Suella Braverman proved it again: racism is a fire the Tories love to play with

Over the top commentary but elements of truth and unfair to conflate recent politicians with those living in a different time and context, with many similarities in various countries:

Last Friday, an 82-year-old woman wrapped up warm and set off on a 200-mile round trip for a meeting that she half suspected wouldn’t even let her in. As you read this, the film of her speaking that evening has been viewed more than five million times. Which is odd, because it’s not much to look at: a wobbly side-view of a woman with white hair, intense closeups of grey cardigan. Bridgerton this is not.

But it’s the words that count. Joan Salter has got herself down to Hampshire for a public meeting with the home secretary, and now it is her turn to ask a question. As a child survivor of the Holocaust, she hears Suella Braverman demean and dehumanise refugees and it is a reminder of how the Nazis justified murdering Jews like her. So why do it?

Even as the words come out, Braverman’s face freezes. The evening so far has been a Tory activists’ love-in, which, Salter tells me later, made her nervous about being the sole dissenter. But then the home secretary responds, “I won’t apologise for the language I’ve used” – and a disturbing truth is exposed about what Britain has become.

Braverman labels those seeking sanctuary in Britain an “invasion”. Quite the word, invasion. It strips people of their humanity and pretends they are instead a hostile army, sent to maraud our borders. Her junior minister Robert Jenrick once begged colleagues not to “demonise” migrants; now he stars in videos almost licking his jowls over “the Albanians” forced on to a flight to Tirana. Salter is right to say such attitudes from the top fuel and license extremists on the ground. We saw it after the toxic Brexit campaign, when Polish-origin schoolchildren in Huntingdon were called “vermin” on cards left outside their school gates, as race and religious hate crimes soared that summer.

Today, the air is once again poisonous. Far-right groups have been visiting accommodation for asylum seekers, trying to terrify those inside – many of whom have fled terror to come here – often before sharing their videos on social media. The anti-fascist campaigners Hope Not Hate recorded 182 such jaunts last year alone, culminating in a petrol bomb tossed at an asylum centre in Dover by a man with links to far-right groups and who would post about how “all Muslims are guilty of grooming … they only rape non-Muslims”.

Unlike those big men in their big boots frightening innocent people, Salter isn’t chasing social media clout. The grandmother wants to warn us not to return to the times that sent her, at the age of three, running with her parents across Europe in search of sanctuary. She does make a mistake in yoking the home secretary to the term “swarms”. As far as I can see, this figurehead for the new Tory extremism has yet to use that vile word. But I can think of a Tory prime minister who has used that word: David Cameron, the Old Etonian never shy of blowing on a dog whistle, who made a speech denouncing multiculturalism even as Tommy Robinson’s troops marched on Luton. And Margaret Thatcher talked of how the British felt “rather swamped” by immigrants. In those venerable names from the party’s past lies the big picture about the Conservatives’ chronic addiction to racist politics.

Source: Suella Braverman proved it again: racism is a fire the Tories love to play with

Expliquer le racisme, ce n’est pas culpabiliser les Blancs: Réplique à Lisée

More on the Lisée column:

Dans sa chronique de mercredi, « Les boomers, ces racistes ! », Jean-François Lisée critique une vidéo éducative dont je suis l’auteur, intitulée Racisme, ses origines, son histoire et lue par le professeur Laurent Turcot.

Selon le chroniqueur, ma vidéo nous apprend que « ce n’est qu’en Occident qu’on “retrouve une discrimination parfaitement assumée” ». Voici l’extrait complet : « Naturellement, le racisme n’est pas exclusif aux Blancs ou encore au monde occidental, mais c’est seulement en Occident qu’on va retrouver le paradoxe de sociétés supposément égalitaires et où on retrouve également une discrimination parfaitement assumée. »

Cet extrait, qu’on entend dans la première minute de la vidéo, infirme les intentions que me prête le chroniqueur, qui m’accuse de véhiculer une « fausseté historique ». Je n’ai jamais prétendu que le racisme était exclusif à l’Occident. J’affirme même le contraire dans cette phrase qui n’est citée qu’à moitié. Par contre, il est vrai que ce n’est qu’en Occident qu’on maintenait l’institution de l’esclavage tout en prétendant que « tous les hommes naissent libres et égaux ». Les pays africains ou arabes où se pratiquait l’esclavage ne prétendaient pas partager ces idéaux universels.

Le chroniqueur poursuit : « D’ailleurs, “il faut attendre que les Européens découvrent l’Afrique noire pour qu’on puisse commencer à parler de racisme comme on l’entend aujourd’hui”. » Voilà une autre phrase citée hors contexte et vidée de son sens. Cet extrait de la vidéo explique qu’avant la Renaissance, la discrimination oppose des Blancs à d’autres Blancs — les Slaves réduits en esclavage par l’empire germanique, par exemple. Ce n’est qu’avec l’exploration de l’Afrique subsaharienne et le début du commerce des esclaves qui s’ensuit que commence l’association entre peau noire et servilité. L’objectif de la vidéo est d’expliquer comment le racisme en Occident a évolué au fil des siècles et non pas de pointer les Blancs du doigt.

Selon M. Lisée, « les jeunes sortant de ce visionnement seraient choqués d’apprendre que l’esclavage a été présent sur tous les continents, que les Africains le pratiquaient entre eux avant l’arrivée des Blancs, que les Autochtones d’Amérique le pratiquaient entre eux avant l’arrivée des colons européens ». Les jeunes seraient choqués d’apprendre cela uniquement si les enseignants d’éthique et culture religieuse se contentaient de laisser cette vidéo donner le cours pour eux. Pour avoir participé à la formation de plusieurs cohortes de futurs enseignants, j’ose croire que ce n’est pas le cas.

Dernier reproche que m’adresse le chroniqueur : « Pas un mot non plus sur le fait que les Québécois francophones furent victimes de racisme, ou du moins de discrimination linguistique. » La vidéo vise un large public et ne s’adresse pas spécialement aux élèves québécois. Mon objectif était de résumer en 20 minutes l’histoire du racisme en Occident. J’ai donc dû faire des choix. Pourquoi parler des Québécois plutôt que des Bretons, des Catalans ou de n’importe quelle autre minorité linguistique ? Lorsqu’on parle du racisme au XXe siècle en Occident, il me semble plus parlant de décrire l’antisémitisme allemand, la ségrégation américaine et l’apartheid sud-africain.

