Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009

another real question

so i just had an odd experience. i was talking to j about my take on israeli politics and policies towards the palestinians. we were alone. apparently, someone downstairs overheard our conversation. this person was sitting next to someone who, believe it or not, is a zionist. now, i was just made to feel bad for offending someone i didn't even know was listening because i was arguing that israeli foreign policy routinely flouts the basic conventions of the international community.

this makes me wonder: can you be opposed to israeli policy without being considered anti-Semitic? and, if not, why?

this, incidentally, was messed up. i teach us foreign relations, for pete's sake. how can i be expected to teach this stuff if anything israel does--and thus the us's support of israel--is totally sacrosanct? israel is, after all, a nation-state. nation-states pursue their interests. sometimes that pursuit causes nation-states to break existing codes of international comity. is any of this NOT true?

what do we think. am I racist???

Thursday, February 5, 2009

a REAL question

so the curator in my dept. is putting together woodcuts from the collection for a show. there's an amazing piece that he wants to show but he's afraid someone is going to complain that it has 'negative racial overtones' (another phrase that should be investigated by this group)...but the workmanship is fantastic and it deserves to be out of a box and shown.

so the piece is this - a migrant black couple from the 19th century sitting near a window carefully inspecting some change, likely attempting to determine the value of the coin. and that's it. the seated couple, a pile of change, and a window. the listed title is 'rent day'.

is it racist? now I told the curator that illteracy was common in the 19th c. among any member of that class, black or white and that the couple could easily be replaced with that of a poor white couple and the reading should be the same...but obviously should and would are very different.

Monday, February 2, 2009

who cares if it is...

because it's amazing.

What's in a name (or lack thereof)? Racism?

Ever-vigilant CB writes:
So today, as I read my Google Reader's wonderful collection of internet stuffs, I noticed the BBC has twice referred to Wen Jiabao as the "Chinese PM" in their headlines, but referred to England's Prime Minister as "Brown."

I also noticed that they refer to Johanna Sigurdardottir as the "Iceland PM." (She's new. I know, but why "First gay PM for Iceland Cabinet" instead of "Sigudardottir becomes Iceland's first gay PM"?)

But U.S. captain Paul Azinger gets his name in the headline for the sports page for golfing.

Of course, presidents get their names in the headline.

And I'm sure other news sources do this too, but I'm just wondering: is it ethnocentric to name only one's country's prime ministers? Or is it racist against foreign prime ministers?

Thoughts, anyone?