Notes from the Golden Orange
EppsNet Archive: Race
13 Jul 2016 / Paul Epps
When the country elected Barack Obama president in 2008, those of us who disagreed with many of his policy ideas were nonetheless consoled by the fact that his victory illustrated that America had moved well beyond institutional racism. Certainly the fact that Obama had succeeded in both a hard-fought Democratic primary and a general election meant that the country was ready to move past the intense focus on race in our national politics. Boy, were we wrong!
2 Jul 2016 / Hostile Witness
You must be very proud of your son’s speech at the BET Awards. I’ve tried to teach my son the same things: whine, complain, make excuses, blame your own shortcomings on others, and gratuitously insult people based on their skin color.
8 Jun 2016 / Paul Epps
All I’m hearing about the last few days is Donald Trump and a Mexican judge and racism.
“Mexican” isn’t a race. It’s a nationality, like “Italian” or “Irish.” It’s a reference to a person’s heritage.
Just FYI, everybody . . .
21 May 2016 / Hostile Witness
New poll finds 9 in 10 Native Americans aren’t offended by Redskins name — The Washington Post
Man, am I sick of people who get offended on behalf of a group they don’t belong to, projecting their own phony outrage on the group members and their own biases on non-group members.
In light of the poll results, non-Native American opponents of the Redskin name seem to have changed their position slightly to say that Native Americans are in fact being offended but are too dumb to realize it.
15 May 2016 / Paul Epps
Dear Amy: I am a happily married 27-year-old woman about to have my first baby, and I am terrified because it isn’t my husband’s baby.
Last spring, another woman and I took a trip to the Bahamas. At the hotel I had a massage and was seduced by the masseur. I tried to resist, but I guess I got carried away. I sort of cooperated once things got started.
After some prenatal tests, my doctor recently told me that the baby’s blood type is different from both my husband’s and mine, which means the baby is not his. When the baby is born, it will be very obvious: My husband and I are white, and the masseur is black.
I can’t tell my husband; I think that he would leave me. It’s too late for an abortion. What can I do? Please advise me.
25 Feb 2016 / Paul Epps
28 Sep 2008
I took my son to the bookstore to buy To Kill a Mockingbird for his English class. They had two paperback editions available — one with a fancy binding for $15.95 and another one for three dollars less.
I pulled the cheaper one off the shelf and my son asked, “Why are we getting that one?”
I said, “Because it’s three dollars less for the same book.”
“I like the other cover better,” he said.
“Gimme three dollars.”
23 Oct 2008
FATHER: Would you take out the trash please?
SON: Are you KIDDING?! I’m doing homework! I’ll take out the trash if you read To Kill a Mockingbird and tell me what each chapter is about.
FATHER: I’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird. You want to know what it’s about? ‘Racism is Bad.’ Now take out the garbage.
RIP Harper Lee
21 Feb 2016 / Paul Epps
[Developmental psychologist Emmy Werner] found that several elements predicted resilience. Some elements had to do with luck: a resilient child might have a strong bond with a supportive caregiver, parent, teacher, or other mentor-like figure. But another, quite large set of elements was psychological, and had to do with how the children responded to the environment. From a young age, resilient children tended to “meet the world on their own terms.” They were autonomous and independent, would seek out new experiences, and had a “positive social orientation.” “Though not especially gifted, these children used whatever skills they had effectively,” Werner wrote. Perhaps most importantly, the resilient children had what psychologists call an “internal locus of control”: they believed that they, and not their circumstances, affected their achievements. The resilient children saw themselves as the orchestrators of their own fates. In fact, on a scale that measured locus of control, they scored more than two standard deviations away from the standardization group.
Something to think about if you’re positioning yourself as a victim of circumstances, or telling others, including children, that they are victims of circumstances, that their efforts will not be rewarded fairly, that powerful forces are conspiring to keep them down, etc.
Granted, most or all of the people in the second group seem to be in it for personal aggrandizement, i.e., You can’t make it in America so you need me to make a big fuss on your behalf and get handsomely paid for it, either in the form of money or in political power.
11 Feb 2016 / Paul Epps
Don’t hesitate to vote with your uterus. — Hillary Clinton (paraphrased)
“Women should vote for women” is a loser mentality. I’m glad to see that it’s not working.
The Clinton camp is also tagging as “sexist” criticism that isn’t remotely sexist, just as criticism of President Obama is routinely tagged as “racist,” as though there’s no substantive reason why anyone would not like these two people.
I’m not a Bernie Sanders fan but I haven’t heard Sanders or anyone affiliated with him even one time mention that he’s Jewish, that he’d be the first Jewish president, that all Jews should vote for him or that criticism of him is anti-semitic.
5 Feb 2016 / Paul Epps
On this date in 1917, Congress overrode President Woodrow Wilson’s veto of the previous week and passed the Immigration Act of 1917, which, among other provisions, introduced a period of near complete exclusion of Asian immigration to the United States.
