LIE Links

From the blog Intercultural Talk: Your 7 year old child who is white hesitates to shake someone’s hand who is African-American. Your first grader tells another student she’s “a lesbian with her sister.” You were there. You weren’t there. You are the most open, anti-racist, multicultural person you know. Where did your child get this from?

I’ve seen stories about these moments (remember the children’s summer camp that was asked to leave the Country Club pool last summer). These articles rightly so express the pain of the child/parent, who is black, and astonishment, denial and/or defensiveness of the offender or offender’s parents who are white.

But what seems missing is the doorway to learning that this opens for the white child. Without discussion, what the white child may glean is A) they’ve talked about race, B.) all the adults have freaked out, and, C) by the transitive theory in math, where if A=B and B=C then A=C…then talking about race freaks people out so don’t ever do it again.

And that, my friend, is the perfect formula for passing unconscious bias, prejudice, and funky racial dynamics onto the next generation. Read more…

From the blog Los Angelista’s Guide to the Pursuit of Happiness: “What box did you check on the census?”

It’s been six days since the White House shared that President Obama checked the “Black, African-American, or Negro” box on the U.S. Census. In those six days, several nosy people have taken it upon themselves to ask me what I checked on a confidential government form.

I’m the tricky type to throw such a rude question back on these folks with, “What do you think I checked?”

“Black? Or… black and white?”

I can’t help but push things a bit by saying stuff like, “Actually, I only checked “white” because I filled the census out on St. Patrick’s Day and I was really feeling my Irish heritage.”

People don’t like that response. They’ve never liked that response. But that’s OK because what I’ve realized, and what I’m sure Barack Obama knows, is that no matter what box -or combination of boxes- I check, somebody somewhere is gonna have their panties in a bunch over it. Read more…

And because Liz mentioned it in her post about the census above…

Dr. Maria Root’s Bill of Rights for People of Mixed Heritage:

Not to justify my existence in this world.
Not to keep the races separate within me.
Not to justify my ethnic legitimacy.
Not to be responsible for people’s discomfort with
my physical or ethnic ambiguity.

Read more…

From the blog Harlow’s Monkey:

Over the past several days, of course like everyone else, I have been catching news stories here and there about the 7-year old Russian adoptee who was sent packing back to Russia after his adoptive mom decided she couldn’t handle parenting the child after a few months. This morning I happened to see both CBS’s morning show and NBC’s Today show segments.

What gets me is how much of a “consumer reports” story this has become. Read more…

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About Tami

Tami Winfrey Harris writes about race, feminism, politics and pop culture at the blog What Tami Said. Her work has also appeared online at The Guardian’s Comment is Free, Ms. Magazine blog, Newsweek,, Huffington Post and Racialicious. She is a graduate of the Iowa State University Greenlee School of Journalism. She is mom to two awesome stepkids and spends her spare time researching her family history and cultivating a righteous 'fro.
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