Jan 30th

Racism In Relationships: 'People Hate The Fact We're In Love'

By Yasmin S
ORIGINAL SOURCE: Zoe Beaty @ Grazia Daily UK
pic: Jonny Cochrane

pic: Jonny Cochrane

 Another week, another UKIP plunder. Yesterday, Mark Walker, a would-be politician shortlisted as a candidate to be a UKIP MP found himself in the headlines after he shared a racist link on Facebook which said that relationships between races 'amount to genocide' and damned 'the plague of inter-racial marriages'.

Extreme, yes - but, sadly, not an isolated incident. Here, Lucy Dartford, 30, who has a black boyfriend, explains why the idea of a 'post-racial' society is a joke...

'Walking along the street hand in hand with my boyfriend Raymond, we were oblivious to the van that pulled up alongside us. Until, that is, the driver – hatred etched on his face – wound down his window and screamed, ‘w*g meat’ at me before speeding off.

I want to say this is unusual, but depressingly, it’s far from it. Why? Because I am white and Raymond is black. And the sight of a mixed-race relationship – in the middle of London in 2014 – is still enough to evoke overt racism from complete strangers.

So when I heard that a recent study had claimed my generation believe we’re living in a ‘post-racial’ society, I laughed out loud. Apparently Millennials believe racism is more of a problem for older generations and admit they are ‘colour blind’… in other words, a bit confused about what racism actually is.
I don’t know what world the people surveyed by MTV live in, but it’s not the same one as me. Indeed, they’re either very lucky or very naïve. Because, despite the massive steps we’ve taken as a society, racism is - sadly - alive and well.

And it comes in many forms – the public hatred from the van driver through to subtle racism from friends who would insist they’re only joking when they nudge and ask if ‘it’s true what people say about black men’.

Before I started dating Raymond, 34, an engineer, 18 months ago, I was obviously aware of racism, but had never had any personal experience of it. I work in PR and was raised in London and have friends of many nationalities, cultures and colours.

I heard their stories of experiencing racial abuse in the street, or of feeling discriminated against at work. I read about racist attacks in the paper, and saw footage from EDL marches on the news. But while I was aware of what other people experienced, as a white British woman I was protected from it.

Racism didn’t happen in world, until I fell in love with Raymond who is British and of Caribbean descent. We were introduced by a mutual friend in an east London bar in 2012. I was instantly attracted to him and luckily he felt the same. Yet while we were experiencing the heady days of our early relationship, I was also getting my first glimpse of what he sadly may have had to face all his life.

Some of my (white) friends seemed almost scandalised by our relationship. We all love a gossip about a friend’s new boyfriend, but this was different. ‘What’s it like dating a black man?’ they would ask, practically whispering, as if we were discussing something taboo. ‘Is his body really… you know… ‘different’?’ They acted as if I was doing something rebellious by going out with a black guy, or he was some sort of accessory I’d picked up to court attention.

I didn’t see the point in being confrontational so I would simply reply by saying he was exactly the same as their boyfriend or husband, and change the conversation.

This subtle, casual racism is something we face all the time. Even now we get comments from people about what ‘a gorgeous couple’ we are, and what ‘adorable children’ we’ll have together. I know if we were both white or both black, we wouldn’t be told that. It’s like our different skin colours make us a bit of a novelty, as opposed to just a normal couple.

If I’m being generous, I don’t think people are even aware they’re being racist. Yet comments like that are simply not appropriate. Raymond and I don’t react because what’s the point in becoming embroiled in one uncomfortable conversation after another.

Harder to ignore however is the aggressive and frightening racism from strangers. I was stunned – not to mention devastated – the first time Raymond was called a n****r by a stranger in the street. He shrugs it off, saying it’s nothing new to him and he’s learnt to ignore the abuse and threats, but it’s horrific. In what is meant to be a progressive society, how can a person’s skin colour still be a reason to hate them?

I’ve also experienced reverse racism when recently I was out with a friend of a friend, who is black. At first, she was really friendly but when Raymond arrived, her manner changed instantly, and she became cold and withdrawn. Shortly afterwards, I noticed she had tweeted that ‘white women shouldn’t be stealing black men’.

I can’t help but think she was referring to me; that she believes we should stick to our own colour when it comes to relationships. So is this the ‘racism by stealth’ Dawn French was referring to last week? The comedienne spoke about the racist abuse she and Lenny Henry suffered when they were married, including an arson attack on their home and having excrement smeared on their front door by members of the Klu Klux Klan.

While Raymond and I thankfully haven’t experienced anything as extreme as that, we’ve certainly experience the disapproving looks from strangers, the inappropriate comments from acquaintances… it’s as dangerous as someone screaming abuse at us in the street because it goes under the radar and isn’t reported.