La critique de M. Lisée repose sur les intentions qu’il nous prête, à moi et à l’enseignante citée dans sa chronique : culpabiliser les Blancs en général et les Québécois en particulier. C’est un réflexe hélas répandu chez certains nationalistes, qui se placent sur la défensive dès qu’on leur parle de racisme. Si on n’affirme pas en caractères gras qu’il s’est fait pire ailleurs, que le racisme existe aussi au Canada anglais, que Montréal n’est pas Detroit et que la Nouvelle-France n’était pas la Nouvelle-Espagne, on nous reproche de faire le procès du Québec. Et une vidéo éducative se fait accuser d’être de la propagande alors qu’elle cherche seulement à expliquer et à faire réfléchir.

Jean-François Lisée a bien raison d’estimer que ma vidéo ne suffit pas à faire comprendre « la réalité du racisme et de l’antiracisme au Québec ». Je ne prétends pas le contraire, puisque tel n’a jamais été mon objectif. Je regrette toutefois de voir mon travail être considéré comme faisant partie de « la bouillie mensongère et culpabilisatrice » dénoncée par le chroniqueur.

Réplique du chroniqueur

Cher Alexandre Dumas,
D’abord, encore bravo pour vos récents ouvrages sur l’époque duplessiste. Je ne vous tiens évidemment pas pour responsable des lamentables propos tenus dans le reste du cours, mais permettez-moi d’insister : il est faux d’affirmer, comme vous le faites dans cette vidéo, que la discrimination sur la base de distinctions raciales est née avec le trafic occidental d’esclaves noirs. L’esclavage des Vietnamiens par les Chinois est vieux de 2000 ans, celui de Blancs européens par l’Empire musulman y est également antérieur et « parfaitement assumé ». Il n’est par ailleurs pas question d’être, comme vous le dites, à l’offensive ou sur la défensive sur la question du racisme et de l’esclavage, mais de respecter la réalité historique et de reconnaître à la fois la cruauté du racisme, la bravoure de ceux qui l’ont fait reculer et les réels progrès. Ainsi, j’ai été peiné de constater que vous attribuez les grandes avancées antiracistes états-uniennes des années 1960 à des impératifs de politique africaine de Washington plutôt qu’au colossal travail de Martin Luther King et des Noirs américains appuyés par un grand nombre de Blancs, dont plusieurs juifs, qui ont mis leur vie en danger pour cette cause.

Bien cordialement,
Jean-François Lisée

Source: Expliquer le racisme, ce n’est pas culpabiliser les Blancs

Racial discrimination in mortgage lending has declined sharply in America

Of note. For those worried about AI, an illustration of where it can reduce discrimination:

“Atlanta’s black neighbourhoods are under attack.” So wrote the editors of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in May of 1988 upon the release of “The Colour of Money”, a series of articles documenting racial disparities in mortgage lending in Georgia’s most populous city. The Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation, which analysed $6bn-worth of home loans made over six years, found that Atlanta banks made five times as many loans to white neighbourhoods as black ones, and rejected black applicants four times as often. The reaction was swift. Demonstrators marched through bank lobbies, the naacp urged black residents to withdraw their bank deposits and the Justice Department launched an investigation into discriminatory lending practices. Listen to this story.

Much has changed in the 35 years since “The Colour of Money”, and yet racial disparities in mortgage lending remain. Data reported under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (hmda) show that 15% of black applicants were denied conventional mortgage loans in 2021, compared with just 6% of white applicants, a ratio of more than two-to-one. Black homeowners seeking to refinance their existing loans were rejected 24% of the time, compared with 12% of the time for whites. Some lenders have been singled out. A recent analysis by Bloomberg News found that Wells Fargo, a bank, approved less than half of refinancing applications filed by black homeowners in 2020, compared with nearly three-quarters of those filed by white customers. 

To many Americans, such wide discrepancies in lending are proof of discrimination. A survey conducted in 2020 by the Pew Research Centre, a think-tank, found that 49% of American adults—and 86% of African-Americans—believe that black people are treated less fairly than white people when applying for a mortgage. But bankers have long argued that imbalances in mortgage approval rates reflect underlying differences in creditworthiness, not racial bias. Indeed African-Americans fare significantly worse than whites on several key lending criteria. Credit scores of black borrowers, for example, are about 8% lower than those of white borrowers. Their debt-to-income levels, meanwhile, are about 10% higher. Black borrowers have much higher loan delinquency rates, too. 

For decades the conventional wisdom was that both economic factors and discrimination played a role in lending patterns. A seminal study by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, published in the American Economic Review in 1996, analysed nearly 3,000 loan applications submitted to Boston-area lenders in 1990. The researchers found that credit histories, debt-to-income ratios, loan-to-value ratios, and other strictly economic factors explained more than half of the difference in denial rates between black and white applicants. But race mattered, too. Even after accounting for their creditworthiness, black mortgage applicants were rejected about 1.8 times as often as whites. 

But new research by economists at the Federal Reserve Board suggests that such discrimination is less widespread than it was 30 years ago.* Using a dataset of nearly 9m loan applications submitted in 2018 and 2019, the authors found that 17% of black applicants were turned down, compared with 8% of white applicants. But after controlling for the results of automated underwriting systems, which reflect the underwriting guidelines of government-sponsored entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and cannot take race into account, this gap was cut in half. After other relevant risk characteristics such as credit scores were controlled for, this figure fell to less than two points—a result that the authors describe as “significant progress”. 

What explains the improvement? Laurie Goodman of the Urban Institute, a think-tank, says that the decline of manual underwriting is one factor. “I’m sure automated underwriting, where very little is done manually, has made a difference because it leaves less discretion.” Stricter enforcement of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which prohibit discrimination in lending on the basis of race, is another. Last year the Justice Department launched an effort to crack down on “redlining” by financial institutions—the practice of denying credit to particular neighbourhoods. Since then the department has reported four lawsuits and settlements worth a combined $38m. 

Experts point out that although mortgage underwriting systems are becoming less biased, the data fed into them may still reflect historical discrimination. These data can be improved, says Ms Goodman. “If the issue is credit scores, let’s figure out how to make credit scores better and more reflective of people’s true creditworthiness.” Overall, though, the picture is one of progress. “I think it’s fair to say that there’s still some discrimination, but it’s not very common,” says John Yinger, an economics professor at Syracuse University. ■

Source: Racial discrimination in mortgage lending has declined sharply in America

Police can’t pull over a driver without cause, Quebec Superior Court rules in racial profiling case

Of note. Significant:

Police motor vehicle stops without cause are a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Quebec Superior Court ruled Tuesday.

