Many of you have probably seen the recent anti-Asian rant released by UCLA student Alexandra Wallace. In it, she says that “hordes” of Asians who are admitted to UCLA inappropriately bring their parents along and obnoxiously speak foreign languages in the library (“Oooooooh! Ching chong, ling long, ting tong!? Ooooooh!”). And she compares them to herself, the “polite, nice, American girl that my momma raised me to be.”

Okay so yes, this is what racism looks like. It’s also what sexism looks like. People who objected to Wallace’s video (as they should), often did so with sexist language, including these examples collected by Caroline Heldman for Ms. magazine:

  • “I bet her grades match her cup size.”
  • “i have big tits and gave the dean a blowjob to get into UCLA is all I hear.”

But the most interesting thing I’ve heard about Wallace’s video and the response came from What Tami Said.  Tami suggested that all the shock and outrage regarding Wallace’s racism was naive, at best, and delusional, at worst.  Expressing shock, she said, may be a way to spice up a headline.  Or, it might be reflective of a belief among some that this sort of racism doesn’t exist anymore.  Or, she speculates, expressing shock may be a way for people to distance themselves from people like Wallace, a way for them to advertise the notion that they aren’t racist.

Tami’s insight is that the language of shock deserves analysis in itself.  What does it mean that we’re expressing shock when events like this on college campuses are rather routine (e.g., see “Conquistabros and Navajos,” “Compton Cookouts,” and other race-mocking parties).

In any case, she doesn’t think it’s helpful:

I get that few understand “isms” like marginalized people… But, for God’s sake pay attention! You needn’t be victim to oppression to know it exists. I submit that if you are truly shocked in the face of racism and sexism and homophobia and transphobia and other injustices, then you are as big a problem as the perpetrators of same. Because people who persist in being unaware of “isms” create an environment where ridiculous people like Amanda Wallace and, more importantly, people with far greater power and influence can conduct their bigotry unchallenged.


Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

In this four-minute video, Dwayne McDuffie describes what it’s like being a Black comic book writer:

Related, see Hennessey Youngman on being a black artist.

Via Racialicious.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Karma Japan and Ignorant and Online are new sites, featured at BoingBoing, dedicated to collecting tweets and Facebook status updates that suggest that the tsunami in Japan is karmic: pay-off for supposed Japanese sins.  The guilt ascribed to Japan ranges from their hunting and eating dolphins and whales and their bombing of Pearl Harbor especially, but also things like their rate of atheism and their politics.  But all have in common the notion that the Japanese deserve what has happened and that mother nature/God herself is against Japan and ensuring that the society is punished.  A fascinating peek into the minds of these Americans.


Trigger Warning: These comments are hateful and vulgar (and in pretty large font if you’re at work).


From Karma Japan:

The rest after the jump:


Today, most Americans grow up in racially (and economically) segregated communities. When these same students come to college, however, many will live, work, and take courses with individuals who do not share their ethnic and class background. For many of these students, it will be the first time in their life to have any meaningful contact across difference.

Unfortunately, the racial harmony presented in recruitment materials is usually greatly exaggerated. Students of color experience daily racial microaggressions. Campus Safety officers often mistake them for non-students (at best) and trespassing criminals (at worst). Professors butcher their names and ignore them during most of the term (excluding the few days when the discussion shifts to hip-hop or colonization). White students dress up as People of Color for Halloween and numerous “themed” social gatherings (e.g., “Conquistabros and Navajos,” “Compton Cookouts,” and other race-mocking parties). Residence halls and bathroom stalls are consistently vandalized with racial epithets.

Unlike their homogeneous neighborhoods, then, college students are confronted with the reality of race every day.  Suddenly the myths of racial harmony and colorblindness are whisked away by institutional inequity, intergroup conflict, and hostile campus climates.

And on those campuses in which university leaders fail to think proactively about race, the inevitable dynamics of racism are left to be tackled by 18-24 year olds; the same 18-24 year olds who are encountering racial difference for the first time in their lives.  As the great drama of race plays out in campus newspapers, dorm rooms, classrooms, and off-campus parties. Racial identity, values, and beliefs take center stage in the minds of most students, often for the first time.

