Wednesday, July 5

Dallas: the White Metropolis

I can't say I make a habit of attending AuthorSpeaks. Tonight, I moseyed to the downtown Dallas Public Library to hear Michael Phillips, author of White Metropolis: Race, Ethnicity, and Religion in Dallas, 1841-2001

This event was sponsored by Howard Dean's private club, Democracy For America.

One of Phillips' premises is that, if mankind began with one male and one female, there were no races. He suggests that the concept of "race" was concocted by Europeans in the 1500s, saying that 99% of human genes between Asians, Europeans, Hispanics, Africans are identical.

Phillips clearly has contempt for George F. Will, reading a passage from his 5 June 2006 Newsweek column: White Guilt, Deciphered which freely quotes one of the only black men that Will admires, Shelby Steele (a possible Oreo).

Other discussion ensued:
  • Does institutional racism still exist?
  • Another author's work -- Jerrold Ladd of the 1970s-era Dallas Morning News -- was mentioned: "Out of the Madness : From the Projects to a Life of Hope"
  • the 1865-8 Freedmen's Bureau in Dallas, when the whites sought to permanently enforce a black underclass.
  • the correlation between education & prosperity (premise: blue states are liberal, more educated, more prosperous than red/conservative/stupid states).
  • Says that, under the Jim Crow education system, textbooks used by blacks couldn't later be use by whites. Says the 1860s era school year sent blacks for 60 days, and whites for 100 days. Most school was oriented as a vocational effort, teaching the blacks to be servants to the white masters, effectively.
  • W.E.B. Du Bois' history books.
  • Texas textbooks 1890-1970, explicit racism throughout.
  • Historically altered descriptions of post Civil War Reconstruction.
  • Tarzan's movie lessons (where is this mysterious White Tribe of Africa?).
  • Why aren't Egypt and Morocco considered African, instead of Middle Eastern?
  • An assessment of FOX "News" target market: over 70, simpletons.
  • The fallacy of Atlanta's former slogan: "the city too busy to hate".
  • Mentions of TSU (Texas Southern University) - an historically black university near downtown Houston.
  • How Dallas white population were "better organized elites" than other cities, hence the huge racial divide present today.
  • Houston v Dallas' labor history
  • Example of the ILGWU (International Ladies Garment Workers Union)
  • Highland/University Park where the organized white elites live today, virtually Hispanic/African Free.
  • Prominent black Dallas leaders, historically: A. Maceo Smith; Juanita Craft
Finally, someone mentioned a Dallas Peace Center series on eliminating racism. And then, adjourned. Whew, a lot of ground covered. Maybe I should attend these Author Things more often?

1 comment:

Jill said...

99%, eh? Gosh, I should sure hope since humans and chimpanzees are 99.2% in common according to the this article:

IMHO, I'd say the concept of "race" existed way before the 1500. Perhaps the concept of "a certain race being superiorleading therefore to racism" came more fully into being in the 1500's.