The decision won’t put an end to racial profiling overnight, Judge Michel Yergeau wrote in his ruling, but the court is allowing a six-month delay until the rules allowing random stops are officially invalid.

“Racial profiling does exist. It is not a laboratory-constructed abstraction. It is not a view of the mind. It is a reality that weighs heavily on Black communities. It manifests itself in particular among Black drivers of motor vehicles,” Yergeau said.

“Charter rights can no longer be left in thrall to an unlikely moment of epiphany by the police. Ethics and justice must go hand in hand to turn this page.”

The time has come for the judicial system to recognize and declare that this “unbounded power” violates some right guaranteed to the community, the court said.

Montrealer leads charge for change

This decision comes after Montrealer Joseph-Christopher Luamba, a 22-year-old Black man, told the court he gets ready to pull over whenever he sees a police cruiser.

In the 18 months after he got his driver’s licence in March 2018, Luamba said he was stopped by police around 10 times for no specific reason. He said he was driving a car during about half the stops and was a passenger in another person’s car during the other police stops.

Those traffic stops were at the heart of the lawsuit that he filed against the Canadian and Quebec governments. The case began in May of this year.

Luamba said he believes he was racially profiled during the traffic stops — none of which resulted in a ticket. Common law has long allowed Canadian police to stop people for no reason, but Luamba has been fighting for the practice to be declared unconstitutional.

“I was frustrated,” he told the court. “Why was I stopped? I followed the rules. I didn’t commit any infractions.”

Lawyers for Luamba and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which has intervener status in the case, told the court that the power of police to randomly stop drivers, outside of drunk driving checkpoints, is unconstitutional and enables racial profiling.

The court ruled on Tuesday that this practice violates the rights guaranteed by Sections 7 and 9 and paragraph 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“The preponderant evidence shows that over time, the arbitrary power granted to the police to carry out roadside stops without cause has become for some of them a vector, even a safe conduit for racial profiling against the Black community,” wrote Yergeau in his ruling.

Challenging Supreme Court ruling

Yergeau’s ruling challenges the rules established by a 1990 Supreme Court decision, R. v. Ladouceur, where the high court ruled that police were justified when they issued a summons to an Ontario driver who had been stopped randomly and who had been driving with a suspended licence.

The high court ruled that random stops were the only way to determine whether drivers are properly licensed, whether a vehicle’s seatbelts work and whether a driver is impaired.

But Yergeau wrote it was time for the justice system to declare this power, which violates certain constitutional rights, obsolete and inoperable, as well as the article of Quebec’s provincial Highway Safety Code that allows it.

Still, Yergeau wrote that the ruling applies specifically to the random stops. He said the ruling is not meant to be an inquiry report on systemic racism involving racialized or Indigenous peoples.

The judge also said the ruling is not about racism within police forces, saying the court heard no evidence in this regard, nor did it draw a conclusion.

But he noted that “racial profiling can sneakily creep into police practice without police officers in general being driven by racist values.”

Lawyers for the Canadian and Quebec governments argued that the Supreme Court was right to uphold the rule allowing random stops, which they say is an important tool for fighting drunk driving.

Police forces testified about the different efforts made to curb racial profiling and diversify their rank and file.

There was no immediate word on a possible appeal.

At the federal level, a spokesperson for Minister of Justice David Lametti said in an email that the ministry is aware of the decision and “will take the time to study it before commenting further.”

Source: Police can’t pull over a driver without cause, Quebec Superior Court rules in racial profiling case

Canadian medical journal acknowledges its role in perpetuating anti-Black racism in health care

Of note:

Canada’s premier medical journal says it’s eager to address the role it plays in perpetuating anti-Black racism in health care and spark the broader change needed to dismantle structural barriers to equitable care.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal says a special edition released Monday is the first of two spotlighting papers by Black authors, examining system-wide failures and urging change.

Editor-in-chief Kirsten Patrick says the peer-reviewed publication is also working on ways to ensure future issues better represent the work of Black experts and the needs of Black patients, many of whom routinely face overt and subconscious biases that compromise their care.

She credits a working group of Black academics and medical professionals with helping her and the staff confront harmful practices, noting: “I really see things that I didn’t see before.”

“I’m a white woman, I think of myself as progressive and feminist,” she said from Ottawa.

“And I learned new things about my own internalized anti-Black racism from doing this special issue and definitely have reflected on the way that CMAJ’s processes undermine minority engagements, I would say, and put barriers sometimes to people who are not white.”

The two special editions follow years of advocacy by a group known as the Black Health Education Collaborative, co-led by OmiSoore Dryden, an associate professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University who specializes in medical anti-Black racism, and Dr. Onye Nnorom, a family doctor and public health specialist with the University of Toronto.

Barriers to understanding

Dryden says work on the special issues began more than a year ago when discussions began on how anti-Black racism manifests in structural and systemic ways that ultimately prevent research from being shared. They hope the editions can help the journal’s audience — largely educators and practitioners — understand the vast scope of the problem.

“In some ways, Canada very much is a welcoming place. However, that can act as a barrier in understanding how racism manifests — it’s not just the racial slur. It’s not just the racist targeting. But it is in the very systems of continuing to practice race-based medicine,” she said, noting racial stereotypes could lead practitioners to make false assumptions about what’s making a Black patient sick.

“Even if we had more funding and even if we had more Black physicians and practitioners, if we do not address the very real reality of anti-Black racism — in structures and in practice — we will continue to see poor health outcomes from Black communities.”

One of the articles in Monday’s edition examines the difficulties many Black patients face in getting cancer screening, molecular testing, breakthrough therapies and enrolment in clinical trials. One of the examples given is a study of immigrant women in Ontario, which found that lack of cervical cancer screening was linked to systemic barriers such as not having a female physician or coming from low-income households

Monday’s CMAJ paper also notes mortality from breast, colorectal, prostate and pancreatic cancers is higher in Black patients than in white patients, citing data from the Canadian Cancer Registry that was linked to census data on race and ethnicity. But it notes the impact of race on cancer incidence and mortality is not often studied because Canadian registries don’t regularly collect race and ethnicity data, unlike those in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Other pieces in Monday’s edition examine youth mental health and prostate cancer in Black Canadian men.

Same thinking reinforced, editor says

The second edition, set for release on Oct. 31, explores topics including gaslighting in academic medicine and Afrocentric approaches to promoting Black health.

