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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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race

South Africa is the world’s most unequal nation

“Despite 25 years of democracy, South Africa remains the most economically unequal country in the world, according to the World Bank. If anything, South Africa is even more divided now than it was in 1994 as the legacy of apartheid endures. Previously disadvantaged South Africans hold fewer assets, have fewer skills, earn lower wages, and are still more likely to be unemployed, a 2018 World Bank report on poverty and inequality in South Africa found.”

Source: edition.cnn.com

This CNN article takes a shocked tone, but that removes South Africa from it’s historical and geographic context even if the outcome is unfortunate (as a bonus for educators, the article has a GINI reference in its analysis with the data charts).  Time’s cover story is more detailed and nuanced.  In the late 1980s, the apartheid system was becoming untenable; the injustices and discontent make the apartheid government unable to govern.  Both the government and activists recognized that change was necessary and compromises were needed to allow South Africa to move from the apartheid system of racial separation to nonracial democracy without falling apart.

The post-apartheid government guaranteed that while political power would be transferred, economic power would still stay ensconced in the hands of the land-owning elites, since there was to be no massive land redistribution. Neighboring Zimbabwe had disastrous land redistribution attempts and everyone wants to avoid economic chaos.  Land reform will be be a key issue in tomorrow’s election (see this BBC article for more election issues).     

GeoEd Tags: South Africa, Africa, race, ethnicity, political, economic.

Scoop.it Tags: South Africa, Africarace, ethnicitypolitical, economic

Why does the misperception that slavery only happened in the southern United States exist?

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“Christy Clark-Pujara research focuses on the experiences of black people in British and French North America in the seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. She examines how the business of slavery—the buying and selling of people, food, and goods—shaped the experience of slavery, the process of emancipation, and the realities of black freedom in Rhode Island from the colonial period through the American Civil War.”

Source: vimeo.com

This is one of the many videos produced by the Choices Program about slavery in the New England (especially Rhode Island).  Featured in the videos is Dr. Christy Clark-Pujara, who wrote “Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island.”  There is a reason to what we learn in history, and there are also reasons to the histories that are rarely told.  More than any other of the original thirteen colonies and states along the Eastern Seaboard, Rhode Island plied the triangle trade transporting more slaves to the Americas than all the other states combined.

 

Some Rhode Island slavery facts:

  • In 1776, Rhode Island had the largest proportion of slave population of any of the New England colonies.
  • During the antebellum period Rhode Islanders were the leading producers of “negro cloth,” a coarse wool-cotton material made especially for enslaved blacks in the American South.
  • More than 60 percent of all the slave ships that left North America left from Rhode Island.

 

Tags: raceRhode Island, slavery, labor, economic, historical.

Map: Where Are Confederate-Named Schools?

Most schools with names tied to the Confederacy are in the South, were built or named after 1950, and have a student body that is majority non-white.

Source: www.edweek.org

The maps (and the charts) created from this national database is quite revealing.  At least 36 ‘Confederate-themed’ schools have changed their names since 2015 and I suspect that number will continue to grow in the coming years.    

 

Tags: race, racism, landscape, historicalthe South.

South Africa Is Still Under Apartheid

“More than two decades after the end of apartheid in South Africa, Cape Town remains racially segregated, with many black residents living in substandard townships.”

Source: www.youtube.com

The title is a bit inflammatory–news agencies may pretend that they aren’t in the shock-and-awe, clickbait economy, but they invented the salacious headline to grab our attention.  Still, the racial inequities of a system as pervasive as apartheid aren’t going to be reversed in a generation and the racial differences in Capetown are coming under more international scrutiny as the they are in the midst of their current drought.

 

Tags: South Africa, Africarace, ethnicityneighborhood, urban, planning, drought, water, urban ecology.   

National Geographic Reckons With Its Past: ‘For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist’

“Before it could publish an issue on race, the magazine first had to look at its own history. ‘Some of what you find in our archives leaves you speechless,’ writes editor Susan Goldberg.  The 1916 caption of the picture of these aboriginal Australians described them as ‘savages who rank lowest in intelligence of all human beings.'”

Source: www.npr.org

This is both incredibly obvious, and remarkably shocking.  I don’t think that any academic geographic should be surprised that for generations, National Geographic’s goals to describe the world’s people and it mission to sell magazines made its coverage a product of the cultural norms of the times, the magazine producers and subscribers.  Still, this open honesty coming from National Geographic about National Geographic’s past is a breath of fresh air that is quite encouraging, even if some still think that National Geographic’s issue and cover miss the mark.

Questions to Ponder: Are there some voyeuristic tendencies we might exhibit as well learn about, or discuss other cultures?  How do we highlight culture differences without making making those with different cultural practices seem as innately ‘other’ or ‘less than?’    

Tags: National Geographic, race, racismmedia

Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy

“In [recent years], the South’s 150-year reverence for the Confederacy was shaken. Public officials responded to the national mourning and outcry by removing prominent public displays of its most recognizable symbol [the flag]. It became a moment of deep reflection for a region where the Confederate flag is viewed by many white Southerners as an emblem of their heritage and regional pride despite its association with slavery, Jim Crow and the violent resistance to the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s.”

Source: www.splcenter.org

Just a few more links that I’ve added to the article, Cultural Meaning in Moving Monuments.  Right now, many people are calling for the removal of all memorials that honor the Confederacy and the call for the removal of all Confederate monuments is in full swing.  

 

Tags: monuments, the South, architectureracecultural norms, landscape.

The dim reality of South Africa’s new dawn

In April 1994, South Africa held its first democratic elections and all races went to the polls to bury apartheid for good. But hopes of a new dawn have been tarnished by fraud and corruption at the highest levels.

Source: www.youtube.com

The first 2 and a half minutes of this video are a good historical analysis into the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa, culminating in the election of Nelson Mandela and the empowerment of the ANC.  Today though, the ANC and South Africa is mired in endemic corruption.  South Africa is one of the most unequal societies with high unemployment and a faltering economy. 

 

Tags: South Africacrime, Africa, political, racegovernance, ethnicity.

Gullah Culture

“While Gullah was not originally a written language and has never had a governing authority or dictionary, linguistic scholars have found that the language is internally consistent and in some ways more efficient and expressive than standard English. Elements of the language have seeped into African-American Vernacular English across the country.”

 

For the first time in recent memory, the Charleston County School Board is discussing how to address the specific needs of Gullah and Geechee students, children of a culture whose linguistic origins trace back to the west coast of Africa via the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Some teachers have said the students’ way of speaking — whether in the heavily West African-influenced Gullah language or in the more Anglicized dialects sometimes known as Geechee — can present an obstacle to understanding in the classroom. Like many Lowcountry Gullah speakers of her generation, the current head of state for the Gullah/Geechee Nation carries painful memories of adults who taught her to hold her family’s way of speaking in contempt.

 

Tags: language, culture, raceeducation, historical.

Source: www.youtube.com

Dreadlocks Decision Raises Another Question: What Is Race?

Many experts agree with an appeals court’s decision last month that dreadlocks aren’t a common racial characteristic. But left undecided: What’s a common racial characteristic?

Source: www.npr.org

Race is both an omnipresent part of culture and surprisingly elusive.  “What is race?” might seem like an obvious question with concrete answers, but many see race as a socially constructed concept.  Even if it is socially constructed, how it is thought of has legal ramifications (as shown in the case regarding dreadlocks).  This is a good article that could start students asking the question “What is race?” and realize that it might be a hard question to answer.  

 

Tags: culture, race.

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