Posts by Jessie:
- White men get more responses. Whatever it is, white males just get more replies from almost every group. We were careful to preselect our data pool so that physical attractiveness (as measured by our site picture-rating utility) was roughly even across all the race/gender slices. For guys, we did likewise with height.
- White women prefer white men to the exclusion of everyone else—and Asian and Hispanic women prefer them even more exclusively. These three types of women only respond well to white men. More significantly, these groups’ reply rates to non-whites is terrible.
- Black women write back the most. Black women are by far the most likely to respond to a first contact attempt. In many cases, their response rate is one and a half times the average, and, overall, black women reply about a quarter more often that other women.
- White gays and lesbians respond by far the least to anyone.
- Black gays and lesbians get fewer responses. This is consistent with the straight data, too.
- Asian lesbians are replied to the most, and, among the well-represented groups, they have the most defined racial preferences: they respond very well to other Asians, Whites, Native Americans, and Middle Easterners, but very poorly to the other groups.
- New scholarship on the Obama years, the 2012 election and systemic racism appeared in the Journal Qualitative Sociology by our very own Joe Feagin and Adia Harvey Wingfield.
- As a voters, Latinos had a big impact in this election, as Maria Chavez noted here.
- Even though white privilege was not enough to secure a victory for Mitt Romney, he still did well among white voters who overwhelmingly supported him at the polls.
- Even so, The New York Times was unable to marshal a sophisticated critique of the racism in the GOP.
- In January, Jared Lee Loughner opened fire on a crowd at an Arizona political rally, killing 6 and injuring 14.
- In August, white supremacist Wade M. Page walked into a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, where he shot and killed 7 people.
- In December, Adam Lanza killed 26 people, including 20 children at an elementary school in Connecticut. With this most recent shooting, some in the mainstream press began to identify white men as a group that “should be profiled,” a point that Joe Feagin has been making for many years.
- The senseless killing of teenager Trayvon Martin seemed to be case of racial profiling taken to a violent extreme when volunteer neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman perceived the unarmed Martin as a “threat” and shot him.
- Racial Profiling is not only an issue in the U.S., it is also characteristic of policing in France as well.
- In the city where I live, racial profiling combines with racial disparities in marijuana arrests and results in over 400,000 Black and Latino young men needlessly caught up in the criminal justice system each year.
- The Supreme Court heard a case about affirmative action brought against the University of Texas by a white woman who was refused admission.
- Even with the election of Obama, deportations of Black and Latino men based on immigration status continued at an alarming rate, as Tanya wrote about here.
- And, the election of Obama has done little to stem the tide of the racial gaps in wealth and income.
- Gabrielle Douglas won a gold medal in gymnastics at the Olympics, yet faced a huge wave of criticism about her hairstyle, which many saw rooted in racism.
- Jeremy Lin played in the NBA after a less-than-stellar college basketball career, and sparked “Linsanity” from enthusiastic fans; others made racist jokes at his expense.
- There remain significant racial barriers to becoming a coach in the NFL, as Michael R notes here.
- Rodney King, focus of a shocking video of police brutality, and when officers were acquitted in that beating, he famously tried to quell rioting by asking “Can’t we all just get along?” – died. He was 47.
- Russell Means, a leader of the American Indian Movement (AIM), and an Ogala Sioux Indian, died. He was 72.
- The SPLC reported that there has been a resurrgence in hate groups in the years since Obama’s election.
- There was a spate of anti-Asian American racism in the news, perhaps none more tragic than the murder of Danny Chen.
- This year, Microsoft unvieiled – then quietly removed – their “Avoid Ghetto” App meant to help guide presumably white drivers away from “dangerous ghettos” with predominantly Black or Latino residents.
- As the election news spread, so did the racist tweets about Obama. Some clever folks made a map of those racist tweets, and I wrote a critique of it.
- I also created a short video explaining how racism operates in the digital era.
- The gift that just keeps on giving is the change in lineup that happened this year at MSNBC when they (finally!) removed Pat Buchanan and then Melissa Harris-Perry got her own show.
- A major museum in the nation’s capitol featured a show of all African American artists, simply called “30 Americans.”
- And, when an artist made a cake that many viewed as racist, it seemed the whole world spoke out against it.
- Stuff White Girls Say took off and made a point about the racism of white women.
- Similarly, Randy Newman skewered white people in his spoof of his old song “Short People.”
- Somewhat unintentionally, the highly crafted marketing video “Kony 2012″ ended up being about racism as well in its facile portrayal of ‘evil’ in Africa in need of ‘white saviors.’
- Central Park Five - an important, devastating critique of racism.
- Deconstructing Racism – a funder makes a call for documentary filmmakers to address racism.