The two issues were developed with guidance from the advocacy collaborative as well as a guest editorial committee comprised of Black experts in health equity: Notisha Massaquoi, assistant professor, department of health and society at the University of Toronto; Dr. Mojola Omole, surgical oncologist and journalist in Ontario; Camille Orridge, a senior fellow at the Toronto health policy charity the Wellesley Institute and Bukola Salami, associate editor at CMAJ and associate professor of nursing at the University of Alberta.

Massaquoi says their work went far beyond preparing the two issues; it included reviewing all processes the journal uses throughout the year that hinder diversity on its pages.

She says articles submitted for academic publishing are most often reviewed by editorial committees that don’t include Black researchers. As a result, reviewers don’t fully grasp the context of the article or question the credibility of the research and dismiss the pitch.

Patrick estimates the journal has published six to seven articles and a few blog posts by Black authors in the last 18 months amid a concerted effort to boost representation. Actual data is unavailable because the CMAJ does not ask submitting authors about their race or ethnicity, however this is being considered, she says.

Patrick acknowledges that minority authors are “super-rare” when looking at the 111-year history of the journal, which publishes 50 online issues per year and a selection of articles in a monthly print version.

“We just keep on getting the same kind of thinking reinforced over and over and over again from a small subsection of our medical population,” she said.

Massaquoi says that’s why it’s important for the CMAJ to work on methods used to recruit writers familiar with Black issues and improve the diversity of its pool of reviewers. She says she’s “absolutely confident” these steps can make a difference.

“This is the premier journal that our medical professionals are using so that they understand the newest and the most innovative, up-to-date information on health care in Canada,” Massaquoi said.

“And if it’s absolutely devoid of any material that’s going to help them understand working with Black communities, then we’re doing our profession a disservice.”

Patrick says the CMAJ is consulting outside experts to look at equity issues and interview staff and people who submit to the journal, as well as members of the anti-Black racism special issue working group.

“We’re not just putting out a statement that’s meaningless. We’ve committed to real work in this area.”

Source: Canadian medical journal acknowledges its role in perpetuating anti-Black racism in health care

Nicolas: Questionner comme Émilie Bordeleau

Rather than eliminating from history and knowlege:

Entre la fin des années 1980 et les débuts des années 1990, Émilie est devenu l’un des prénoms les plus donnés aux petites filles québécoises. Le succès monstre des Filles de Caleb, d’abord par les romans d’Arlette Cousture, puis par l’adaptation télévisée de Jean Beaudin, n’est certainement pas étranger à cette mode.

J’étais encore au primaire lorsque j’ai dérobé Le chant du coq et Le cri de l’oie blanche de la bibliothèque de ma mère. Je me suis ensuite tournée vers la télésérie, qui avait aussi été préservée sur des VHS maison pour la postérité. J’étais intriguée par Émilie Bordeleau, cette héroïne forte qui, comme moi, ne cherchait qu’à lire et à apprendre, et qui, pour son époque, avait du front tout le tour de la tête. Par Les filles de Caleb, j’ai appris tôt qu’une Émilie, par définition, est une femme qui se tient droite et qui n’a pas peur de déranger.

J’ai vu, durant les derniers jours, moult commentateurs dénoncer Netflix, qui a décidé de mettre en ligne la série tout en en retirant le deuxième épisode, où Roy Dupuis (Ovila Pronovost) est maquillé en blackface. On comprendra qu’en tant qu’Emilie, notamment, je me suis sentie personnellement concernée.

Si j’ai bien compris l’opinion dominante, Netflix aurait tort de juger une oeuvre des années 1990, qui décrit le tournant du XXe siècle, avec les valeurs d’aujourd’hui. Le blackface, dans ce contexte-là, serait banal, voire étranger à la culture québécoise.

Là-dessus, on a tout faux. Les minstrel shows étaient un phénomène nord-américain populaire à l’époque d’Émilie Bordeleau. Des troupes mettaient aussi en scène ce type de spectacles au Québec, et des Québécois — dont Calixa Lavallée, l’auteur du Ô Canada — ont participé à des tournées américaines. Si le personnage d’Ovila se fait « étriver » par ses pairs pour son maquillage, c’est aussi à cause du racisme ordinaire de l’époque.

Les enseignantes de cette génération travaillaient avec des curriculums scolaires remarquablement semblables à ceux qui circulaient en Europe et ailleurs dans les Amériques à la même époque. L’école québécoise enseignait, en histoire et en géographie, les théories en vogue sur l’inégalité des races humaines — comme partout ailleurs en Occident. Et on enseignait la grammaire, l’orthographe et même le calcul avec des exemples souvent racistes issus tout droit de l’imaginaire colonial. Vous ne me croyez pas ? Il faut lire L’école du racisme, de l’historienne Catherine Larochelle, qui a épluché les manuels scolaires québécois qui ont circulé entre 1830 et 1915.

Faut-il pour autant applaudir Netflix, qui, de son côté, retire tout contenu qui contient du blackface ? Permettez-moi de défendre plutôt une troisième voie : celle de Disney+.

Les studios Walt Disney, fondés en 1923, sont indissociables de l’histoire du racisme à l’écran. Ses premiers cartoons s’inspirent d’ailleurs fortement de l’esthétique et de la violence « humoristique » typiques des minstrel shows. Retirer le racisme de Disney, c’est un peu comme espérer qu’une maison tienne encore si on lui enlève ses fondations. En mettant sur pied la plateforme Disney+, le géant américain a donc plutôt fait le pari de tout mettre en ligne, tout en nommant clairement, dans des avertissements, la présence de racisme dans certains contenus. Ce semble être la voie dont Radio-Canada s’est inspirée en publiant l’ensemble des Filles de Caleb — sauf qu’en comparaison, le texte de Tou.tv est faible, et manque de franc-parler.

Si j’avais à enseigner, aujourd’hui, Les filles des Caleb dans un cours de littérature, mon premier instinct serait de présenter les romans et la série en parallèle avec un succès de librairie plus contemporain, soit le Kukum de Michel Jean. D’un côté, on a un roman qui se concentre sur la réalité canadienne-française de la Mauricie, où l’on explore peu ce que le personnage d’Ovila fait lorsqu’il « prend le bois » vers les camps de bûcherons. Les Autochtones sont à peine représentés dans les romans comme dans la série, sinon comme des accessoires à l’alcoolisme, à la déresponsabilisation parentale et à la perdition qui attend le protagoniste.

