difficult for me after I failed to show enthusiasm for his racial prejudices.