Sacramento Bee, Diana Griego Erwin, “Shaq’s ‘apology’ for racist barb at NBA foe Yao doesn’t measure up”

[…] O’Neal also taunted Irwin Tang, the author of the Asian Week piece that called O’Neal out, saying Tang was a person who “just doesn’t have a sense of humor, like I do.”

A typical defensive tack. What is he really saying here? That mocking Chinese people is funny and the rest of us just don’t get it? […]

[…] According to the Los Angeles Times, O’Neal sat in the locker room after Friday’s game with a recorder pressed to his ear, saying “toy-inchee” over and over. “Chinese for ‘I’m sorry,’ for when I see Yao Ming,” he told reporters. Laugh it up, O’Neal.

Unfortunately, “toy-inchee” is a Cantonese apology. Ming speaks Mandarin.

UC Berkeley professor John McWhorter is wrong in Suzy Hansen’s “Another shade of black” — short-sighted and facile, if not disingenuous; stacking a fact here and a hopeful thought there and a pop-culture reference nearby and calling it a response. Sure, you can be a wiseguy and reply, “Well, damn, George, isn’t that your M.O., isn’t that what you yourself do? What do you want, credit?” No. I want to understand what I don’t like there and also here, in his recent take on race distinctions as one of last year’s overrated ideas.

My take on this year starts with mice. We have learned that only 1 percent of our genome diverges from a mouse’s. With only 300 genes distinguishing us from tiny, mute, artless vermin, the triviality of racial distinctions becomes clear.

This year America has been full of signs that we are realizing this in our hearts and getting past race. White supremacists staged a rally in York, Pa., in January, only to be outshone by a 400-strong interracial “unity rally.”

Interracial relationships are on the rise; increasing numbers of caf�-au-lait Americans will soon find the question “What race are you?” as yesterday as Harry Belafonte calling Colin Powell a “house slave” sounded in October.

The black Congressional incumbents Cynthia A. McKinney and Earl F. Hilliard, questioning the “blackness” of their opponents, were defeated. The Bond and Austin Powers girls were black.

We’re not there yet � but we don’t have as long to go as we’re often told.

L.A. Times, Erika Hayasaki, “Reading, ‘Riting and Rap”

[…] Nancy Brodsky, 23, a teacher at Samuel Gompers Vocational Technical High School in New York’s South Bronx, has her ninth-grade students listen to a song by Dead Prez before reading George Orwell’s 1945 fable “Animal Farm,” the classic commentary on the Russian Revolution.

The rap song “Animal in Man” is based on Orwell’s use of animals to represent figures such as Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. In both works, a group of pigs seizes power on a farm and turns on the other animals. The creatures then revolt against the boss pig, Hannibal.

The last verse in the Dead Prez song says:

They took his tongue out of his mouth.
And cut his body up for sale, for real.
You better listen while you can.
It’s a very thin line between animal and man.

When Hannibal crossed the line, they all took a stand.
What would you have done? Shook his hand?
This is the animal in man.
[…]

Good work, Nancy.

A competitor for Black Entertainment Television? Krissah Williams at the Washington Post says one’s on the way by the middle of this year from Radio One. I can’t wait to see it — not that the prospect of a 24-hour news-and-entertainment channel is enough to get A. and I paying a local cable provider again, or (d’oh!) that said local cable provider where we’re moving at month’s end is likely to carry it.

Doc catches a Case and praises two favorite news organizations from Ol’ Blighty.

sigh



MLK Jr. Boulevard, Newark, N.J., Sept. 15, 2001

Miami Herald, Audra D.S. Burch, “‘The main streets of black America’: Blacks find pride in streets named after King”

N.Y. Times, Jane Gross, “Studying Race, Privilege and Intellectual Levels”

Orlando Sentinel, Kelly Brewington and Stephanie Erickson, “Historic black towns struggle to survive” (with picture gallery)

Raleigh News & Observer, Vicki Lee Parker, “Beyond black and white”

Guardian UK, Hannah Pool, “The new black”

The Town Talk (Alexandria, La.), Eugene Southerland, “Interracial marriages”

Observer UK, Emily Yoffe, “Bridge of Sighs”

[…] Twenty-one years ago, Air Florida Flight 90, on its way from Washington National Airport to Tampa and Fort Lauderdale, crashed seconds after takeoff, its wings frosted with snow and ice. As the Boeing 737 hit the 14th Street Bridge, it sheared the tops off cars stuck in a traffic jam caused by the storm. On the plane, 74 people died, including three babies; and four people were killed in their cars. There were only five survivors. Television crews filmed them as they waited almost half an hour in the ice-filled water to be rescued, hanging on to debris from the plane. A young office assistant for a government agency, Lenny Skutnik, briefly became famous when he dived into the river and, on national television, saved a woman who was about to drown. […]

At age 10 and a half, this was hugely frightening. I’d flown on a plane twice before. The first time was to Florida, most likely Walt Disney World. We must have flown down from Washington on Eastern Airlines. I remember coming back with a toy Eastern plane. All that stuck with me was the then-impending Epcot center, which I might have confused with a trip later that year when my family wound up going to see the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee, with its geodesic-sphere-topped building that, I thought, was What The Future Is Going To Be Like.