But what saddens me the most is that I am no longer shocked when we encounter racism. Recently an elderly couple in a restaurant sat staring at us, with a mixture of confusion and disgust on their faces. I simply carried on looking at the menu.

The UK isn’t getting any less racist despite the fact there’s never been more mixed race couples, and with parties like UKIP growing in popularity, I fear we’re moving in a very worrying direction. I’m also scared when a generation are saying they don’t think racism is going to be a problem for them. By ignoring the issue, it will only get worse.

So no I don’t believe we’re in a ‘post-racial’ society. If I have mixed race children I think they would be very likely to be discriminated against or even possibly physically hurt just because of the colour of their skin. How is that ‘post-racial’?

Yet I’ve got a message for all the haters… you’re not winning. Far from having a negative effect on our relationship, experiencing racism as a couple has only made us closer. We feel a sense of solidarity against the people who hate the fact we are in love. And if colour is such an issue to them, I pity them and the sad little lives they lead.'

‘I’ve dealt with racism my whole life’
Lucy's boyfriend, Raymond, says, ‘I hate the fact that Lucy has experienced racism as a direct result of being with me. It’s a burden I carry around. I know I’m not to blame for other people’s ignorance but I wish she didn’t have to experience such hatred and disdain because of who she loves.

My parents are from the West Indies and Guyana, in South America, but I was born in the UK and brought up in a small town outside London. In my school there were only three black children - two of whom were my brother and I. So I have grown up sticking out because of my colour.

Lucy’s not my first white girlfriend, I’ve had several, and dated black women too. It’s the person I’m interested in, not their skin colour.

Black female friends have openly told me they think as a professional, successful black man I should date a black woman, and keep myself for my ‘own kind’. I think that’s ridiculous.

Racism isn’t a new thing for me, I’ve dealt with it all my life and I know first-hand we’re not living in a post racial society. I wish we were.’

To visit original post website please click here: http://www.graziadaily.co.uk/2015/01/racism-in-relationships#.VMueRHx0zIU

    Jan 23rd

    White love is an emotion we can't seem to shake

    By Yasmin S
    ORIGINAL SOURCE: Khaya Dlanga @Mail & Guardian - mg.co.za
    It’s amazing, and sad, to think that in some communities the race of the person you love will directly influence your social standing.

    Sunset, couple. (Reuters)

    Sunset, couple. (Reuters)

    There’s a phenomenon I was unaware of called marrying up.

    I was having a conversation with a friend of mine (who identifies herself as coloured) and she told me that in her neighbourhood, which is still majority coloured, if a woman decides that she wants to date a black man, she becomes a pariah and no coloured man will want to touch her again. She is even called names.

    I must emphasise that not all coloured people hold this point of view. My friend was speaking specifically about some attitudes in her neighbourhood.

    What I failed to ask though, was what happens when a coloured man decides to do the same.

    The only question I did ask was what happens if she decides to date a white man. I was told that it is considered a step up; the woman is admired for dating a white person.

    The reactions are distinct. One is praised and seen as a positive, while another is seen as a negative – all based on the colour of the person’s skin.

    Apartheid’s legacy
    I refused to believe that this could be true in this day and age. I thought that I needed to take a different approach.

    What if the black man is rich? Will the white man still be seen as superior? I thought that perhaps “white is better” because white people have higher economic standing.

    My friend said that even the poorer white man will beat the wealthy black man to the punch.

    She told me that when a coloured person in her neighbourhood marries a white person, it is seen as a step up, but marrying a black person is generally frowned upon.

    This sort of thinking is a clear indication of how apartheid still holds some of our peoples’ mind-sets, that they are still enslaved by that mentality. This kind of thinking believes there is a racial hierarchy – white, then coloured and then black.

    This is not something that affects only some sections of the coloured community but black people too. I have heard countless women talk about the desire for mixed babies because they want the child to have blue or green eyes, caramel skin and soft hair.

    It is all rather sad. I do get that no one wants an ugly baby, but actively looking for a partner simply because you believe that a child with white features looks better than one that has black features is accepting one’s own racial inferiority.

    Then there is that thing black men do. They will date a white woman, who is not as attractive as a black woman he would normally date. The fact that she is white is enough for him. For some reason, it proves some point to him.

    Race above all else
    So I told my friend that I had, in fact, dated someone of another race when I lived in Cape Town. She was surprised and said that my ex was probably one of those liberal types who don’t care what people think.

    “I doubt that the people around her accepted you,” she said.

    I told her that I had hung out with her friends who were coloured. When I went to visit my girlfriend’s home, her mother welcomed me with warm arms. We got along like a house on fire.