De l’autre, Kukum expose les conséquences terribles de l’industrie forestière sur les communautés innues. On peut facilement imaginer comment les camps de bûcherons et la drave sur la Saint-Maurice ont affecté les Atikamekw d’une manière similaire. Une trentaine d’années plus tard, lelivrede Michel Jean vient en quelque sorte combler, ou du moins interroger les angles morts importants de l’oeuvre d’Arlette Cousture. Présenter Les filles de Caleb et Kukum ensemble — avec un ou deux chapitres de Catherine Larochelle en prime, pour le contexte — permettrait d’explorer de manière beaucoup plus complète ce qu’était le Québec au début du XXe siècle. L’exercice susciterait aussi une discussion sur l’évolution de la culture populaire au Québec, des années 1980 jusqu’à aujourd’hui.

Le problème, c’est que la plupart d’entre nous ont appris et intégré un récit de l’histoire du Québec qui a, grosso modo, à peu près les mêmes angles morts que l’oeuvre de Cousture et la série de Beaudin. S’ensuit une levée de boucliers lorsque vient le temps de parler de la place du racisme dans la société qui est la nôtre. Au fond, tant Netflix qu’un commentateur québécois qui s’étonne qu’un blackface soit reçu comme un symbole lourd manquent de courage. Les deux, chacun à leur manière, feignent de vivre dans un monde magique où le colonialisme et le racisme n’existent pas.

Pour se pencher sur les mythes véhiculés par la culture populaire et les étudier, il faut avoir assez de colonne pour examiner les oeuvres et leur contexte, sans les effacer, ni chercher à banaliser la violence qu’ils peuvent contenir. Il faut interroger les idées reçues sur notre histoire avec les mêmes intégrité et obstination qu’une Émilie Bordeleau, qui, de son rang de Saint-Stanislas, affrontait déjà son père en remettant en question la place des femmes dans l’ordre domestique.

Source: Questionner comme Émilie Bordeleau

Where $30 Billion to Fix Systemic Racism Actually Goes

Of interest:

It seemed like a big number.

Two years ago, after a summer of widespread protests over police brutality and racial inequality, JPMorgan Chase made a sweeping vow. In an Oct. 8 announcement that was sent to reporters and linked to a sleek new web page, the bank pledged to put $30 billiontoward closing the racial wealth gap.

Many of its peers were making similar pledges. In late September, Citigroup had proffered a plan worth $1 billion. Bank of America’s pledge, also $1 billion, dropped first, on June 2, the week after George Floyd’s murder. But JPMorgan’s pledge was the biggest.

“The existing racial wealth gap puts a strain on families’ economic mobility and restricts the U.S. economy,” the bank’s announcementsaid. “Building on the firm’s existing investments, this new commitment will drive an inclusive economic recovery, support employees and break down barriers of systemic racism.”

Broadly, the bank was referring to the fact that Black Americans’ household wealth had held below 15 percent of white Americans’ for 60 years.

Closing the wealth gap is, of course, a job too big for any one company, even with a $3 trillion balance sheet like JPMorgan’s. In my book “The White Wall: How Big Finance Bankrupts Black America,” from which this article is adapted, I detail some of the systemic and individual discrimination that Black Americans face even now when trying to work at or do business with large banks.

I wondered what might change with this $30 billion pledge.

The website for the pledge outlined its components without going into much detail. At first glance, it was hard to tell what was charity and what was part of the bank’s regular business.

The pledge would obviously provide good P.R. in an area — racial equity — where JPMorgan did not often get it. But as representatives from the bank walked me through specifically what was in it, I came to understand that these big commitments all raised the same question: What does it mean for a private-sector company, with responsibilities to its shareholders to earn money, to try to fix society?

In JPMorgan’s words, the bank would do things like “promote and expand affordable housing and homeownership for underserved communities” and “improve financial health and access to banking in Black and Latinx communities.”

But to expert observers, that seemed complex — and worth seeking specifics to understand what was a significant change in business and what was simply rhetoric, perhaps helpful in the height of 2020 protests but lacking lasting financial impact.

“They’re willing and happy to do anything that goes into their regular business without sacrificing anything,” said Mehrsa Baradaran, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, who studies racism and inequality in the financial system. “There’s a long legacy of companies doing this stuff, announcing things that make sense for the bottom line.”

I asked Jesse Van Tol for help. He is a pragmatist about what large financial institutions can do, believing both that there’s room for improvement in the industry’s behavior and that it’s worth continuing to push for change.

Mr. Van Tol is president of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a nonprofit that helps banks fulfill their requirements under the Community Reinvestment Act, which was enacted in 1977 as a way to make up for decades of practices that specifically cut off Black Americans from housing and credit opportunities. He works with lenders of all sizes to develop pledges like JPMorgan’s.

His advice was simple: Look for as many specifics as possible, including time frames for increasing activity, benchmarks against which increases can be measured, and clear differentiations between charity and business.

How does Mr. Van Tol judge the strength and value of these pledges?

“I look at: Is it one big number without a breakdown of what it’s really for?” he said. “Can you measure the dollars or units? Do you know what time period it’s for? When the time period is done, can you go back and verify whether what was being committed to is done? Is it an increase? Is it new money?”

Mr. Van Tol did not help design JPMorgan’s pledge, so he felt free to help me analyze it. Given that JPMorgan had indeed provided details for how pledge activity would be carried out and a timeline to measure its progress, Mr. Van Tol judged it to be one of the industry’s best.

JPMorgan’s package included mortgages, small-business loans and loans to big developers vowing to create affordable housing.

At the top of its list, according to the web page announcing the pledge, was a vow to underwrite 40,000 mortgages for Black and Latinx borrowers over five years. The bank’s estimate for how much money it would lend out was $8 billion. Another $4 billion in mortgage refinancings would help lower interest rates for 20,000 Black and Latinx borrowers.

There was no information about JPMorgan’s previous lending to the groups specified in its pledge, to show what kind of an increase the 40,000 loans over five years would be.

“It is all incremental — dollars and units,” a JPMorgan spokeswoman, Patricia Wexler, said in a conversation in the spring of 2021, when she went over the pledge with me in detail for the book. She said the bank would compare its pledge activity with the volume and dollar amount of mortgages it had made in 2019, when interest rates were low and its home lending was “among our highest volumes.”

Another huge chunk of JPMorgan’s pledge came from its plans to make loans to real estate developers. It would do $14 billion in loans and other capital infusions for projects that included affordable housing units, mostly apartment buildings, with the goal of financing — an activity that can include rehabbing older units — 100,000 rentals.