Not that life was a bed of roses for Asian immigrants before 1917. Asian laborers were sought out for demanding and dangerous railroad jobs involving explosives. The phrase “Chinaman’s chance,” meaning little to no chance at all, dates from this period. Asians were not allowed American citizenship and were frequent victims of hostility and violence with no legal recourse.
For example, in 1854, George W. Hall was convicted of murdering a Chinese man. On appeal to the State Supreme Court the decision was overturned because all of the evidence against him was from Chinese individuals.
According to the Supreme Court ruling, the Chinese “recogniz[ed] no laws … except through necessity, [brought] with them their prejudices and national feuds, in which they indulge[d] in open violation of law.”
The court also noted that their “mendacity is proverbial; [that they were] a race of people whom nature has marked as inferior, and who are incapable of progress or intellectual development beyond a certain point … [and they would not be granted] the right to swear away the life of a citizen, … [or] the … privilege of participating with us in administering the affairs of our Government.”
After the Immigration Act of 1917, existing Asian immigrants were excluded from employment by racial hostility and increasingly moved into self-employment as laundry workers, store and restaurant owners, traders and merchants. Chinese immigrants congregated in Chinatowns established in California and elsewhere.
Between 1942 and 1946, 110,000 to 120,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated in internment camps. About two-thirds of those interned were second- and third-generation citizens by birth.
Sixty-two years of Chinese exclusion ended in 1943 with the passage of the Magnuson Act, which allowed a quota of 105 persons to immigrate each year. Yes, that is the correct number — 105 Chinese immigrants per year. In 1946, the Luce–Celler Act provided for an annual quota of 100 immigrants per year from the Philippines and India.
Token immigration quotas remained in effect until the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 abolished the quota system based on national origins.
In the last 50 years, Asians have risen to the top socio-economic levels of American society, proving once again that what happens to you is not nearly as important as how you react to it.
Asian-Americans seem to be focused on keeping their families together and making sure their kids get a good education, rather than peddling grievances about the past or even the present, e.g., Why are Asians not being nominated for Academy Awards? or Why has there never been an Asian president?
31 Jan 2016 / Paul Epps
There’s a miniseries coming out called The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. I’m not going to watch it, not for any singular reason — I don’t watch other TV shows either — but I don’t remember the Simpson trial having a great deal of entertainment value.
- The trial proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Simpson was guilty, even though a guilty verdict was not returned.
- Eight of the 12 trial jurors were black women. The prosecution believed that the jurors would identify with the female victim. The defense team believed that the jurors would identify with the black murderer. The defense was right.
- Conventional wisdom says that anyone who can’t get out of a lengthy term of jury service is not very bright. Only two of the Simpson jurors had a college degree. One never finished high school. The prosecution bored and confused them with DNA evidence. The defense gave them a nursery rhyme. You know the result.
19 Jan 2016 / Hostile Witness
From the Washington Post:
From the Los Angeles Times:
From the Wall Street Journal:
Why don’t Asians seem to care about the Oscar whiteness crisis that continues to rage unabated? Maybe they’re too busy with jobs and school . . .
6 Dec 2015 / Paul Epps
Americans are the fattest, dumbest people on earth . . . and because being fat and dumb are remediable given the proper motivation, it’s fair to say that Americans are also the most unmotivated people on earth.
This is not to say that all Americans are fat, dumb and unmotivated. There’s a subset of Americans who get up every morning, brush their teeth, go to work, excel at what they do, come home, set the alarm and get up and do it again tomorrow. And take care of their families. These people are carrying the rest of the country on their backs.
But for the average American, the best explanation for his or her life being the way it is is likely to be “I’m fat, dumb and unmotivated.” That’s a pretty tough admission to spit out though so most of us look around for something more palatable to sell to ourselves and others, like (if you’re a non-white person) “white privilege.”
There’s no way to have a polite conversation around phrases like “white privilege” because no one likes being categorized into a group and then insulted as an undifferentiated mass. If you’re tempted to use “white privilege” in a conversation as something other than a provocation or an alibi, help out your listeners by saying what it means to you and provide some recent examples from your own life.
I have to admit that the concept of white privilege doesn’t resonate with me given the benefits that have accrued to me personally as a white person (none that I know of) and the frequency with which I personally observe behavior that strikes me as racially motivated (never).
Barack Obama was elected in 2012 with 51 percent of the popular vote — 66 million people willing to hire a black man to the most powerful job in the country. And that’s an artificially low number because not everyone of voting age actually votes. In 2012, more than 100 million eligible voters did not vote.
Projecting 51 percent Obama support over the entire voting-age population gives us a number well over 100 million. (If you don’t like the 51 percent assumption, note that Obama would really only need the support of 34 percent of the 100 million non-voters to reach 100 million total supporters, and I don’t think a case can be made that his support among non-voters was below 34 percent.)
All the white privilege in the world doesn’t erase the fact that if you’re a black American, there are at least 100 million people willing to give you a chance to prove yourself. And you don’t need 100 million people, you probably only need one.
6 Oct 2015 / The Programmer
That is the question posed in, among other places, the October 2015 issue of Communications of the ACM.
Since gender is no longer a biological imperative connected to one’s physical anatomy, there’s now a simple answer to this. Men (and women, but that’s not relevant to this question) can identify as either gender, independent of reproductive organs and chromosomes, and a thoughtful consideration of the uniqueness and validity of every person’s experiences of self requires a societal stamp of approval.
Google or Facebook or any organization that wants to improve its gender diversity metrics can offer some modest incentive (could be financial, could be you use the women’s locker room at the company gym … use your imagination!) for workers to identify as female. Have a 50 percent female workforce by Friday!
Now that I’ve written this down I’m thinking that maybe I should be starting up a diversity consulting firm rather than giving the idea away for nothing. Room for expansion: Racial identity is fluid now as well (see here and here).
Thus spoke The Programmer.
7 Jun 2015 / Paul Epps
Michael Wang had a 4.67 GPA and a perfect ACT score. He placed first in the state of California at the AMC 12 – a nationwide mathematics competition. He performed with the San Francisco opera company, and sang in a choir that performed at Barack Obama’s first inauguration. He volunteered his free time to tutor underprivileged children.
I saw recently that a local kid from Fullerton High School here in Orange County was accepted at all eight Ivy League Schools. His name is Fernando Rojas.
Here’s another young man, Harold Ekeh, who was also accepted at all eight Ivy League schools:
Last year, Kwasi Enin was accepted at all eight Ivy League schools:
A study by Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade examined applicants to top colleges from 1997, when the maximum SAT score was 1600 (today it’s 2400). Espenshade found that Asian-Americans needed a 1550 SAT to have an equal chance of getting into an elite college as white students with a 1410 or black students with an 1100. I suspect that disparity has, if anything, widened.
If you’re Asian and applying to Ivy League schools, don’t hesitate to check the box next to “Black” or “Hispanic.” Or Eskimo. Eskimos are kind of Asian-looking.
12 Feb 2015 / Paul Epps
Next month marks the 50th anniversary of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report on the black family, the controversial document issued while he served as an assistant secretary in President Lyndon Johnson’s Labor Department. Moynihan highlighted troubling cultural trends among inner-city blacks, with a special focus on the increasing number of fatherless homes.
For his troubles, Moynihan was denounced as a victim-blaming racist bent on undermining the civil-rights movement. . . .
Later this year the nation also will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which some consider the most significant achievement of the modern-day civil-rights movement. . . .
Since 1970 the number of black elected officials in the U.S. has grown to more than 9,000 from fewer than 1,500 and has included big-city mayors, governors, senators and of course a president.
But even as we note this progress, the political gains have not redounded to the black underclass, which by several important measures—including income, academic achievement and employment—has stagnated or lost ground over the past half-century. And while the civil-rights establishment and black political leaders continue to deny it, family structure offers a much more plausible explanation of these outcomes than does residual white racism.
In 2012 the poverty rate for all blacks was more than 28%, but for married black couples it was 8.4% and has been in the single digits for two decades. Just 8% of children raised by married couples live in poverty, compared with 40% of children raised by single mothers.
One important lesson of the past half-century is that counterproductive cultural traits can hurt a group more than political clout can help it.
31 Jan 2015 / Satan
[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE]
Greetings from the underworld!
I just read about a father and son teaming up to punch out the son’s high school basketball coach because the teen wasn’t getting enough playing time.
What a heartwarming story! A lot of young black men don’t have a male role model in their lives.
See you in Hell . . .
27 Jan 2015 / Paul Epps
Why does a Civil Rights Bill forbid me to apply racial criteria when I choose an employee but allow me to apply racial criteria when I choose an employer? If I turn down a job offer, should I be required to prove that my motives were not discriminatory? … Why am I permitted to apply racial criteria when I select a spouse but not when I select a personal assistant?
22 Dec 2014 / Hostile WitnessNext Page »
According to an article titled “The Thing About White Privilege,” “job applicants with white sounding names are 50% more likely to receive a callback for a job interview than applicants with black-sounding names, even when all job-related qualifications and credentials are the same.”
What happens when someone with an Asian sounding name applies for a job? Serious question. Does the answer support a white privilege theory? What about someone with an Indian sounding name? A Middle Eastern sounding name? A Jewish sounding name? Test your theories against reality rather than just slinging bullshit and ignoring information that inconveniences you.
P.S. I followed the link above and learned that “applicants with white names needed to send about 10 resumes to get one callback; those with African-American names needed to send around 15 resumes to get one callback.” That’s 10 percent vs. about 7 percent. Anyone who thinks “50% more likely” is the best way to express that is up to some shenanigans.