Tag Archives: race

Emil Guillermo: Haters will be haters? I’ll have my race conversation VENTI, please; Why racist “micro-aggressions” may necessitate Starbuck’s “micro-engagements.”

I know you’re grumpy in the morning. But is there really any reason for the backlash against a company that for once is trying to exhibit a little corporate responsibility?

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When I first heard of CEO Howard Schultz’s idea, I at first was as snarky and as skeptical as the next guy. But his sincere belief of trying to change the country “one cup at a time” with an attempt to engage on race is pretty daring. And right.  When I think of the last racist transgression I encountered, it’s always some passing remark that no one thinks twice about. Except the person of color. They’re called “micro-aggressions.”

They’re really snap judgments. Racist ones.  And people of color experience them all the time. All the time.

How do you cut them off at the pass?

Maybe Starbucks’ “micro-engagements” are the best way?  No one expects you to go deep all the time on race. A little passing acknowledgement of the issue, may slowly nudge us all to a different level in the discourse. It just may build the empathy we should all be seeking. But it starts with conversation. Why wait for the next major race news story? Start with a small positive engagement.

You can always pass. Politely say, “No thanks.” But it’s an opportunity to chat while waiting. Or to chat while sitting at a table.

Go ahead and dis the idea. But that just says something about the “post-racial” society, doesn’t it?

But maybe this is progress. Suddenly, I’m seeing all these odd-coffee mates on the same side. Even The Nation has something negative and snarky to say about this.

Now this is odd: the left and the right on the same side on a race issue?  Are they steaming about not buying SBUX before the split? They might as well talk while having their venti latte.

See how to have a real race conversation in my piece here.

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Emil Guillermo’s Amok PODCAST: Todd Endo calls in from Selma about being at the 50th anniversary of the historic marches

toddendomarchingAsian American activist Todd Endo was in Selma 50 years ago, just as he  was at the march on Washington in 1963 to hear Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech.  (I took this photo of him at the 50th anniversary of that march in 2015).

This weekend, Endo called in from Selma where he attended the big anniversary of the marches there.  We talked about what he felt then and now,  about what he saw, and the Asian Americans at the event, including a Chinese American who was also at Selma in 1965.

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New #SCOTUS ruling on affirmative action passes the buck and says let voters decide

The best possible spin on the Supreme Court’s decision on affirmative action in Michigan is that it doesn’t end affirmative action.

The decision did not say affirmative action was unconstitutional.

It merely narrowly decided that Prop.2, the Michigan initiative that voters passed to end race-based affirmative action in that state could be applied and that the equal protection clause was not violated.

It even sounds good. Let the voters decide, right?

OK, but why do we leave it to the voters to decide on that issue and that issue alone, and not on every single item that the University officials oversee?

Why take that power away from the professional educators?

As I went through the 6-2 opinion, I wasn’t that surprised that someone liberal like Breyer would vote with Kennedy, Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas.

Breyer stated he was for some forms of affirmative action, but didn’t see why the voters shouldn’t be allowed to weigh in.

But then there was Sotomayor’s lengthy dissent, which took the hardline, that this ruling indeed was setting up the situation where down the line we might  see the tyranny of the majority, and see the violation of minority rights under the equal protection clause.

That’s what was at stake here.

The majority of justices seemed happy enough to see the voters figure out where they stand on affirmative action.

After reading Sotomayor’s minority dissent, I’m not sure if that’s such a great thing.

We know how fair elections are now, with money driving everything.

That means we’ll probably see  a lot more SCA-5 style battles–until the court makes yet another ruling on the constitutionality of race based methods in university admissions.

UPDATE: 4/23/2014

It’s not surprising that the courts want to get out of the race business. Just like the legislatures have gotten out of legislating by relinquishing their role to the initiative process for the tough issues.

So if the elections are so important, why do electoral rights seem to be under attack? From the Voting Rights Act provisions, to campaign finance, has there been a more activist Supreme Court to reverse  the rights of minorities?

And now elections are the preferred way to settle racial fights? Sounds like SCOTUS just gave itself cover for its horrendous decisions, putting it all on the electorate.

 

 

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Oscars 2014: A turning point for diversity in the industry?

Like Hostess Ellen said, either “12 Years a slave” wins or we’re all racists. 

Good thing it won. But I don’t know if we’ve really turned a corner on diversity.  Under-representation and stereotypes still exist in Hollywood.  Asians are few and far between, and Native Americans?  In these times, Johnny Depp can still play Tonto.

But my goodness, the list of winners in the top categories this year is still  impressive:

Asian American of Filipino descent: Robert Lopez, composer, Best Original Song, “Let it Go,” from “Frozen.”

Mexican American: Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity.”

African American: John Ridley, Best Screenplay adaption, “12 Years a Slave.”

Mexican Kenyan: Lupita Nyong’o, Best Supporting Actress, “12 Years a Slave.”

Brit director Steve McQueen’s brutally honest telling of the Solomon Northup story is so disturbing, it’s hard to take.

But it needed to be told finally. Doesn’t put closure on the race issue by a long-shot. Don’t talk about post-racial America after a “Best Picture” Oscar.

But I think the industry is beginning to change as far as recognizing diverse audiences.

You can’t deny the winner’s list tonight.

I pretty much predicted how it would go.

“Gravity” was such a technical marvel, but didn’t quite get out of the planetarium for me.

I loved Amy Adams but knew she wouldn’t win. “American Hustle” was good but ABSCAM isn’t Watergate.  And for New Jersey folks, it’s not even Bridgegate.

So Cate Blanchett wins as she has most of the pre-shows.

Same with Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey in the  male actor categories.

Both of them gave great speeches.

I thought Leto’s mention of Ukraine and Venezuela, and AIDS victims brought things a little closer to reality. And McConaughey’s mention of God, was “all right, all right.”

But given the diversity wins of the night, Oscar folks still like things more  tactful than I would have wanted.

Never mind, Lupita Nyong’o’s acceptance speech struck the right chord. She recognized that her success was based on the pain of the past.(A show of humility there). And then after thanking colleagues, she chose to inspire:

“When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid. Thank you.”

This was not a night or the time to beat anyone over the head apparently. Not with Ellen playing silly, ordering pizzas and doing selfies.  It was a fun, guilt free Oscars.

And the winners were among the most I can ever remember.

Leave it to Lupita Nyong’o  to help validate the night.

 

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