    But when I saw her the next day, my girlfriend seemed upset. She told me that her mother was not pleased that she was dating a black man. I didn’t understand what had changed overnight.

    I figured that when I was in her presence, she saw a person she liked. But when I left, the human being – my charms and everything that I came with – left with me. But my blackness, which she thought was inferior, was left behind.

    Of course there are preferences, there are types of people we like. Sometimes we are more comfortable with people who have similar cultural backgrounds.

    I wish people liked each for how they make each other feel, rather than their racial makeup. I encourage mixed-race relationships, but they must be based on real ­emotions and come from a place of equal standing.

    Jan 22nd

    No More Bullying: Biracial, multiracial and ethnic minority kids more likely to be bullied

    By Yasmin S
    ORIGINAL SOURCE: Melissa Martin @ Kentucky Forward. kyforward.com

    Bullying is a form of aggression used to gain power, and targeting peers based on racial differences is another misuse of power. Biracial and multiracial youth are more likely to be bullied than youth who identify with a single race, according to the National Voices for Equality Education and Enlightenment. Twice as many ethnic minority youth in elementary school report being bullied because of their race.

    Types of bullying

    There are three main types of bullying, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

    1. Physical (hitting, kicking, tripping/pushing, spitting, taking/breaking belongings, making rude or mean hand gestures)

    2. Verbal (name-calling, teasing, taunting, inappropriate sexual comments, threatening to cause harm)

    3. Social/Relational (spreading rumors, embarrassing someone in public, purposeful exclusion, telling others not to be friends with someone)

    What can parents do?

    Talk to the principals, teachers and school counselors about ways to prevent and intervene with racially prejudiced bullying in classrooms by peers. Does your child’s school celebrate cultural diversity? Does the preschool or kindergarten class have toys and books that represent all ethnic groups?

    It is important for parents to discuss the challenges that biracial and multiracial children may experience at school. Give them positive answers to the questions they may be asked by other students; “What are you?” or “Why is your skin different from mine?”

    Research indicates that biracial and multiracial kids that are allowed to embrace and celebrate all aspects of their heritage instead of being forced to choose a single-race identity “have the best chance of success.” Talk to your children about successful Americans of mixed races: President Obama; actors such as Halle Berry and Keanu Reeves; the athletes Tiger Woods and Derek Jeter; and news anchors Soledad O-Brien and Ann Curry.

    Books for children

    Mixed Me: A Tale of a Girl Who Is Both Black and White by Tiffany Catledge and Big Hair, Don’t Care by Crystal Swain-Bates.

    Dolls for children

    Visit www.pattycakedoll.com to find biracial and Hispanic dolls.

    Visit www.4kidslikeme.com to find multicultural dolls.

    Other resources

    When Kids Face Racism at School is a national adoption magazine with information for caregivers regarding racial bullying experienced by adopted children. Visit www.adoptivefamilies.com.

    Click here for key research findings about bullying.

    Stop Bullying Now! is a website sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

    To listen to an episode of “Mixed Race Radio” with a discussion on biracial bullying and when children are bullied due to skin color, hair texture, eye color or accents, click here and type in biracial bullying.

    Is That Your Child?: Mothers Talk about Rearing Biracial Children is a book by Marion Kilson and Florence Ladd. They both are parents of biracial children.

    Dr. Heather Harrison writes a blog about her biracial son at www.themommypsychologist.com.

    Talking to Our Children about Racism & Diversity is a booklet written to help parents and children (between 5 and 8 years old) talk together about diversity and racism. It includes examples of children’s questions and some suggestions for answering them. Click here.

    If your child is experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression along with self-rejection due to bullying based on race, please contact a child therapist.


    Click here to read other columns in this series.


    melissa martin

    Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is a child therapist, consultant and educator in Wheelersburg, Ohio.

    Jan 21st

    “We don’t see color, we just see the person”

    By Yasmin S

    ORIGINAL SOURCE: Matt Duchnese @ Websterjournal.com

    “She’s okay with who I date now, but it took a long time,” Trogler said. “She always said things like we wouldn’t last, wouldn’t get married.”

    Trogler is hispanic and his girlfriend Mershauna Clay is black. They met their freshman year at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School and began dating a few years later. By the time the two came to Webster University (she studied dance, he studied animation), they had been dating for a few years, and are still together today.

    Trogler and Clay said they’ve noticed stares while out in public, but they brush it off for the most part. A few times, people have even commented on their relationship. The comments bothered Trogler—enough to ruin his mood completely—and Clay would have to calm him down. But certain comments have bothered her as well, particularly when black men comment on their relationship.

    The Loretto-Hilton staff put up a wall featuring interracial couples in the Webster Groves community as part of a lobby decoration for their current production,

    The Loretto-Hilton staff put up a wall featuring interracial couples in the Webster Groves community as part of a lobby decoration for their current production, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” / photo by Hayden Andrews

    “There have been things that have happened that wouldn’t necessarily happen if I were dating within my race,” Clay said. “The most aggressive thing I’ve experienced is that black guys will make comments on the fact that we’re dating, saying things like ‘you wouldn’t know how to handle a girl like that.’ The fact that they think it’s okay to even comment that we’re in an interracial relationship is extremely disrespectful.”

    A new attitude

    Cultural Diversity in the Media Professor Bernie Hayes believes interracial couples know the hardships and what negatives might come with dating someone of another race; but today those couples don’t care about the negatives.

    Clay thinks the people who make negative comments about interracial couples do so out of insecurity. She feels a lot of self-hatred projected onto her when she hears comments about who she dates. But for both Clay and Trogler, dating people with a different skin color has been a positive experience, and they have learned much about acceptance, diversity and awareness of issues that people of other races face.

    “Everyone loves their culture,” Hayes said. “There are so many people who are accepting of other cultures now and so many people who want to immerse themselves in another culture.”

    Cydnie Deed-King and Alex King met and began dating when they attended Webster. Now married, the two live in Ohio and frequently travel back to St. Louis to visit family. Deed-King said being in an interracial relationship has not come up as an issue for her, but occasionally might notice a stare from an older adult.

    “It’s kind of like opposites attract, you really get to know somebody,” Deed-King said. “The longer you’re with someone, you just don’t see the color anymore. We don’t see the color, we just see the person. We don’t see that he’s white and I’m black.”

    Especially at Webster, Deed-King never noticed any judgment toward her relationship. She believed this was due to Webster’s reputation as a diverse and accepting university.

    Facilitating a discussion

    The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis’ current production, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” centers on the story of an interracial couple, a controversial topic in 1967 when the story was first adapted as a movie. During select performances, the director of the Repertory Theatre’s production, Seth Gordon, sits down with the cast and audience to discuss the issues that come up in the play.

    “At our most recent matinee show, there was a lot of discussion about St. Louis and how the show relates to what’s going on here,” Gordon said. “People said it’s good that we’re doing the play in order to engender discussion about it.”

    A wall depicting interracial couples in the Webster Groves community will stand in the lobby of the Loretto-Hilton center for the duration of the show. The Repertory Theatre staff, with help from Diversity Awareness Partnership St. Louis, chose this decoration as a way to show the difference in attitudes about interracial relationships today as opposed to 1967.

    “It is a romantic comedy with a lot of very strong political and racial implications,” Gordon said. “And I thought we should just do a very good production of the play, and the implications would speak for themselves; and that appears to be what’s happening.”

    By marrying someone of a different race, Deed-King learned a lot about accepting differences—a sentiment that Trogler and Clay also share. Trogler likened it to culture shock; attending different churches, eating different foods, throwing different parties and speaking to their families in different ways.

    “For example, I like to eat certain foods,” Trogler said. “My girlfriend fought really hard to get me to try different foods and things like that. I feel like my palate is diverse now; and that’s not just with food, it’s with everything.”

    And aside from the simplicities that Trogler and Clay share with each other, they share ideas too. Clay said one of the biggest impacts on her life from dating someone of another race was learning about the issues that other people face as well. That swapping of issues and experiences, she said, is what it’s all about. But she sums it up easily, in just one word: perspective.

    Jan 20th

    Monmouth Poll: 8-in-10 Americans agree ethnic discrimination a problem Read more at Monmouth Poll: 8-in-10 Americans agree ethn

    By Yasmin S
    ORIGINAL SOURCE: http://politickernj.com/2015/01/monmouth-poll-8-in-10-americans-agree-ethnic-discrimination-a-problem/


    This morning’s Al Jazeera America/Monmouth University Poll finds that nearly all Americans agree that racial discrimination continues to be a problem for the nation, but they are divided by race on whether greater social integration is an important element in fixing the problem.  The national poll – the first conducted by Al Jazeera America, with Monmouth University – also found that Americans, by a nearly 3-to-1 margin, are more likely to say that race relations have worsened rather improved since Barack Obama moved into the White House.

    Fully 8-in-10 Americans agree that racial and ethnic discrimination is a problem in the United States, with half (51%) saying it is a big problem, and 30% saying it is a small problem.  About 2-in-3 blacks (69%) and Latinos (66%) say discrimination is a big problem, while just under half of whites (45%) feel the same.