(confession borrowed from PostSecret)

Kenjus Watson is the Assistant Director of the Intergroup Dialogue Program and teaches courses in the Psychology Department at Occidental College.  He received a Masters of Education from Penn State University with an emphasis in diversity and social justice-oriented Student Affairs.  He writes about issues of race, gender, and sexuality in higher education.

Via Colorlines I discovered an Applied Research Center report titled The Color of Food.  The report found that Blacks, Latinos, and Asians were overrepresented in food service work:

The report also discovered a wage gap between White workers and non-White workers at every level of food production:

Race intersected with gender, such that women earned less than men of their same race for each group studied:

The authors go on to break down the data further by each part of the commodity food chain — production, processing, distribution and service — and by racial group.  For example, they show that the average wage of Latinos and Asians differs by ethnic background (always a good reminder that racial categories obscure variability):

Lots more at The Color of Food.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

New-ish data from the Pew Research Center suggests that inter-racial and -ethnic marriages are on the rise due to cohort changes.  First, the report shows that people who were newly married in 2008 were more likely to be married to someone of a different racial or ethnic group:

This trend is likely facilitated by greater acceptance of intermarriage.  According to the report, in 1987 less than half of Americans said it was okay for White and Black people to date each other, by 2009 that number had risen to 83%.  Among 18- to 32-year-olds, 93% approve.

Among Pew’s respondents, 63% said that they approved of inter-racial and -ethnic marriages without reservation and another 17% said that they approved of at least one type of intermarriage, but not others.  Still, overall acceptance of intermarriage still aligns with the familiar racial hierarchy in that Americans are more comfortable with outmarriages to Whites, than to Asians, Hispanics, and especially Blacks.

Acceptance of inter-racial and -ethnic marriage is on the rise, then, in part because younger people are more accepting of it than older people.  Acceptance, however, still reflects a color-based racial hierarchy.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

While the quintessential Old West “cowboy” is White in most imaginations, in fact there were Black pioneers in the west during the wild days (usually dated mid-1800s till the end of the century).  According to wikipedia, thousands of Black men and women lived in mostly segregated communities in the West, but participated in all parts of Western society.  They were traders, gold miners, soldiers, cowboys and farm hands, bartenders, cooks, and, of course, outlaws.   I enjoy how these photographs color American history:

Identity unknown, around 1865, Kansas (source):

Nona Marshall, late 1800s, Arizona territory (source):

Black cowboys (1890-1920):

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Kristina K. sent in a link to an interactive map at the New York Times that shows the results of Gallup’s 2010 polls of well-being. [UPDATE: Reader Danielle pointed out I forgot to provide a link to the map. Sorry! You can find it here.] Gallup surveys 1,000 people per day about a variety of indicators of well-being, including questions about physical, mental, and emotional health, various health-related behaviors, ability to access health care, access to adequate food and housing, and perceptions of their communities. Here are the overall composite scores, by congressional district (a higher score is better):


The general geographic pattern indicates a swath of relatively low well-being curving from Louisiana up through Michigan, while those in the upper Great Plains and the inter-mountain West are doing better than average.

Percent reporting experiencing a lot of stress:

Percent who have ever been told they have depression:

Of course, this may reflect differences in rates of depression, but it could also reflect differences in medical professionals’ likelihood of identifying a set of symptoms as depression and bringing it up with a patient. For example, we see significant differences by state in the frequency of Caesarean sections among pregnant women.

Percent of people who smoke:

Percent reporting an inability to buy sufficient food:

The Gallup page on well-being presents more data. Here is a map of 2009 overall well-being that is a bit easier to read since it’s presented by state rather than congressional district:

Hawaii had the highest overall score, at 70.2; West Virginia had the lowest, 60.5. If you go to their site and click on a state, you can get a breakdown of scores in each area (emotional well-being, physical health, healthy behaviors, and so on).

Finally, the NYT provides some demographic information on who was most likely to have said they spent a lot of the previous day laughing or smiling vs. being sad: