Thinking about privilege — the unearned benefits that we enjoy in society as a result of being White or male or Christian — may not seem crucial, but the potential payoff is the ability to make sense of our relationships, connect across differences, and make the world better in the process.
Like speculative fiction in general, superhero stories are ultimately about ourselves. The fictional universes allow the writers to manipulate the circumstances to better examine the most complex aspects of the human experience, none more so than the issues of morality and justice.
Recently, I was invited to contribute a short section for a book on race and ethnicity that defined "whiteness". I couldn't resist, in part because I was quite sure that there would be no similar entries for "blackness" or "Asian-ness". Whiteness, you see, is a unique concept and explaining it poses unique challenges. Here is my attempt, in 500 words.
Nietzsche observed (about those who fight monsters), "If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." Is Lisbeth Salander really safer as a result of taking vengeance? Are the rest of us?
Lisbeth Salander's anger is righteous. Her violence apparently justified. After all, we neither mourn for the monsters that heroes kill, nor question their choice to kill them. But is there anything she might have done that might have served both her and society better?
With Davis's execution just hours away, it is time to not only take immediate action to save his life (see last tweet) but to examine the system of capital punishment more broadly, a system that is racially biased beyond a reasonable doubt.
White men "keeping order and control" over Black women's bodies, while at the same time using those same bodies for their own sexual gratification has a long and painful history in this country. Are the women and police officers in this video aware that they are playing out the slavery script?
The biggest change in the transition from neighborhood to franchise is the relentless squeeze on what, from the point of view of profits, is the most expendable and expensive part of the exchange system: the interaction with a competent, experienced human being.
Sometimes the conversations we shy away from having with our kids are exactly the ones we most need to have. Professor of media, culture, and communication, Charlton McIlwain, hopes his new website, Kids on Color, helps families do just that.
The X-Men franchise draws deliberate parallels between the oppression of mutants and that of other marginalized groups. What does it have to teach us about our own culture's racial history and prejudices?
The problem with truth is that it can be just as destructive as a lie, sometimes more so. This is self-evident for most adults. That's why we have the concept and vocabulary of a "white lie." Yet, when it comes to racism and anti-Semitism, "truth" and "facts" are frequently assumed to trump any other argument. They don't. Consider this a manifesto against truth.
A new study suggests that smiling is seen as sexually attractive on women but not on men. The findings explain some enduring widely-believed phenomena and raise interesting questions about inter-racial attraction.
Kanazawa's claims aside, there is no single "objective" standard of beauty. The adage that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is incomplete. Sure, there are individual differences. The point is that there are also group differences, not in attractiveness (as Kanazawa claims), but in cultural messages about what is and is not attractive.
Do race-based scholarships (and race-based affirmative action in admissions) ultimately do more harm than good for both students of color and for our society? Two race-bloggers discuss the "whites-only" scholarships and their implications for scholarships targeting students of color.
Sure, we all want complex, realistic non-white and non-straight characters, but what if writing such characters is simply not part of that particular writer's repertoire? Do we still want those writers to take their best shot (knowing they won't come up to snuff), or would we rather they just leave those "minority" groups out altogether?
One of the defining characteristics of monsters is that they don't have redeeming qualities. The moment we begin to like or sympathize with any part of the monster, it is no longer a monster but a flawed being. What, then, are we to make of Kanye West's new video?
Mikhail Lyubansky, Ph.D., teaches in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He teaches, studies, and writes about race relations, conflict, and restorative justice.
This blog is primarily about race. The name comes from a DuBois quote: "The problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color-line." Between the Lines thus refers to interactions across racial lines. Since many such interactions are "coded", the name also implies that understanding/engaging in such interactions requires us to not only attend to explicit content but to also read "between the lines".