    As the nation’s first black president starts his seventh year in office, very few (15%) Americans feel that race relations have gotten better since Barack Obama’s became president compared to 4-in-10 (43%) who they have gotten worse.  Another 40% say there has been no change in race relations under Obama.  Blacks (31%) and Latinos (24%) are slightly more likely than whites (9%) to say race relations have gotten better since Obama, but the difference is not overwhelming.  In fact, black Americans are evenly divided – 31% say race relations have gotten better, 31% say they have gotten worse, and 37% say there has been no change during Obama’s tenure.

    The public is also divided on the role Pres. Obama has played on race issues.  One-quarter (25%) say he has been too outspoken and one-quarter (28%) say he has been too quiet, while 4-in-10 (39%) say he has struck the right tone.  Black Americans (68%) are more likely than white (36%) and Latino (32%) Americans to feel that the president has struck the right tone on race relations.  Among black Americans only, about half (49%) say it is time for new leadership in the black community while 1-in-3 (35%) say that the civil rights era leaders are still effective spokespersons.

    “The black community expresses support for the president, but there is also an undercurrent that race relations have not progressed as far as they had hoped in the past six years,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, which conducted the Al Jazeera America / Monmouth University Poll.

    The poll found differences of opinion among the races on what approaches are needed to eliminate racial discrimination.   Fifty years after the Selma march led to passage of the Voting Rights Act, nearly all Americans – regardless of race – agree that equality of opportunity is very important, but they are less convinced about the need for greater integration in our daily life.  Overall, 84% of Americans say that it is very important for people of all races to have equality of opportunity, but just 1-in-3 (36%) feel the same about having more racially integrated neighborhoods in our local communities.  Fully 6-in-10 (59%) blacks feel that social integration is very important, but fewer Latinos (47%) and only 1-in-4 whites (28%) feel the same.

    Nearly 1-in-4 (23%) Americans say they would actively seek out a mixed race neighborhood if they had to move to a new community, while 14% say they would prefer to move to a community where most people are the same race as them.  Most Americans (61%) express no preference for the racial mix of their new neighborhood if they had to move.  Half (50%) of black Americans are the most likely to say they would seek out a mixed race neighborhood.  This compares to 29% of Latinos and 15% of whites who say the same.  In fact white Americans are just as likely to say they would look for a same race neighborhood (17%) as they are to say they would look for a mixed race community (15%) if they had to move.

    Just over half (53%) of Americans say they are very comfortable talking about race in public, such as at work or parties, including 52% of whites, 53% of blacks and 52% of Latinos.  It’s worth noting that only 13% of whites say that most of their friends are of different races, while nearly 4-in-10 (41%) blacks and a majority (56%) of Latinos report that their circle of friends is mainly multi-racial. This may suggest that whites are less likely to find themselves in situations where they would be talking about race in multi-cultural company.

    Read more at Monmouth Poll: 8-in-10 Americans agree ethnic discrimination a problem | New Jersey News, Politics, Opinion, and Analysis
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    Jan 20th

    Alabama author recounts changing racial attitudes

    By Yasmin S
    ORIGINAL SOURCE:  http://www.gadsdentimes.com/article/20150119/APN/301199801

    DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) — The S. McEachin Otts of today is a far different person from the one who stood on a Greensboro curb 50 years ago, tire iron in hand, preparing to assault a group of peaceful civil rights protesters.

    Otts never did launch that attack, and today he is the proud adopted father of an interracial child and an outspoken advocate of addressing the issues that divide black people and white people.

    Otts, known as "Mac," spoke to a small group at the Houston-Love Memorial Library on Sunday about his book, "Better Than Them: The Unmaking of an Alabama Racist."

    "What I did initially was just to write from my own understanding, and that involved the fact that we had adopted a mixed-race child and that we had encountered some mixed reactions to that," said Otts, who adopted his son in 1981, just 16 years after that fateful day in his hometown.

    His experiences led him to examine the root causes of the admittedly racist attitude he exemplified in his youth.

    "I stood on a curb with a tire iron in my hand ready to commit mayhem due to a peaceful demonstration that was occurring in my hometown," Otts said. "Why? It's a very simple question. But the answer was not so simple. The idea that you could just think of your own situation right at that point in time was not good enough."

    For Otts, the answer was much more rooted in the culture of his small Alabama hometown and, indeed, his own family.

    His great-great-grandfather was a plantation owner who owned "multitudes" of slaves.

    "I was in a small town, grew up there all my life, and it was a bubble," Otts said. "My family intersected through slavery, because we were plantation owners."

    For Otts, escaping his hometown's mentality meant escaping the town itself.

    His attitude began changing when he went to the University of Alabama, though that wasn't the end of the journey.

