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Opinion: Tim Wise: What is post-racial? Reflections on denial and reality
Tim Wise writes that believing in a post-racial U.S. requires "unwillingness to stare truth in the face."
January 31st, 2012
05:27 PM ET

Opinion: Tim Wise: What is post-racial? Reflections on denial and reality

Editor’s note: Tim Wise is the author of six books on race, including his most recent: Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority.  He tweets at @timjacobwise.

By Tim Wise, Special to CNN

(CNN) – Being asked to describe what “post-racial” means is a bit like being asked to describe a leprechaun, cold fusion or unicorns: we know what is meant, but, if we are willing to be honest, we also know that none of the four describe something real, something tangible, something true.

To me, “post-racial” is little more than a nonsense term devised by people (mostly white, frankly), who would simply rather not deal with the ever-present reality of racism and ongoing racial discrimination.

It is a diversion, intended to paper over the divisions that have long roiled our nation, and continue to do so today.
FULL POST

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Filed under: Discrimination • Ethnicity • Gender • Race • What we think
Opinion: Who says raising boys is easier?
LZ Granderson -- a father to a son -- asks why so many people think it's easier to raise boys.
January 31st, 2012
03:29 PM ET

Opinion: Who says raising boys is easier?

Editor's note: LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com and the 2009 winner of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation award for online journalism. Follow him on Twitter: @locs_n_laughs.

By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor

(CNN) - My son had barely taken his first breath when the people in the hospital started telling me how lucky I was.

Not because he was healthy, mind you, but because he was a he.

"It's easier to raise boys," I was told.

And for a while I actually believed them.

Then I started paying attention.

Did you know boys are more likely to drop out of high school than girls? Or that there are more female college students than male? And did you know the imprisonment rate for men is roughly 15 times higher than the rate for women?

If this is what boys being easier to raise than girls looks like, could you imagine how many men would be in jail if raising girls got any harder? We worry so much about girls getting hurt - and justifiably so - but interestingly enough, the stats show it's our boys who are more likely to get robbed, attacked or even murdered. We see girls as fragile orchids and boys as plastic plants. But let's face it: At the core of this line of thinking isn't safety - it's sex.

Read LZ Granderson's full column

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Filed under: Family • Gender • What we think
January 31st, 2012
02:17 PM ET

Arizona city council hopeful says politics - not poor English skills - kept her off ballot

San Luis, Arizona, resident Alejandrina Cabrera, made national headlines after she was denied a bid for city council because some say she doesn't speak English well enough.

Cabrera was born in the United States, but grew up mostly in Mexico and moved back to Arizona as a teen. In the border city of San Luis, though, most residents speak Spanish. She says she's being kept from the ballot as political payback because she spearheaded two recall campaigns against the mayor.

She plans to take her appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court.

Read more on CNN's This Just In blog

January 31st, 2012
12:11 PM ET

Opinion: Latinos won't forget Romney's 'anti-immigrant' talk

Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a CNN.com contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist.

By Ruben Navarrette Jr., CNN Contributor

Miami, Florida (CNN) - Responding angrily to a campaign ad from Newt Gingrich accusing him of being anti-immigrant, Mitt Romney insisted during last week's Republican debate at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville that he has no problem with immigrants.

Perhaps not. But the dishonest and cynical way in which the former governor of Massachusetts has dealt with the immigration issue on the campaign trail shows that he has a problem being consistent.

In Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, Romney attacked Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for immigration proposals that Romney said amounted to "amnesty" for illegal immigrants.

But last week, in Florida, where Hispanics account for 22.5 percent of the population, we caught a glimpse of a kinder and gentler Romney. He told the Hispanic Leadership Network, a center-right group, that he would create a "temporary worker permit" for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

Read Ruben Navarrette Jr.'s full column

Celebrating Chinese New Year in New York
'The weather was perfect and everyone was out and about to have fun,' iReporter NYCfoto said.
January 31st, 2012
11:16 AM ET

Celebrating Chinese New Year in New York

New Yorkers celebrated the Chinese New Year with a parade through the city's Chinatown last weekend. It's the Year of the Dragon, a culturally revered symbol of good luck and prosperity. IReporter NYCfoto captured the good cheer - and the confetti.

See more images of the Lunar New Year celebration on CNN iReport 

What makes you 'America?' Tell us on CNN iReport

Engage: Study says racial segregation in U.S. cities drops
A conservative research group said neighborhoods are now more racially integrated than any time since 1910.
January 31st, 2012
10:58 AM ET

Engage: Study says racial segregation in U.S. cities drops

Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.

Manhattan Institute study: Residential segregation at historic low in American cities, but it's not the 'end of segregation' - USA Today

Also see: Opinion: John McWhorter: Segregation is down

Q&A with GOP strategist Ana Navarro on tonight's Republican Florida primary – The Atlantic

Marine pleads guilty in Lance Cpl. Harry Lew hazing-suicide death, sentenced to 30 days, reduced rank - The Los Angeles Times

Girl Scouts broadens brand in promotional leadership ads during 100th Anniversary – The New York Times

Camilla Williams, 1st black contract singer with New York City Opera, dead at 92 - BBC News

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Opinion: The risks of ignoring race in the workplace
Turning a blind eye to the complexities of race can create more problems than it solves, Evan Apfelbaum argues.
January 31st, 2012
10:35 AM ET

Opinion: The risks of ignoring race in the workplace

Editor's note: Evan P. Apfelbaum is an Assistant Professor of Organizational Studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management. His research has been featured in journals including Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Science, and Developmental Psychology and has been covered by a range of media outlets, including The New York Times, BBC, and National Public Radio.