This short video (3:51) presents data of stop-and-frisks in an interactive, visual format:
This video was created by the really amazing Morris Justice Project. The Morris Justice Project brings together people affected by the NYPD policing practices together with academic researchers to resist criminalization in new ways. This map is just one of those ways.
The Morris Justice Project is an initiative that is part of the Public Science Project at the Graduate Center, CUNY. You can follow updates on the Floyd case at the Morris Justice Project Tumblr, and on Twitter, @public_science.
There is a major court case happening in New York that seeks to challenge the NYPD’s practice of racial profiling through it’s “stop-and-frisk” policing. The case, known as Floyd, et al. v. City of New York, et al., makes the claim that the NYPD’s policy is unconstitutional because it unfairly targets black and Latino people, specifically young men.
According to The Nation:
The NYPD has just surpassed 5 million stop-and-frisks during the Bloomberg era. Most stops have been of people of color, and the overwhelming majority were found innocent of any wrongdoing, according to the department’s own statistics. And though the number of stops may have gone down recently—as pressure on the department and increased awareness of the policy has officers and supervisors thinking twice about how they employ the practice—the existence of quotas ensures that New Yorkers will continue to be harassed unnecessarily by the NYPD.
Not familiar with the “stop-and-frisk” practice? Here’s a video, secretly recorded by someone enduring stop-and-frisk policing from October, 2012 (about 13 minutes – and pardon the oil company advert at the beginning):
I’ll post more here about the Floyd case as it unfolds.
It’s Valentine’s Day. Here in the U.S., the first mass-produced valentines of embossed paper lace were produced and sold in the mid-19th century (about 1847). Now, the Greeting Card Association estimates that some 190 million cards will be exchanged this Valentine’s Day.
(CC image from Flickr user @atbondi)
Of course, we’re living in a digital age now, so Valentine’s Day is marked by a Google Doodle and, for many people, by (re-)subscribing to an online dating service. According to some estimates, more than 20 million people per month use online dating services.
Increasingly, the research indicates that online dating is shaped not only by the desire to find love (for the moment or something more lasting) by race and racism. For example, this research on heterosexual dating and this research on same-sex dating indicates some interesting patterns along racial lines.
The online dating service OKCupid analyzed their internal data by race (in 2010) and found that: “although race shouldn’t matter … it does. A lot.” The way OKCupid works, in case you’ve never dipped your toe in the waters of online dating, is that you set up an ad, or “Profile” describing yourself, your interests, what you’re looking for in a date. Then, when people read your profile, they can send you a “Message” within the site, indicating their interest in you.
What the data show pretty clearly is that in figuring out who gets “messages” and “replies” – or traffic from potential dates – race matters. The patterns for the straight crowd looks like this (from here):
The interesting contradiction is that OKCupid also asks people “Is interracial marriage a bad idea?” and, as with most liberals, the responses are overwhelmingly positive in the direction of “no, not a bad idea” (98% answering in the negative to the question). They also ask “Would you prefer to date someone of your own skin color/racial background?” Again, a huge majority (87%) say no. OKCupid chalks this up to a collective “schizophrenia” about race.
The folks analyzing this data at OKCupid rightfully note that they’re the only ones (among dating sites) releasing this data, and take pains to note that there’s likely nothing uniquely ‘biased’ about their users:
It’s surely not just OkCupid users that are like this. In fact, it’s any dating site (and indeed any collection of people) would likely exhibit messaging biases similar to what [is] written up [here]. According to our internal metrics, at least, OkCupid’s users are better-educated, younger, and far more progressive than the norm, so I can imagine that many sites would actually have worse race stats.
It’s an interesting point that highlights in many ways, how facile our thinking is when it comes to race and racism. We’re stuck, it seems, in the collective myth that “racism” looks like Bull Connor, when in fact, racism can – and often does – appear to be “well educated, younger, and progressive.” As Sharon P. Holland notes in her excellent book, The Erotic Life of Racism (Duke U Press, 2012), these quotidian, daily choices about who we choose to love shape not only individual, personal lives, but also the contours of collective society.
The first Latino and openly gay man to deliver an inaugural poem, Richard Blanco read a powerful poem at the 2013 inaugration of President Barack Obama today. If you’d like to learn more about Blanco, as so many of us did after hearing him read, you can check out this interview with him from PBS Newshour. In case you missed the poem, you can see it in this short (7:14) video:
The transcript of the poem follows.
by Richard Blanco
One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.
My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper—
bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives—
to teach geometry, or ring-up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.
All of us as vital as the one light we move through,
the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:
equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,
the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming,
or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light
breathing color into stained glass windows,
life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth
onto the steps of our museums and park benches
as mothers watch children slide into the day.
One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk
of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat
and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills
in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands
digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands
as worn as my father’s cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes.
The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains
mingled by one wind—our breath. Breathe. Hear it
through the day’s gorgeous din of honking cabs,
buses launching down avenues, the symphony
of footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,
the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.
Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,
or whispers across café tables, Hear: the doors we open
for each other all day, saying: hello, shalom,
buon giorno, howdy, namaste, or buenos días
in the language my mother taught me—in every language
spoken into one wind carrying our lives
without prejudice, as these words break from my lips.
One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed
their majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked
their way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:
weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more report
for the boss on time, stitching another wound
or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,
or the last floor on the Freedom Tower
jutting into a sky that yields to our resilience.
One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn’t give what you wanted.
We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always—home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country—all of us—
facing the stars
hope—a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it—together.
Following the post here by Sharon Chang about racism in children’s toys, there was a whole conversation about that post on Twitter. Jen Jack Gieseking was kind enough to Storify the Tweets in this conversation (Storify is just a say of gathering Tweets and putting them in an easy-to-read order – when you get to the bottom, click where it says ‘read more’). Here’s how that conversation unfolded:
As 2012 draws to a close, I pulled together some of the biggest news in racism for the year.
Election Politics – Of course, much of the year we were focused on the racism in election politics.
White Male Shooters – In some of the saddest news of the year, 2012 was bracketed by white male shooters unleashing violence on innocent strangers.
Racial Profiling – Racial profiling was in the news a great deal this year, and was implicated in at least one death.
Law & Economy – Institutions, such as the law and the economy, are fundamental to the perpetuation of racism.
Athletics – There were some new stars in athletics who faced racism.
Passages – We lost some people who played a role in racial politics.
Personal Essays – We were delighted to post a couple of really moving personal essays from guest bloggers.
Hate & Violence – Overt racist hate and violence continued in 2012.
Technology – Despite claims that Internet technology would usher in a new era in which “there is no race,” racism continues to be built into our technologies.
Culture – Sometimes, when I consider the progress that’s been achieved around racism, I think some of the most important progress is achieved in culture, both popular culture and more rarefied high culture.
Viral Videos – The year 2012 was a good one for viral videos about racism.
Documentaries – I continue to believe that documentaries can be a crucial tool in the effort to bring about racial justice.
May 2013 bring more racial justice!
There is an excellent, devastating, and powerful documentary out now in some theaters and on InDemand on cable, called “The Central Park Five.” The film, by Ken Burns, David McMahon and Sarah Burns, tells the story of the five black and Latino teenagers who, in 1989, were arrested and charged with brutally attacking and raping a white female jogger in Central Park. News media swarmed the case, referring to the incident as a “wilding” and to the young men as a “wolfpack.” The five young men spent years in prison before the truth about what really happened became clear. Here is a short (2:27) trailer:
Go see it if you can get to a theater, or call it up on your cable TV. Even though this documentary was inexplicably not included in the short list for Academy Awards, I’m certain that this film will be important in college classrooms for many years to come.
Today, the National Rifle Association (NRA), the powerful, pro-gun lobbying organization, held a press conference in which the head of the organization, Wayne LaPierre, offered a stunningly tone-deaf set of proposals in the wake of last week’s events at a Newtown, CT in which 26 people died when an armed man opened fire in an elementary school.
LaPierre today proposed several actions as a response including: a national database of all people with diagnosed mental illness (38 states already have that) and an armed volunteer guard in every school. To say that the proposal is unrealistic, is to understate the reality. Early estimates are that the proposal to place ‘armed volunteer guards’ in all 99,000 schools in the US would cost an estimated $18 billion dollars. (No word on the estimated cost for the pernicious database.)
Mike Bloomberg, mayor of NYC and outspoken proponent of gun control, called LaPierre’s speech a “paranoid, dystopian vision” of our society. I don’t always agree with Bloomberg, but he’s right in this instance. LaPierre’s claim that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with gun,” is not only offensive in terms of gender, especially given the heroic women who died trying to save their young students in Newtown, it also belies the NRA’s racial assumptions.
The archived video(s) of An Exploration of Whiteness and Health A Roundtable Discussion
is available beginning here (updated 12/16/12):
The examination of whiteness in the scholarly literature is well established (Fine et al., 1997; Frankenberg, 1993; Hughey, 2010; Twine and Gallagher, 2008). Whiteness, like other racial categories, is socially constructed and actively maintained through the social boundaries by, for example, defining who is white and is not white (Allen, 1994; Daniels, 1997; Roediger, 2007; Wray, 2006). The seeming invisibility of whiteness is one of its’ central mechanisms because it allows those within the category white to think of themselves as simply human, individual and without race, while Others are racialized (Dyer, 1998). We know that whiteness shapes housing (Low, 2009), education (Leonardo, 2009), politics (Feagin, 2012), law (Lopez, 2006), research methods (Zuberi and Bonilla-Silva, 2008) and indeed, frames much of our misapprehension of society (Feagin, 2010; Lipsitz, 1998). Still, we understand little of how whiteness and health are connected. Being socially assigned as white is associated with large and statistically significant advantages in health status (Jones et al., 2008). Anderson’s ground breaking book The Cultivation of Whiteness (2006) offers an exhaustive examination of the way whiteness was deployed as a scientific and medical category in Australia though to the second world war. Yet, there is relatively little beyond this that explores the myriad connections between whiteness and health (Daniels and Schulz, 2006; Daniels, 2012; Katz Rothman, 2001). References listed here.