    "I did get away from the bubble. You've got to go there," Otts said of his gradual transformation. "But it wasn't that people were drumming it into my head. It involves a lot of other things that are detailed in the book."

    Otts returned to Greensboro and interviewed numerous people for his book, and it opened his eyes to the importance of simply having the conversation.

    "What if I'm a white person waiting in line at the grocery store to purchase groceries, and the person in front of me is counting coupons and I'm bothered," Otts said. "If they're black, is that different from if they're white? There are a lot of remnants even with people who have overcome the primary thing of racism, and one of biggest reasons, I think, is we don't communicate openly."

    The Mac Otts of 1965 probably wasn't interested in talking out his issues.

    Today's Mac Otts wants others to realize how transformative honest discussions can be.

    "I really think where this turns is individuals committing to it and saying, 'I realize this is enough of a challenge for our society and it's not going away just because I want to say it's gone away,'" he said. "I think when we're making real progress is when we can talk about these issues."
    Jan 20th

    Amber Rose Reveals Her Family Didn't Attend Wedding Because Wiz Khalifa Is Black

    By Yasmin S
    ORIGINAL SOURCE:  Evelyn Diaz @ BET.com

    Amber Rose revealed a dark family secret in Bill Duke's documentary Light Girls, the filmmaker's follow-up to his exploration of colorism, Dark Girls. Rose, one of several celebs featured in the film, says that some of her family didn’t attend her wedding to Wiz Khalifa because she married a Black man. 

    Rose, who is Creole, Portuguese and Italian, explained that some of her older family members still have a bias against dark-skinned people and feel their light skin makes them "better."

    “With my family, they feel like they’re more superior or better than an African American because we’re Creole and we have culture, and that’s something I battle with most of my life," she explains. “It’s more of the older people in my family. I feel like that’s why my father is white.”

    Rose went on to say that the fact that so many of her family members wouldn't support her relationship still hurts her to this day. “It’s such a sensitive subject that it’s hard to explain yourself without sounding mean or bitter or angry, but I am,” she shared (Rose and Khalifa separated last year). “I’m angry that my family is like that and they want to pass so bad that they raise my mom and my uncles and my aunts to not fully know their culture.”

    She added, “Our younger generation, we’ve embraced it so much."

    The model joins India.ArieDiahann CarrollRaven-Symoné — who revealed that she once tanned "three to four times a week" to darken her skin — and other celebs in the documentary, which will air on OWN.

    To visit original post site please click here: http://www.bet.com/news/celebrities/2015/01/19/amber-rose-reveals-her-family-didnt-attend-wedding-because-wiz-khalifa-is-black.html 
    Jan 19th

    How to talk to kids about racism

    By Yasmin S
    ORIGINAL SOURCE: Jamie Gumbrecht

    (CNN)It was one of a thousand little conversations that fill each day in a third-grade classroom.

    As teacher Kimmie Fink read a book featuring a Japanese character, a student brought her fingers to her eyes and tugged on the edges, stretching them into narrow slits.

    Fink stopped. "I'm Asian," she told the child, "and when you do that, it hurts my feelings."

    The student snapped to attention. "Oh! I'm sorry!" she told her teacher, and they went back to their book.

    It was a quick back-and-forth with a big lesson, but it came from a trained teacher who had rehearsed what to say. Just as Fink learned to teach math and reading, she has practiced how to squelch unwitting bias and stereotyping before it has a chance to grow into bullying or racism.

    Little insults and acts of disrespect once shrugged off or ignored -- just kids being kids -- are now treated in some schools as important chances to learn. Lessons have long been built around Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Holocaust remembrance week, Women's History Month and countless others holidays and awareness weeks. But at schools around the country, learning about bias related to race, gender and sexuality is part of everyday teaching.

    Fink, who teaches at Pope Elementary in Puyallup, Washington, began anti-bias training with the Human Rights Campaign's Welcoming Schools program two years ago and immediately began to share those lessons with her colleagues. The program is active in 25 states and offers training and lesson plans around family diversity, gender stereotyping and ending bullying.

    Fink didn't need help spotting right and wrong around racial diversity and gender bias, but training helped her find the words and tone to explain it to young children, especially when it came to matters of sexuality. Young students sometimes don't realize what they're saying or how painful a comment on the playground can be.

    "She had no idea that kind of thing was hurtful -- they don't want to hurt anyone's feelings," Fink said of the third-grader who tugged at her eyes. "A lot (of teachers) are scared to say anything because they're scared they're going to say the wrong thing."

    It's not easy for parents, either. So how can adults manage conversations about complicated issues with the youngest of kids? Here's some guidance from educators doing it ever day:


    Talk about diversity and be aware of bias all year


    Holidays, awareness weeks and celebratory months are a great way to start a conversation with young people. Last week, the media literacy program Hatch released a video of an 11-year-old analyzing King's "I Have a Dream" speech. In powerful, unscripted responses, they explained how words spoken decades ago affected them and identified work that still needs to be done.

    But educators caution that cultural days or awareness weeks might touch only on clothing, holidays or food -- and serve up only information that suggests how people are different. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, schools might examine only Jim Crow history but ignore modern civil rights issues or King's messages about poverty and peace, said Johanna Eager, the director of Welcoming Schools.

    "It can be approached in ways that students don't feel that it's relevant. It's something their parents took care of," Eager said. "It's really important to extend Dr. King's message ... taking an intersectional approach, talking about gender stereotypes, class disparities."


    Bring the lessons to their level


    Some of the most powerful learning comes from answering kids' questions about what's going on in the world or what they see in the hallways of their school. And sometimes, the best way to explain an issue to kids is to find a story that's designed for them, educators said.

    When her students are facing a conflict, Fink, the Washington teacher, is likely to call upon a long list of children's books to help them work through it. Just as students remember a one-on-one conversation with teachers, they see themselves in stories and characters and look to the lessons in books to model their own responses.

    "If I'm having trouble with name-calling in my classroom, I'm going to pull a read-aloud," Fink said. "It just works."


    Don't assume kids aren't listening


    It's tempting to believe young children are innocent and unaware of the world around them, but they are listening and repeating what they hear on TV or from older kids and adults around them.

    Fink has caught even young children saying something is "so gay." Sometimes they don't know what it means, but they've heard it used elsewhere. Often, Fink said, they understand that "gay" means something like "a man and a man love each other." They even know they're using the word "gay" to say something is bad. They just don't make the connection that their comment is disrespectful to people who are gay, Fink said.

    "'We don't use somebody's identity as an insult,'" she tells students.

    Eager said they heard a lot of questions from educators after the shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, and during protests that followed. Teachers knew their students were talking about it, but few knew how to explain it to young people.

    "Students are having these conversations without us, and we know it's really important for adults to be part of the conversation and model effective, respectful ways to have them," Eager said.


    Question your own knowledge and biases


    Welcoming Schools and other anti-bullying programs are ultimately meant to teach children and improve school climates, but the training demands adults examine their own biases and how they talk to children at school and home. It can be uncomfortable for adults to consider and challenge their own beliefs.

    "It's a predictable part of this process [that] there's some resistance," Eager said. "There's going to be someone who is not happy."

    The Welcoming Schools curriculum is transparent, she said -- it includes family nights and offers guidance to administrators and teachers on how to deal with those who might disagree with how they handle lessons about sexuality, gender and other topics.

    But even among educators committed to creating a healthy school climate, it can be tough. Fink recalls exercises such as asking teachers to write which identities apply to them -- race, ethnicity, gender, for example -- then asking them to examine which ones opened doors for them and which ones made life harder.

    Conversations can be intense and revealing. There are reminders, too, that adults can learn from children, too.

    After all, young students don't like to hurt each other's feelings, Fink said.

    "We need to take advantage of that default to compassion," she said, "and harness it."

    To visit original website please click here: http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/18/living/feat-teaching-diversity-schools/ 
    Jan 17th

    Last Year, America Discovered Race. Now What?

    By Yasmin S
    ORIGINAL SOURCE: Preeti Vissa @ Huffingtonpost.com

    2014 was the year the U.S. discovered that race is still an issue in this allegedly "color-blind" society, among other things. It's become so obvious that it even got noticed during last Sunday's Golden Globe Awards, when co-host Tina Fey got one of the biggest laughs of the night by noting that "the movie Selma is about the American civil rights movement -- that totally worked and now everything's fine."

    We're finally starting to notice that everything is not fine.

    Just to speak the names of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice says more about pain and injustice than we should ever need to say, but these tragedies represent just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Despite some recent gestures toward penal reform, the United States incarcerates a higher proportion of our blacks than apartheid South Africa did. And when New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio dared to say that he felt the need to counsel his mixed-race son to be extra careful in encounters with the police, NYPD officers responded with repeated shows of blatant disrespect.

    Although the unemployment rate is lower today than in recent years, that positive statistic masks some grim trends. Job growth has been fueled in part by some workers trading good-paying jobs lost during the recession for lower-paying positions that are all they can find today.

    This has no doubt contributed to our ongoing racial wealth gap, which remains stubbornly entrenched. For every dollar of wealth a white family has, the median Asian family has about 81 cents (a figure that masks pockets of real poverty within some Asian communities), the median Latino family has 7 cents and the median black family has less than 6 cents.