By Evan P. Apfelbaum, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Larry, one of the employees you supervise, hasn't been performing his job up to expectations. But you've been reluctant to take him aside and speak with him candidly: Like most senior people in the company, you are white. What if Larry, who is black, takes your criticism the wrong way or, worse, thinks you are racist?

The last thing you want is for others to think your actions were influenced by race. So you've held off talking to him about performance issues that you'd likely have raised with your non-minority employees. You're relieved that a potentially thorny situation was averted, even pleased with your capacity to be so racially sensitive.

But in fact, recent research suggests, you have not done your company, your employee, or yourself much good. However well-intentioned, striving to create the appearance of colorblindness by sidestepping the specter of race can be more of an obstacle than an asset to good management practice.

Read Evan P. Apfelbaum's full column

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Filed under: Race • Relationships • What we think
Opinion: It's not your grandpa's Florida
A sign lets voters know they can cast early ballots for the Floriday primary election at a library in Orlando.
January 31st, 2012
04:00 AM ET

Opinion: It's not your grandpa's Florida

Editor's note: John Avlon is a CNN contributor and senior political columnist for Newsweek and The Daily Beast. He is co-editor of the new book "Deadline Artists: America's Greatest Newspaper Columns."

By John Avlon, CNN contributor

(CNN) - Florida is the traditional tie-breaking primary in the January gantlet - but there's very little that's traditional about the Sunshine State. It is a sprawling cross section of 10 media markets and one of the most diverse states in the nation, containing communities of voters across the political spectrum.

But we talk about politics in shorthand, and many stereotypes endure long after they are bypassed by reality. So here are three stubborn myths about the Sunshine State to think about as Floridians go the polls on Tuesday.

1) It's senior-citizen central: This stereotype started in the post-war boom, as legions of grandparents sought out the warmth of Florida to ease their aching bones. The state came to be seen as a land of early-bird specials, bad drivers and retirement communities punctuated by amusement parks - "God's waiting room." But in the 1980s, young families began to move into Florida en masse, following economic opportunity and now-ubiquitous air-conditioning.

Read John Avlon's full column


Filed under: Age • Ethnicity • Latino in America • What we think • Where we live
Has 'whiteness studies' run its course at colleges?
Today, there are dozens of colleges and universities that have courses on the interdisciplinary subject of whiteness studies.
January 30th, 2012
06:02 PM ET

Has 'whiteness studies' run its course at colleges?

By Alex P. Kellogg, Special to CNN

Among university departments that study African-American history, Latin American or Chicano cultures and all varieties of ethnicities and nationalities, there's a relatively obscure field of academic inquiry: whiteness studies.

While there are no standalone departments dedicated to the field, interdisciplinary courses on the subject quietly gained traction on college and university campuses nationwide in the 1990s. Today, there are dozens of colleges and universities, including American University in Washington, D.C., and University of Texas at Arlington, that have a smattering of courses on the interdisciplinary subject of whiteness studies.

The field argues that white privilege still exists, thanks largely to structural and institutional racism, and that the playing field isn't level, and whites benefit from it. Using examples such as how white Americans tend not to be pulled over by the police as often as blacks and Latinos, or how lenders targeted blacks and Latinos for more expensive, subprime loans during the recent U.S. housing crisis, educators teach how people of different races and ethnicities often live very different lives.

Most of the instructors specialize in sociology, philosophy, political science and history, most of them are liberal or progressive, and most of them are, in fact, white. Books frequently used as textbooks in these courses include "How the Irish Became White" by Noel Ignatiev, an American history professor at the Massachusetts College of Art and "The History of White People" by Nell Irvin Painter, a professor emeritus of American history at Princeton; but the field has its roots in the writings of black intellectuals such as W.E.B. DuBois and author James Baldwin.

In the past, detractors have said the field itself demonizes people who identify as white.

But today, academics who teach the classes say they face a fresh hurdle, one that has its roots on the left instead of the right: the election of Barack Obama as America’s first black president.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Education • Race • Who we are
Opinion: Why Viola Davis gets it right
Viola Davis, right, shown with Octavia Spencer, was nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award for her role in "The Help."
January 30th, 2012
03:34 PM ET

Opinion: Why Viola Davis gets it right

Editor's note: jimi izrael is a journalist, adjunct professor at Cuyahoga Community College, and author of "The Denzel Principle: Why Black Women Can't Find Good Black Men" (St. Martin's Press). He co-moderates "The Barbershop" for National Public Radio's "Tell Me More" with Michel Martin.

By jimi izrael, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Viola Davis got a nod for best actress from the Academy this year for her role as Aibileen Clark in "The Help," and she must win, despite the controversy about the movie and the role she plays in it. If you believe what you read on blogs, black women long to be represented on screens large and small as rounded, complex characters, rather than wise, downtrodden burden-bearers and hot-blooded angry sex machines. Some say they want more black people telling black stories, which would be reasonable, if it were true.

I have been black a long time, and I can tell you that black folks are a persnickety lot. To get consensus, things have to be done The Right Way - but there's no consensus on what that looks like. However, we seem to know what it is not. Lee Daniels' "Monster's Ball" and "Precious" contained the wrong message (white people saving black people) and "For Colored Girls" was tainted by Tyler Perry, a gifted director and storyteller given to more commercial fare, whom some saw as the wrong messenger.

The Popes of Blackness rarely agree on anything. One thing is certain - Davis takes on a difficult role and breathes life into a hero who is inspiring, enraging, familiar and extraordinary.

Read jimi izrael's full column

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