Loans to developers are quite lucrative for banks on their own, not just because they can be made at higher rates and traded, but also because some projects come with a special tax credit. There is still an overwhelming shortage of affordable housing in major American cities even as developers and banks continue to benefit from this extra incentive.

“Win-win,” Ms. Wexler said. “It’s good for affordable housing and the families that can benefit from it and good for the banks that finance the developers.”

Another $2 billion in the bank’s activity was also for profit: small-business loans to borrowers with businesses in neighborhoods where the majority of the population is nonwhite.

The design of this component seemed to show that JPMorgan officials didn’t want to pour money indiscriminately into a neighborhood. The money was targeted not toward wealthy outsiders planning to buy up real estate, increase rents and open expensive stores and restaurants that priced locals out of the picture — in other words, to gentrify the area — but toward residents who had been unable to get financing for their small businesses.

Ms. Wexler explained that JPMorgan would create a program that paired “technical assistance” with loans to borrowers without the credit history to qualify for a more conventional arrangement. The program would be available only in certain cities at first; then it would be expanded. The bank provided a list of the cities — Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit and Atlanta — where it would begin in 2020 and 2021 and added that the education program would start first and that the lending would come afterward.

Another $750 million was straightforward business expenses. The bank said it would spend that much hiring minority-owned vendors to do things it could not do in-house.

A further $50 million would be invested in minority-owned banks and community development financial institutions, those frequently nonprofit organizations that make loans and grants to people who cannot get normal ones from a for-profit bank.

C.D.F.I.s need outside capital because although they function like banks in some respects, they don’t have a wide base of deposits to draw on. But banks like JPMorgan don’t provide those capital infusions for free. While some of the money that goes to C.D.F.I.s comes in as philanthropic gifts, other infusions have strings attached.

Banks collect dividends from the minority-focused institutions in which they invest, at varying rates. JPMorgan hasn’t disclosed the terms of its investments in minority-owned banks and C.D.F.I.s as part of its pledge, but since announcing its initial $50 million allocation, it has increased the commitment in its racial equity pledge to $75 million, then to $100 million.

The bank also announced that it was extending its philanthropic program, which originally pledged $1.75 billion over five years beginning in 2018 to “drive an inclusive economic recovery and support Black, Latinx and other underserved communities” and would now be worth $2 billion over five years starting in 2021, a $250 million increase in the total pledge.

So charity, it turned out, was a small piece of the puzzle.

“When the public sees a big number, they may think that that is philanthropic money,” Mr. Van Tol said. “But a major breakdown in a lot of these communities is what is debt and what is philanthropy or equity?”

Loading poor communities up with debt from new loans can be risky, he explained. “I’m a big believer in homeownership and homeownership’s role in building wealth, but debt is not automatically good,” he said, adding: “That’s very different from the bank giving away $50 million or $100 million.”

The last countable components that Ms. Wexler walked me through did not quite add up to $30 billion.

“There are other incremental investments and expenses that get us to, or beyond, the $30 billion commitment,” Ms. Wexler said. She did not specify what they were.

The bank’s summary of its pledge mentioned other spending in general terms, including a new effort to market its services to nonwhite people.

“We are building trust and awareness because in some of the communities where there is a large minority presence and where we’re trying to grow our customer base, we don’t have enough local employees on the ground to establish those important relationships with nonprofits and other community partners,” Ms. Wexler said.

“As such, we’ve hired hundreds of local community relationship advisers and community home lending advisers, many of whom are Spanish speaking in communities where that is the preferred language. Also, we’ve significantly increased our marketing spend in order to reach more customers in minority tracts across the country.”

More activity that fell into the “win-win” category: It counted as the bank’s effort to bring about racial equity while it also happened to be good business.

Some components of the pledge were presented entirely without numbers, time frames or any specifics, such as JPMorgan’s vow to “amplify education and counseling programs to prepare more Black and Latinx communities for sustainable homeownership.”

“We do not require people to go through education programs to qualify for a mortgage with us,” Ms. Wexler said. “However, there may be additional financial incentives if they do.”

Customers getting a $5,000 down payment assistance grant could get an additional $500 if they took a “first-time home buyer course.”

“It feels funny when they respond by saying, ‘These people need more information’ or ‘We’re going to help them with technical assistance,’ despite the fact that their tentacles are part of this whole economy, they are so implicated in these problems,” Ms. Baradaran said.

In general, though, Ms. Baradaran and others agree that business — not charity — is exactly what large corporations should be doing in their efforts to address inequality. After all, the racial wealth gap was created with willing participation by the private sector, from the period of slavery all the way to Jim Crow, when banks and housing developers carried out city officials’ restrictions on doing business with Black residents.

The problem with charity is it doesn’t build people’s own resilience,” said Eugene A. Ludwig, who served as comptroller of the currency from 1993 to 1998, during the Clinton administration, where he was a steward of the Community Reinvestment Act and brought more race-discrimination cases against banks than any of his predecessors.

“Doing good business has a double-whammy benefit,” Mr. Ludwig said. “It brings people into the real economy of the country.”

Another beneficiary of the pledge is JPMorgan itself.

“It shields them from any kind of criticism that rightfully should be directed to them,” Ms. Baradaran said.

A year after announcing the effort, in October 2021, JPMorgan declared that it had completed $13 billion of the $30 billion, including the pledged $4 billion in mortgage refinancings, as well as an expansion of its home buyer grant program. By the end of 2021, the completed portion had risen to $18 billion, according to the bank.

In an email on Wednesday, Ms. Wexler said: “We have committed to making sustainable, long-term systemic change to help close the racial wealth gap and fight racial inequality. We are tracking investments and initiatives to ensure they are making a significant impact.” She later added that the bank intended for the work to go well beyond its initial five-year commitment.

But JPMorgan didn’t seem to have publicized a legitimate bragging right: The proportion of its mortgage customers who were Black rose from 4 percent in 2019 to 5 percent at the end of 2021, according to an analysis of government data by a fair-lending information service, LendingPatterns. That was still below the 6 percent proportion among all banks, according to the analysis, but a 25 percent increase from the earlier period.

There are other mortgage lenders that do more, like New American Funding, a non-bank lender where Black borrowers account for nearly 8 percent of all its loans.

The company achieved that rate through a concerted effort to lend to more Black customers beginning in 2016, said Rick Arvielo, its chief executive. The loans cost New American Funding more to make and to service, because Black borrowers so often have lower credit scores as a result of the decades of subpar terms and services offered to them by financial institutions.

