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The Origins of the Term “Honky”

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I recently made the claim that the term “honky” comes from a time, not that long ago, when white men would drive into black communities to purchase the services of prostitutes. Afraid to get out of their cars, they simply honked their horns to draw the women’s attentions. Hence, “honky” a description of a behavior […]

You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover: Not Over Overt Racism

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The story about the sudden “retirement” of a school superintendent and “resignation” of a school athletic director in Pennsylvania over racist and sexist text messages reminds us that, in spite of popular reports to the contrary, we’re not nearly over overt racism in this country. The text messages can be read here. I’ll spare you […]

How Not To Win Immigration Reform

How Not To Win Immigration Reform

Something rather bizarre has been happening for the past few weeks. Enthusiasm for comprehensive immigration reform is waning, despite many wonderful and brave political actions to the contrary. Why is that? I will leave the explanation for some other day. What I find more curious and perplexing is that self-proclaimed advocates for immigration reform are […]

The Origins of “gook”

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I was walking down the streets of downtown Seattle with a friend the other day when I heard the word “gook” directed at me for the first time in many years. A small group of young Black men were standing by the wall. As far as I could tell, one of them was on some […]

Why Are Asians So Racist?

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I get asked that question and various riffs on it like “why do Asians hate black people?” and “why do Asians only stick with other Asians?” all the time.  While these questions may seem rude, I take them seriously, not least because they contain seeds of truth, even if they’re ultimately based on misinformation. Before […]

Can We See Through Race?

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The book Seeing Through Race: A Reinterpretation of Civil Rights Photography, by Martin A. Berger explores the dual role of Civil Rights Movement photojournalism in promoting and limiting the possibility of civil rights reform in the 1960s. Berger argues that photos of civil rights protest – the unforgettable images of Bull Connor using attack dogs […]