It’s the end of another eventful week here at the MMXLII office, and to help you take in everything that’s happened since Monday, we’ve compiled the five most important stories concerning race and diversity that you might have missed during the workweek.
It’s been a year since white supremacist Wade Michael Page killed six people in a shooting rampage in the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. This story from Color Lines, which revisits the devastated community on the one year anniversary of the tragedy, is important for any number of reasons. Sadly, the shooting received far less coverage than other mass shootings in the last year have, arguably because of the victims’ race and religion. It’s also a cruel reminder of the rising number of hate groups in the United States, and the potentially tragic consequences of racism and prejudice.
We’ve followed the Supreme Court decision to overturn Section Four of the Voting Rights Act closely, as well as that decision’s aftermath, which has seen a number of Southern states, including Florida, Texas, and North Carolina, move forward with unprecedented voter suppression measures. Now, North Carolina’s cuts to early voting hours may open the door for renewed federal supervision – if the Department of Justice can prove that the cuts, which disproportionately affect minority voters, are deliberately racist.
EBONY’s moving portraits of the Martin family and black celebrities in hoodies became the face of its powerful “We Are Trayvon” September edition. They also sparked a chorus of predictably angry reactions from right-wing commentators and trolling twitter racists. Those reactions, in turn, sparked an awesomely snarky response from the publication’s social media, which bemoaned the loss of “all zero” of their Tea Party readers and followers. That snark gave birth to the most hilarious, and trending, hashtag of the week – #WhitePeopleBoycottingEBONY.
Reuters Polling: A Melting Pot?
For anyone wondering if they’re keeping up with the Joneses when it comes to black friends, or, more seriously, how America’s increasing diversity is affecting the composition of American’s social circles, look no further than this poll from Reuters, which investigated the racial composition of American’s interpersonal relationships. Particularly heartening is the finding that people under thirty are more than twice as likely to know someone of another race, and more than three times as likely to date or marry outside their race.
Lady Gaga’s ‘Burqa’
We end this roundup on what might strike some as a lighter note. Earlier this summer we addressed controversy surrounding alleged cultural appropriation in the videos and music of female pop artists like Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez. Now, in a similar (if perhaps decidedly souped up) story, Lady Gaga is taking flak for a new song, “Burqa/Aura,” which takes as its inspiration the lives of women who wear the titular item of clothing, either in observance of conservative Islamic dictates, or because they have no choice. While some have applauded lyrics like “I’m not a wandering slave, I’m a woman of choice” as empowering, others have decried lines such as “Do you want to see me naked” and “Let’s make love” as objectifying, othering, and all-around offensive. Gaga’s unusually translucent take on the traditional garb probably hasn’t helped matters. It promises to be a healthy debate over a contentious issue, and here at MMXLII we’re excited to see what arguments and counterarguments each side comes up with.
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Photo from MTV.