The loans are less profitable and more time-consuming, Mr. Arvielo said, but, in his view, the effort is worthwhile.

“We’re mission-driven,” he said. “This is our goal.”

JPMorgan’s mission is still, of course, to be a bank.

To some observers, when a bank pledges $30 billion toward closing the racial wealth gap, the best way forward is for it to act like a bank and track and report key performance indicators.

Ms. Baradaran, the scholar of racism in finance, wanted more precise measurements of success, such as: “This many people who wouldn’t have owned houses own houses now,” she said. “We increased wealth by this much.”

Marc Morial, the president and chief executive of the National Urban League, said he had spent several hours on the phone with JPMorgan officials in 2020 designing the pledge “to suggest the kinds of things as a bank they should do.”

Two years later, Mr. Morial said he thought it was too early to tell how effective JPMorgan’s pledge really would be. He noted that the bank had agreed to allow a third party to audit the package, a step in the right direction for transparency.

“A $30 billion commitment, to me, is a down payment,” he said.

Source: Where $30 Billion to Fix Systemic Racism Actually Goes

McWhorter: What a Report of Extreme Racism Teaches Us

Controversial but raises valid concerns:

It’s time for a few words on what we might learn from a Black volleyball player’s claims about what happened at a match she participated in at Brigham Young University this past August. I have refrained from commenting on this for a spell, in case there were further revelations. As there have been none yet, I shall proceed.

Rachel Richardson, a Black member of Duke’s volleyball team playing in a match at Brigham Young University, claimed that she and other Black teammates were “targeted and racially heckled throughout the entirety of the match,” such that they had to face a crowd amid which slurs “grew into threats.”

But a sporting match such as this one is attended by thousands and is well recorded, both professionally and also by anyone in attendance with a cellphone. To date, no one has offered evidencethat corroborates Richardson’s claims of racist verbal abuse, either independently or as part of an investigation by B.Y.U. There is nothing comparable in the security footage or in the television feed the school took of the match. No one at the match representing either school has described hearing such a thing happening. No witnesses have been reported as coming forward.

To be clear: It is possible that some racist spectator shouted a racial slur at Richardson at some point during the match. But it seems apparent that no rising tide of slurs and threats occurred during that match — that would be clear in the recordings. And Richardson’s having possibly exaggerated what happened casts into doubt whether there were any slurs at all, given that people leveling such words tend to do so with the intention of being heard by others, and no one present has come forward and explicitly said they heard it. Richardson and her representatives have presented no explanation as to why recordings via modern technology do not reveal what she claimed.

We cannot know why Richardson made this claim. Maybe she misheard common volleyball chants, as some have suggested. Or perhaps there were members of the crowd who did in fact resort to racist slurs that others either did not hear or are not willing to corroborate. But it’s hard not to sense that all of this is discomfitingly ambiguous — the likelihood that Richardson’s basic claim of being continuously heckled with racist slurs from the stands seems rather infinitesimal.

But this is why the B.Y.U. story is important. The message from this story is not just that interpretations of events will differ, or that in some fashion racism persists in America even if the details on this case are murky. We must also engage with the unfortunate possibility that the B.Y.U. story may be a demonstration of a pattern, one that we must be aware of to have an honest debate about racism in America today.

I have long noticed, in attending to episodes of this kind in our times, that claims of especially stark and unfiltered racist abuse, of the kind that sound like something from another time, often do not turn out to have been true. Accounts of this kind, I have realized, should be received warily. Not with utter resistance, but with a grain of salt.

The people making such claims appear to be thinking of horrors of the past and claiming that what supposedly happened to them shows that those horrors persist. It is difficult not to notice, for example, the parallel between Richardson’s claim and Jackie Robinson’s being called the N-word from the stands in the 1940s.

But while we have not remotely reached a point where racism does not exist, we have reached a point where some people are able to fabricate episodes of racism out of one unfortunate facet of being not Black, but human — crying wolf and seeking attention. This kind of thing was probably less likely when actual episodes of this kind, including lethal ones, were ordinary. Who would, on top of legalized segregation and lynching, make up racist violence? It would have seemed too trivializing of what actual people regularly went through. But today? Things are, while imperfect, quite different.

The classic, and perhaps officially inauguratory, example — and this is in no way to equate Richardson’s possible exaggeration to the prior, extraordinary event — was Tawana Brawley’s claim in 1987 to have been kidnapped and raped by a group of white men and then left in the woods wrapped in a garbage bag, covered with feces and scrawled with racial slurs. The sheer luridness of that scenario was always a clue that Brawley staged the whole thing, which she was proved to have done. A U.S. Justice Department report concluded that in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014, Officer Darren Wilson did not callously shoot Michael Brown dead despite his having his hands up in surrender, despite Brown’s friend Dorian Johnson’s claim to that effect.

White lacrosse players at Duke did not rape a Black stripper at a party, despite the 88 Duke professors who published a newspaper ad implying the lacrosse players were guilty. And of course, the actor Jussie Smollett’s story that MAGA-hatted homophobic racists jumped him in the wee small hours and put a noose around his neck has not held water. Nor is it an accident that the scenario sounds less like real life than something that would have happened on the television soap opera “Empire” that Smollett was starring in.

Cases like these are not eccentric one-offs. It is painful to have to write that they are a pattern. The incidents could fill a whole book, and they have: “Hate Crime Hoax by Wilfred Reilly, a Black political scientist, covers over 400 cases primarily in the 2010s that were either disproved or shown to be highly unlikely. It isn’t that discrimination never happens. But the more extreme and ghastly the story, the less likely I am to believe it.

It is a kind of good news. Today’s hoaxes are often based on claims of the kinds of things that actually happened to people and went unpunished in the past. That today such things are sometimes fabricated shows, oddly, that in real life, progress has taken place.

My point is not remotely to ignore claims of racism. It is to be wary of the especially bizarre, antique-sounding cases. And so: Indeed, the racially offensive trash talk by the Los Angeles City Council members that surfaced this week was egregious, but talk like that, when speakers are unaware anyone else will hear, is common, sad though that is. That story does not disprove my point, because it happened in an ordinary rather than outlandish manner. Grotesque, racist private talk certainly still persists.

While we must always be maximally aware that racism does still exist, we must also know that not all claims of racist abuse hold water and that being aware of this does not disqualify one from being an antiracist. True antiracists know that Black people exhibit the full scale of human traits and tendencies, including telling tall tales — and yes, even about matters involving racism.

