Oregon Was Founded As a Racist Utopia

When Oregon was granted statehood in 1859, it was the only state in the Union admitted with a constitution that forbade black people from living, working, or owning property there. It was illegal for black people even to move to the state until 1926. Oregon's founding is part of the forgotten history of racism in the… » 1/21/15 11:24am 1/21/15 11:24am

The Anti-Racism Exercise That Taught Kids to Be Racist

In 1968, Jane Elliott was teaching a class of 8-year-olds, and one of them asked why "that King" had been shot, referring to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Elliott was unsure how to explain the context of what happened to elementary school children in Riceville, Iowa, so she made up an impromptu exercise. » 4/04/14 8:00am 4/04/14 8:00am

​The time Batman fought evil with the power of racism

Batman's had a pretty spectacular career, but even the Caped Crusader has a few moments he'd like to forget. Chief among them would probably be his first live-action excursion, a serial released in 1943 that featured Bats squaring off against a mad Japanese scientist/horrible stereotype. So if you want to check out… » 2/03/14 2:40pm 2/03/14 2:40pm

10 White People Who Became Rulers of the Jungle

When you hear the word jungle, what's the first thing that comes to your mind? If you said “white people in charge,” you're probably a racist. That said, white people have overcome some pretty astounding odds to become kings and queens and lords and princesses of a place they had no business being in the first place.… » 5/13/13 10:15am 5/13/13 10:15am

An Interactive Map of Racist, Homophobic and Ableist Tweets in America

This is The Geography of Hate – a cartographical collection of every geotagged tweet in the continental U.S. between June 2012 and April 2013 in which the word "chink," "gook," "nigger," "wetback," "spic," "dyke" "fag," "homo," "queer" or "cripple" was used in an explicitly negative way. » 5/10/13 11:23am 5/10/13 11:23am

A touching animated tale of Challenger astronaut Ronald McNair's early…

In 1984, NASA physicist Ronald E. McNair became the second African-American man to fly in space. Tragically, McNair died just two years later in the Challenger disaster. With the help of StoryCorps, McNair's brother Carl pays tribute to McNair with this uplifting story of a young Ronald McNair trying to borrow books… » 2/02/13 10:00am 2/02/13 10:00am

The trouble with race in Game of Thrones can be traced to Tolkien

Over at Salon, fantasy writer Saladin Ahmed has a terrific essay about race in fantasy epics, focusing especially on Game of Thrones and its relationship to JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings cycle. His main question is really whether George RR Martin's contemporary tale is any better than Tolkein's tale at dealing with… » 4/02/12 8:01am 4/02/12 8:01am

What do you do when you find weird racism in old science fiction books?

Over at the Straight Dope messageboard, there's a fascinating conversation about the perils of reading old books, especially science fiction novels, in which some very off-kilter racism is tossed out casually. The discussion kicks off with Cyril Kornbluth's "The Marching Morons," in which the main character just… » 3/19/12 1:26pm 3/19/12 1:26pm