    Questions of race also hit the NBA, where league officials struggled to clean up the mess created by the offensive comments of Donald Sterling, who owned the L.A. Clippers.

    And questions of race and diversity finally caught the attention of Silicon Valley, where women, blacks and Latinos continue to make up a shockingly small percentage of the workforce, particularly in tech-related positions, management and the executive suite. We finally got a taste of what's really going on when Laszlo Bock, Google's S.V.P. of People Operations, told Gwen Ifill on the PBS NewsHour, "We like people who are like us, who watch the same shows, who like the same food, who have the same backgrounds. So we bring this unconscious bias to everything we do."

    At least he was honest about it. And being honest about these unconscious biases is an essential first step toward remedying them.

    If the recent controversies around police shootings have taught us anything, it's that we can't be afraid to tackle the racial and ethnic implications of America's problems -- or their solutions.

    Happily, I see glimmers of hope. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more Americans of all demographic groups now have health insurance. And while black and Latino uninsured rates remain far higher than whites', the gap is narrowing. From the end of 2013 to the end of 2014, the overall uninsured rate dropped by 4.2 percentage points, while the uninsured rate for Latinos dropped by 6.3 points and the uninsured rate for African Americans dropped a full seven points. That very happy news deserves more attention than it's gotten.

    I'm glad to say that my own state of California has led the way in aggressively and effectively implementing Obamacare, dropping our uninsured rate by half in the first year. Because health is so important to everything we do, this sort of progress will impact the racial wealth gap over time.

    So will something else my state is doing. While there's been some national news coverage of California's laws to combat climate change and promote clean energy, there's more to these policies than most people know. An important feature of California's climate law guarantees that a quarter of carbon fees collected from industrial polluters will go to projects that uplift disadvantaged communities -- cutting pollution, promoting clean energy, helping consumers, and bringing jobs and investment to neighborhoods that need both, often neighborhoods populated by people of color that for too long were used as toxic dumping grounds.

    These positive models point the way. They can lead us away from the bad old days of "redlining" -- deliberate disinvestment from communities of color -- to what we call "greenlining": a conscious effort to bring opportunity, investment and justice to those long-ignored communities. The question for America in 2015 is: Do we have the will to do it?

    Follow Preeti Vissa on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Greenlining

    To visit original post website please click here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/preeti-vissa/last-year-america-discove_b_6488686.html 
    Jan 17th

    ANISSA V. RIVERA: The lessons children can teach about race relations

    By Yasmin S
    ORIGINAL SOURCE:  Anissa V. Rivera @ sgvtribune.com 

    A lesson from a 5-year-old: when my daughter’s buddy Ariana visited relatives in Mexico, her aunt asked about her best friends.

    “My friends are Crystal and Alicia,” Ariana said.

    “What do they look like?” her aunt asked. Ariana shrugged.

    “Just like me,” she said. “Only I have short hair, Crystal has medium hair and Alicia has long hair.”

    My friend Elsa tells me her sister looked at her, puzzled: “I thought you said her friends are Chinese and Filipino?”

    “Yup,” Elsa replied proudly. “They are.”

    Ariana is a fair-haired, hazel-eyed girl of Mexican and Polish descent, Crystal has the almond-shaped eyes and dark hair of her Chinese-Jamaican and Indonesian ancestors and my Alicia’s features plainly proclaim her Filipino heritage, but no matter. To Ari, except for their haircuts, they all look the same.

    Children everywhere will celebrate and remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 19. The lessons will be many: how life was like in 1960s America for African Americans and other minorities and what Martin Luther King Jr. and other people did to right injustices and fight for equality.

    My now 16-year-old niece, who is half Filipino and half Mexican, came home from one of these classes in tears when she was in first-grade. She was crying, she said, because she was so grateful to Dr. King for making her life better because she was black.

    We burst out laughing because we had always admired her mocha complexion. But her statement led to deeper conversations about color and culture and how some people can be mean and some very brave.

    In my children’s school, the multiracial kids outnumber any ethnicity, and we love it. We can celebrate so much: from posadas to Lunar New Year, St. Patrick’s Day to MLK Day. I still teach my kids the proud traditions of their Filipino American heritage (with a little Chinese thrown in from their great-grandfather’s side.)

    I tease my mixed-race friends about having to circle “Other” when they are filling out forms. But I hope I can teach my kids that they, and their friends, can certainly recognize they are distinct but never, ever, apart.


    Anissa V. Rivera can be reached at anivriv@yahoo.com

    To visit original post site please click here: http://www.sgvtribune.com/lifestyle/20150115/anissa-v-rivera-the-lessons-children-can-teach-about-race-relations