The Whiteness & Health Roundtable is an afternoon conversation with scholars and activists doing work on this area.
The roundtable is sponsored by the Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC) and the Critical Social & Environmental Psychology program at the Graduate Center CUNY. The event is hosted by Michelle Fine (Distinguished Professor, Social Psychology, Women’s Studies and Urban Education), Jessie Daniels (Professor, Urban Public Health and Sociology) and Rachel Liebert, (PhD Student, Critical Social/Personality Psychology).
With the re-election of President Obama, white people who rooted for the other guy took to various forms of digital media and unleashed their disappointment. Some white folks went a good deal farther than disappointment into overt racism, like this white woman from California who posted her racism on Facebook. Jezebel pulled together a rogues’ gallery of racist tweets.
The gallery at Jezebel prompted some geographers to create a map of all the racist tweets.
The enterprising folks at Floating Sheep used software they created called DOLLY to collect geocoded tweets for the week beginning November 1. In other words, it’s possible to search Twitter by both location and key word (some other examples here). If I understand it correctly, the DOLLY software allows this search process to be further refined to get data at a more granular level.
What they came up with is a map that allows us to understand, at a glance, how these everyday acts of overt racism are spatially distributed in the U.S.
This is valuable work and just the kind of thing that I'd think sociologists would be interested in doing (but I digress, slightly). The methodology here, buried in the footnotes on the original post, is a worth exploring a little further.
The research questions they pose are: "Are racist tweets relatively evenly distributed? Or, do some states have higher specializations in racist tweets?"
To answer these questions, they sampled the universe of tweets. Specifically, they: "collected tweets that contained the text 'monkey' or 'nigger' AND also contain the text 'Obama' OR 'reelected' OR 'won.' A quick, and very unsettling, examination of the search results revealed that this indeed was a good match for our target of election-related hate speech. We end up with a total of 395 of some of the nastiest tweets you might possibly imagine. And given that we're talking about the Internet, that is really saying something."
Following that, they took the number of "hate tweets" by state and divided by the total number in the U.S., that became the numerator. Then, they got their denominator by doing the same for all the tweets in the state, divided by all the tweets in the U.S., which is easier to understand expressed as a formula:
(# of ALL Tweets in State / # of ALL Tweets in USA)
Based on this, they assign a number, or a Location Quotient (LQ), for "Post Election Racist Tweets." They then rank order states based on their LQ's.
The results they end up with (Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia end up with 3 highest LQ scores) are less interesting than their map and clever methodology. In their analysis, the writers do well to note that the "prevalence of post-election racist tweets is not strictly a southern phenomenon," but the ranking of the LQ scores by states makes the opposite case.
I want to suggest here that the problem is two-fold: 1) the way the research question is posed and 2) the state-level of analysis.
The researchers here frame their question in terms of state boundaries and posit something of a false dichotomy between "even distribution" of racist tweets on the one hand, and, "states that specialize" in racist tweets on the other hand. As anyone who has taken an undergraduate methods class can tell you, this research question shapes the kind of data collection you do, and the analysis you come up with at the end.
The state-level of analysis here is something of a distraction. I understand that since we just went through a presidential election, people are thinking in terms of "states" - swing states, blue states, red states, who carried the state - but here, it makes less sense.
What I see when I look at this map are population centers. Take my home state, of Texas. The red dots there are clustered around places where there's population density - Houston, Dallas, and more along the I-35 corridor. And, compare that to where I live now, on the East Coast. There are red dots all along the Northeast corridor of I-95. At a glance, it looks like racist tweets are not evenly distributed across the U.S. but are concentrated where white people live.
Again, let me say, I appreciate this work immensely, but I think that the state-level questions are the least interesting, and ultimately least revealing set of questions for mapping racism through digital media. Instead, I'd be interested in seeing some other basic demographic info about percentage of white people in the population and the proportion of racist tweets. My guess is that the LQ is highest where there is the highest proportion of white people, but that, as academics are so fond of saying, is an empirical question worth investigating.
More in posts to come on calling out racism in digital media, and the growing backlash against it.