Human-ities · Social/Politics

Fear of a Black President

As a candidate, Barack Obama said we needed to reckon with race and with America’s original sin, slavery. But as our first black president, he has avoided mention of race almost entirely. In having to be “twice as good” and “half as black,” Obama reveals the false promise and double standard of integration.

The irony of President Barack Obama is best captured in his comments on the death of Trayvon Martin, and the ensuing fray. Obama has pitched his presidency as a monument to moderation. He peppers his speeches with nods to ideas originally held by conservatives. He routinely cites Ronald Reagan. He effusively praises the enduring wisdom of the American people, and believes that the height of insight lies in the town square. Despite his sloganeering for change and progress, Obama is a conservative revolutionary, and nowhere is his conservative character revealed more than in the very sphere where he holds singular gravity—race.

Part of that conservatism about race has been reflected in his reticence: for most of his term in office, Obama has declined to talk about the ways in which race complicates the American present and, in particular, his own presidency. But then, last February, George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old insurance underwriter, shot and killed a black teenager, Trayvon Martin, in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman, armed with a 9 mm handgun, believed himself to be tracking the movements of a possible intruder. The possible intruder turned out to be a boy in a hoodie, bearing nothing but candy and iced tea. The local authorities at first declined to make an arrest, citing Zim­mer­man’s claim of self-defense. Protests exploded nationally. Skittles and Arizona Iced Tea assumed totemic power. Celebrities—the actor Jamie Foxx, the former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, members of the Miami Heat—were photographed wearing hoodies. When Rep­resentative Bobby Rush of Chicago took to the House floor to denounce racial profiling, he was removed from the chamber after donning a hoodie mid-speech.

Excerpt of an article written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic. Continue HERE

Human-ities · Science · Theory

Seeing Black and White Makes People More Judgmental

Black-and-white judgments may be more literal than you might expect. A new study finds that people who view information on a black-and-white background are less likely to see gray areas in moral dilemmas than those who get the information alongside other colors.

The background, which participants weren’t aware was of interest in the experiment, did not push people to become either more lenient or more severe, researchers reported Friday (May 25) here at the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science. Instead, it took people’s natural tendencies toward leniency or severity and intensified them — in other words, their judgments became more black-and-white.

Read article written by Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer HERE