Source: What a Report of Extreme Racism Teaches Us

BIPOC realtors find clients refuse to work with them because of their identity: OREA

Interesting and disturbing:

New research from the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) shows realtors and their clients are facing racism and discrimination during the home buying and selling process, but there are no efficient ways for consumers to report such incidents.

The Fighting for Fair Housing report released by the provincial real estate body Tuesday says more than one-third of realtors have experienced discrimination or racism and one in four BIPOC say a client has refused to work with them because of their identity.

Two in 10 consumers say they’ve been treated unfairly because of their identity, with those who are Black, Indigenous or of colour and LGBTQ2S+ individuals more likely to report such treatment.

The data has encouraged OREA to push for a process where complaints about racism and discrimination in the sector can easily be registered, investigated and result in stronger penalties.

It also wants the equal treatment of all individuals mandated in the Condominium Act because 43 per cent of realtors say they’ve seen a rental deal fall through because of discrimination.

They’d also like to make home ownership more accessible for all by reducing government-imposed costs on new rental projects and building 99,000 community housing units over the next 10 years.

Source: BIPOC realtors find clients refuse to work with them because of their identity: OREA

McWhorter: Trying to Prove You’re Not a Racist

Useful overview by McWhorter of his sensible views. From a Canadian perspective, some of the issues that he flags also have relevance with respect to Indigenous peoples:

Since I started writing this newsletter, once about every couple of weeks I have received a missive from someone troubled by a controversy involving race, usually in the workplace.

These readers feel that their opponents in these fusses are unfairly tarring them as racist. Typical disputes they find themselves embroiled in include whether a school program should devote itself centrally to antiracism, whether it is fair to hire people ranking skin color over qualifications, whether reparations for slavery in a local context are appropriate and what they should consist of, and whether a piece of art should be deemed racist.

They seek my confirmation that they are in the right, that they are not racist, and presumably want to take that judgment back to the ring as proof that their position is not anti-Black. Sometimes they are under the impression that it would help if I addressed their colleagues over Zoom.

It has occurred to me that I should provide, in this space, an all-purpose response to this kind of letter I get. For starters, I’d like to offer a guide to my positions on the debates my correspondents seem to find themselves in.

To wit:

I do not support treating the word “Negro,” as opposed to the “N-word,” as a slur. “Negro” was not a slur when it was current, and the case for classifying it as one now because it is archaic is quite thin. Why look for something to be offended by?

I do not support calling something “racist” because outcomes for it differ for the (Black) race. For example, I take issue with the idea that there is something “racist” or “biased” about the questions on the SAT.

I do not condemn white authors writing Black fictional characters who speak Black English so long as it’s a respectful and realistic rendition.

I think the idea that it is cultural appropriation when whites take on Black cultural traits is ahistoric — human groups sharing space have always shared culture — and also pointless, given that Black American culture has always, and will continue to, infuse mainstream America. I also do not think arguments about power relations somehow invalidate my position. I think that it is in vain to decree that culture cannot be borrowed by people in power from those who are not.

I think the idea that only Black people should depict Black people in art and fiction is less antiracist than anti-human, in forbidding the empathy and even admiration that can motivate respectful attempts to create a literary character.

I revile any concept of equity that allows for appointing Black people to positions over more highly qualified non-Black ones.

I know that racism exists both on the personal and structural levels. But I also feel deep disappointment that the tenor of our times seems to encourage some Black people to exaggerate racism’s effects, to enshrine a kind of charismatic defeatism as a substitute for activism. And then there are those who outright fabricate having suffered racist mistreatment. I also worry that these kinds of things desensitize many observers from acknowledging the real racism that exists.

I think reparations are important — and happened already, decades ago with the Great Society, affirmative action, the expansion of welfare benefits in the late 1960s and the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, which encouraged banks to extend credit in low-income neighborhoods. I would not stand implacably opposed to new reparations today in the form of various kinds or even cash payments but am highly skeptical that a critical mass of Black commentators would accept them as true compensation. I can’t help thinking the race debate would stay where it is now.

condemn notions that there are white ways of thinking (such as being precise and stressing individualism) and Black ones (such as being intuitive and stressing the communal), such that Black people resisting “assimilation” is taken as a kind of higher wisdom. That vision of Blackness would birth no useful inventions, yield only the occasional out-of-the-box insight and is alarmingly close to tacky, Dionysian depictions of Blackness, such as those in Norman Mailer’s “The White Negro.”

I consider it anti-intellectual performance art to retool educational institutions as antiracist academies that “center” the discussion of discrimination and other abuses of power in the instruction of all subjects.

Now that I’ve laid out a primer on my opinions, people who write me seeking support should keep in mind that quite a few Black people consider my stances on race to be a revolting kind of heresy.

Rather, as I have learned in my now lengthy experience with this kind of criticism, it’s that those who disagree with me feel — or perhaps have been taught to feel — that opinions like mine amount to giving white people a pass on racism, that they distract whites from engaging in the kind of thinking and activity that will help Black America. As such, they do not think of people like me as having opinions different from theirs but legitimate. They think opinions like mine are dangerous. I can imagine that to my critics, white people writing me for counsel is exactly what Black America doesn’t need. I am basing this on 25 years of receiving this kind of critique from various directions.

To witness a demonstration of the vigor and tone of this sentiment, please see the negative reactions that are sure to be part of the social media response to this newsletter — from people of all races. No Zoom talk could even begin to cut through such heated resistance.

Be under no illusion, then, that telling your colleagues my opinion about a race issue will be received by them as emanating from some kind of guru. You may suppose that it will be effective to say, “See? There are Black people who feel the way I do.” But to some of your opponents, those Black people may be seen as not just a different kind, but a wrong kind.

If people who don’t see race things my way continue to call you names and get in your way, you have my full sympathy. (And an overprivileged college professor like me isn’t the only one who would come to your defense. “Unwoke” views on race are quite common among Black people of all levels of education.)

But I consider myself engaged in a gradual process of — I hope — shaping our general consciousness on race via constant argument over decades of time. This is a long-game business. Views change slowly, incrementally, and writing is part of making it happen.

If you choose to present my take on race issues amid tense occasions anyway, you should understand that the issue is less my opinion than what you intend to do amid the response to it. My dear correspondents: Please know that it will require a degree of intestinal fortitude to withstand your opponents’ calling you a racist for agreeing with me. Know also, though, that if you’re up for that, you are joining me in that work I am committed to.

Source: Trying to Prove You’re Not a Racist