the BLOG of stuart mcdonald

Modern Day School Segregation: Is Race To Blame?
April 6, 2010, 11:39 am
Filed under: race, Think About It | Tags: , , , , , ,

In America, race and class are inextricably linked. Whether by chance, or more likely, by purpose, that is the reality that we must live with. Most of the children who attend New York’s Lower Laboratory School for Gifted Education and Straus School, and their parents, know this all too well.

Straus and Lower Lab inhabit the same building in New York’s Upper East Side—P.S. 198—yet the two schools couldn’t be more different. The only thing they share is the building. While they utilize the same halls and bathrooms, the two schools never interact, even during lunch or recess. There’s an even more striking area they don’t share—the front door. Lower Lab, along with its student and teachers, gets to use the front door while the Straus students are forced to go around the side of the building to use the back door.

In Steven Thrasher’s article, “Inside a Divided Upper East Side Public School,” published in New York’s Village Voice, he describes the scene at P.S. 198 by saying, “If you’re a white student and you arrive at the public elementary school building on 95th Street and Third Avenue, you’ll probably walk through the front door. If you’re a black student, you’ll probably come in through the back.” Continue reading


Would You Adopt A Child Of Another Race?
March 12, 2010, 11:11 am
Filed under: race, Think About It | Tags: , , , , , ,

Adoption is not something to be entered into haphazardly. One must consider all the possible outcomes, occurrences, and obstacles that may arise. This is even more true when a family (or individual) is considering a transracial adoption (when the race of the adopted child is different from that of one or both adoptive parents).

This is not a new issue in the United States. Transracial adoptions nearly stopped for 20 years, from the early 70s to the 90s, when they were condemned as “cultural genocide” by the National Black Social Workers Association (NBSWA). In 1994, after the Metzenbaum Multiethnic Placement Act (which banned any agency receiving federal funds from interfering with adoptions based on race or nationality) was passed, we saw a significant rise in these adoptions. This act, as well as the Interethnic Adoption Provisions amendment, were designed to eliminate racial discriminations within the adoption system. (1) Continue reading

Are Biracial People Black? My Thought on Paula Patton’s Comment
March 5, 2010, 10:14 am
Filed under: race

Paula Patton, during an interview in the March issue of Women’s Health Magazine, said the following

“I find [the term biracial] offensive. It’s a way for people to separate themselves from African Americans… a way of saying ‘I’m better than that.’ I’m black because that’s the way the world sees me. People aren’t calling Barack Obama biracial. Most people think there’s a black president.”

Which terms Patton is offended by and approves of isn’t really important (I’d be more offended by words like mongrel, mutt, or half-breed instead of biracial, but that’s a personal preference). Instead, what is important ins that she points out that the term biracial is a way for people to separate themselves from African Americans. This is true. But people who are biracial are not African American. Nor are they White. Or Asian. Or Latino. Or whatever other race they’re mixed with. They are biracial. Biracial is an identity all it’s own. Continue reading

Does Race Really Matter?
March 2, 2010, 11:11 am
Filed under: race | Tags: , , , ,

Does race matter? It’s a question that was brought to me the other day. And in the midst of all that’s going on in America — the first black President in the White House, politicians remarking that black people were better off during slavery, celebrities using inappropriate and racially charged words — it’s a question that’s not out of place. So, does race matter?

I’m torn. Part of me wants to say that, no, race doesn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter. After all, race is a socially constructed concept with no real, inherently biological traits to distinguish any one person from any other person. Race is a category based on the society of which we’re a part at any given time. Race has changed over time, and indeed will continue to change as society itself changes. In other words, ultimately, it means nothing. Continue reading

Are Interracial Relationships Biblical?
February 23, 2010, 11:11 am
Filed under: race, Relationships | Tags: , , , , ,

Last week I talked about how interracial dating can go wrong by citing a certain website that is designed exclusively for those desiring only interracial relationships. I noted how this can allow people to develop unhealthy, racially-based fetishes. Since then, some have brought up the question of whether or not interracial dating is Biblical. This argument is not only easily dismantled, but in fact, racist in and of itself.

In order to properly talk about interracial relationships, we must define what race is. The best definition I have found comes from Dr. Mikhail Lyubansky, a clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Illinois. He defines race as a “classification of human beings into politically motivated socially constructed categories based on arbitrary phenotypical combinations.” In other words, there is no lasting, biological condition such as race (other than, of course, the human race) — it’s strictly based on societal norms at a given place and time.

Using that definition, we understand that interracial relationships involve two individuals who don’t have similar phenotypical features (in terms of race, we often think of skin tone, bone structure, and hair texture). Continue reading

When Interracial Dating Goes Wrong
February 16, 2010, 11:11 am
Filed under: race, Relationships, Think About It | Tags: , , , ,

mixed couple

While browsing YouTube the other day, I noticed an interesting ad, placed below a video entitled, “Single black women find the search for love is especially difficult.” The ad pictured a Black woman with a shirtless White man next to the text, “AfroRomance — Where love is more than skin deep.”

I didn’t want to assume that it’s placement was intentional, so I refreshed the page at least half a dozen times, even closing the browser, opening it back up, and going to the page again, and each and every time I saw the exact same ad. I even went so far as to have four other people check the page, but we independently saw the same thing. No matter how we tried, there was no escaping AfroRomance.

It seemed that YouTube, with it’s consistent ad placement was saying: “Hey Black women, you know your pickings are slim with all the black men being either unemployed or incarcerated. Not to worry, come try out this interracial dating site and find you a nice White man!” (Ok, perhaps that wasn’t the intent, but that’s certainly how I took it.) Continue reading

My Thoughts on John Mayer and the “Hood Pass”
February 12, 2010, 10:10 am
Filed under: race, Think About It | Tags: , , , , ,

In a recent interview with Playboy magazine, John Mayer made a few comments that caused a bit of an uproar and plenty or backlash on Twitter. It seems that more than a few people have wanted my thoughts, so here’s my obligatory “the White boy speaks out on John Mayer” post.

But before we get started, if you haven’t already, I’ll let you read the full interview for yourself (here) and then come back and join us.

Obviously his use of the n-word was out of line for the simple reason that he’s White. Whether he has a “Hood Pass” or not, he is still a White man in America using an incredibly powerful, racially charged, derogatory term that comes with, at least when said from the mouth a White person, years of oppression, slavery, and notions of inherent inferiority attached to it. A “hood pass” may give you a pass to come into someone’s community but doesn’t change the color of your skin. Continue reading