Dr. Marcia Chatelain on Unapologetically Centering Black Girls in Her Scholarship

In March, Dr. Marcia Chatelain’s first book South Side Girls: Growing Up in the Great Migration hit bookshelves. Dr. Chatelain serves as an Assistant Professor of History and African America Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. I spoke with the Chicago native about black girlhood of the past and the present, how we can talk about race more effectively and her hopes of paying it forward by sharing her lessons learned with other black women in academia.

During our conversation, Dr. Chatelain told me, “When I started the journey to do my doctoral research, it was really important for me to put girls at the center of whatever research question I was asking.” With South Side Girls, Dr. Chatelain is writing black girls back into a history, from which they were erased. Her intersectional work continues as she writes her second book about race and fast food.

In addition to her work as a scholar, Dr. Chatelain speaks and teaches communities about how to discuss race and social justice.

Read more: http://www.forharriet.com/2015/06/dr-marcia-chatelain-speaks-on.html#ixzz3crGnDY5l

Serena Williams has been consistently disrespected for her entire career [Repost]

The racialized, sexualized, dehumanizing comments about her — which are nearly impossible to imagine being made about any of her peers — are a genre unto themselves, offering a case study on how biases make their way into media coverage. As James McKay and Helen Johnson write in a 2008 article published in Social Identities, about what they called the “pornographic eroticism and sexual grotesquerie in representations of African American sportswomen,” even so-called complimentary commentary about Williams’ athleticism is often grounded in stereotypes about black people (animalistic and aggressive) and black women specifically (masculine, unattractive, and overly sexual at once).

These remarks don’t always take the form of explicit racial slurs or threats of bodily harm, like the ones reported at Indian Wells did. But if Williams were to boycott every tennis event at which someone made an offensive, dehumanizing reference to her body’s size and shape, she’d have to quit the sport altogether.

It’s true: Williams is black, she’s very muscular, and she’s a skilled player. But breathless commentators sometimes talk about these qualities in a way that buys into what sociologist Delia Douglas, in an article on the Williams sisters published in 2004 by theSociology of Sport Online, called “the essentialist logic of racial difference, which has long sought to mark the black body as inherently different from other bodies.” The result is that Williams’ athleticism is attributed to her ethnicity.

Dr. Peter Larkins, in an apparent attempt to compliment Williams, contributed his medical opinion in an interview with Australia’s Herald Sun for a 2006  piece that compared her fitness to a competitor’s. “It is the African-American race,” he explained. “They just have this huge gluteal strength … Jennifer Capriati was clearly out of shape and overweight. With Serena, that’s her physique and genetics.”

This thinking is part of a tradition Douglas dubbed the “ancient grammar of black physicality.”

Ironically, Williams’ mistakes have also been attributed to her race. At the 2007 Sony Ericsson Championship in Miami, a heckler was ejected from the stands after yelling at Williams, “That’s the way to do it! Hit the net like any Negro would!”

But most of the racialized comments about Williams have been more carefully coded, rarely mentioning her ethnicity outright.

Read more at VOX

Which Women in Tech?

History has taught us that diversification efforts (ie: initiatives to correct systemic inequalities) unfold like this: White men “let” white women into the halls of power they created, and little changes for the rest of us. Such is the case in politics, in elite universities, and in corporate America.

This pattern is currently repeating itself in tech, with Silicon Valley luminaries and media applauding “change” and pointing to a handful of highly successful white, well-networked women as the vanguards. As such, all women working in this field are expected to rejoice over Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer and take advice from them on how to replicate their success.

But something that everyone paying attention to diversity in tech needs to understand is this: White women speaking for us as representatives of the “diversity in tech” movement must stop. White women are a small sliver of the available talent, but are currently used as the proxy for all diversity. What works for them is not what works for us.

Read more at medium.com