Please Stop: Post-Racial America

I am late in responding to Dr_JZs post about how after President Obama was elected in the 2008 suddenly pundits opined that the United States was in a post-racial era. This reminds me of the quote by Meg Sullivan, “I’ll be a post-feminist in the post-patriarchy.” It does not exist. We are not in a post-racial era and to say this is to not acknowledge racism or different forms of privilege. Jordan-Zachery’s eloquent post notes how at this same time we have witnessed an invisibility of Black women in our field of Political Science. Jordan-Zachery spoke to this in her recent article published in Politics, Groups and Identities demonstrating via some statistics that fewer publications are examining Black women as a subject. Why? The answers will vary, but most will carry lots of baggage and will unsettle and make most of us uncomfortable. It is not that Latinos are now the majority minority. It is not that we live in a post-racial United States (although I am living in Canada).

I strongly believe that part of this invisibility stems from editors and reviewers deeming what is worthy of publication. It also stems from the research that is currently conducted and supported on campuses in departments of Political Science, Africana Studies, or Black Studies programs and departments. And, I will not speak for Jordan-Zachery; however, her blog post notes specifically how Intersectionality as method has been hijacked. OK, she does not use those exact words, but the following quote from Jordan-Zachery’s post is telling:

“Simply put, Black women are disappearing as research subjects within our ‘leading’ academic journals (Alexander-Floyd “Disappearing Acts” 2012) and within intersectionality research specifically. Many credit intersectionality research as an outgrowth of Black feminist standpoint theory and remind us that Black feminist standpoint theory is crucial to intersectionality, but in many cases a mere footnote or sentence makes this acknowledgment.” (Bold in the original post).

What can we make of this or should we make of this? Is this the hijacking of a method that is now mainstream within Feminist Political Science research that used to focus on Black women, then women of color. Now, Intersectionality is that catch all for all components of identity. Is it now meaningless? Perhaps Intersectionality as a method is so useful that everyone wants to employ it as a lens of analysis. It begs the question about methods and who can use them? I do not have the singular answer, but I do know that I am hard pressed to not find Intersectionality as a method in journal articles related to my areas of interest and teaching.

Our blog post conversation also stems from a Google Hangout that we had last month catching up on work and more. I am happy and honored to have Julia (now I refer to her as a person and not a super-star academic) in my life. One of the interesting conversations that was about race and racism. Since Obama’s election and re-election we have both witnessed the marked ways that race is discussed or not discussed by the popular press, within the blogosphere, then in academe. It’s complicated. People generally feel a sense of unease when it comes to discussing race or racism. Frankly, I think that our blog posts would make some uncomfortable. This is a start of a longer conversation. Please weigh in–Dr. J_Z and I are waiting! Oh, and the title of my post is my asking that people stop referring to the US as a post-racial society. It’s not.

Fri Fun Facts: Gay Marriage/Same Sex Marriage

Today’s Fri Fun Facts is dedicated to thinking about the continued fight for human rights in the US. Yes, I’m weighing in on Gay Marriage or Same Sex Marriage. I have to share that this issue is such a no brainer here in Victoria, BC Canada. Same Sex Marriage is legal in Canada since the Civil Marriage Act was passed in 2005. Wait, yes, just 7 years ago. Canada joins nine other countries:

Argentina, Belgium, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Sweden. There are other countries that allow same-sex marriages to be performed and then another group of countries that recognize same-sex marriages, but do not allow them to be performed. Let’s think about what is so problematic to 30 of the states in the US, which have taken special care to ban same-sex marriages.

1. “50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce, according to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri.” via DivorceRate.org. This does not say much to the whole “sanctity of marriage” line of argument. Looking for divorce statistic is interesting, as the data varies depending on the source that you examine and the government records them according to the number of divorces within the population: Divorce rate: 3.4 per 1,000 population (44 reporting States and D.C.) via http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/divorce.htm 2009 data.

2. Many supporters of the ban refer to the Bible. The most commonly quoted saying that I’ve heard, “The Bible refers to Adam and Eve and not Adam and Steve.” Fair enough, but I we don’t have everything in the Bible literally. And, not everyone subscribes to the teachings in the Bible. Using the Bible as the guide to politics might offer a short-sighted means of thought and practice.

3. We need to think about how the 14th Amendment offers equality under the law. The bans do anything but this and actually discriminate against unmarried partnerships (heterosexual) and against the LGBTQ community. Why are we allowing hate legislation? This is a human rights issue or a civil rights issue at the very least.

4. Bans against Same Sex Marriage are draconian at best. What they really demonstrate is that bigotry is alive and well and seeping into the law. We need to re-think the motivation for these sorts of laws and respond.

I support same sex marriage. And, unfortunately the Congressional Representative who does not represent me is in support of banning same sex marriage. Thankfully President Obama noted on May 9th that he is now in support of same sex marriage. With today’s Fri Fun Facts I am sending supportive energy to my sisters and brothers who demand that their families are protected by the states they live in or visit.

This was one of two emails that I received within hours of Obama’s interview.