The 2016 Oscar nominations prove the Academy’s diversity problem

For the second year in a row, the annual Oscars ceremony will be unmistakably…white.

The Academy Award nominations were announced early Thursday morning. Snubs, no doubt, are expected. Upsets happen. But in the midst of growing criticism for Hollywood’s lack of diversity, it’s hard not seeing this year’s nominations as egregious erasure.

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Residents of NY Town Vote to Keep Seal Depicting White Man Choking Indigenous Person

Welcome to the historic town of Whitesboro, New York where the official emblems of the town features a white man trying to wrestle a Native American to the ground.

In the representative symbol, a white man looks to be grappling with a Native American man, who is identified by the feather on his head. The Native American looks like he is about to admit defeat by the way that he looks with his eyes closed and his head moving backwards.


Chris Rock Has an Intersectional Critique of Jennifer Lawrence’s Feminism

Who doesn’t love Jennifer Lawrence? She’s the modern-day Joan of Arc who calls out Hollywood and its sexist pay structures while still headlining some of the biggest films of the year. Well, Chris Rock, like many people of color doesn’t believe Lawrence is the great light for equality. Rather, he suggests that her focus on pay differences for women misses how race also plays a factor.


This 3-minute video sums up institutional racism in the United States

A lot of folks struggle with the idea that systemic racism actually exists. This video from Brave New Films details why this confusion is completely unfounded.

Black folks still struggle to get employment even with the same qualifications as Whites. Black folks are still preyed upon by private businesses and loan officers. And, sadly, Black people are still targeted for petty crimes like marijuana possession at much higher rates than Whites?

This film simply asks: If this isn’t racism, what is?

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Why an Angry Whites “Listening Tour” is the Last Thing President Obama Should be Doing in 2016

It is often assumed that, since White folks are a majority in this country, the key to ending racism is just making them happy or “listening” to them. Sadly, this has never worked. And, the suggestion that President Obama should waste his time on an angry White people “listening tour” is both ignorant and racist.


We’re Done Being Polite: A Reflection on the Mizzou Protests

Social movements over the years have taught us that politeness and respectabiility rarely result in lasting social change. When 15-year-old Claudette Colvin first resisted public bus segregation in Alabama on March 2, 1955, she did so knowing that she’d be classified as unruly, dangerous, and a threat to the very fabric of American society. Nine months later, when Rosa Parks did the same, it was groundswell effect of women like Colvin’s actions which helped to shift the public’s attention to the nonviolent but very disruptive actions of Blacks in Montgomery, Alabama. But these women, their fellow organizers and their tactics weren’t polite. So, why is anyone demanding politeness from young Black organizers today?


We Are Still Asking: Who Is Burning Black Churches?


In the days following the June 17th massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, at least six predominantly and historically Black churches were set ablaze. It has only been a few days since the last Black church in the South was burned. Sadly, the brief reprieve from church burnings inspires both relief and foreboding as one has to wonder if the trend will resume in the coming weeks. Given that there has been little to no coverage from mainstream media outlets, many on social media have asked: Who is burning Black churches? Unfortunately, this is a question we may never see answered. Here is what we do know right now:

1. The first church burned was College Hill Seventh Day Adventist Church in Knoxville, Tenn. The church was determined to have been attacked by arsonists just four days after the massacre at Emanuel AME Church. However, investigators believe it was not a hate crime because there were no signs left behind indcating that the church was targeted for hate.

2. The second church fire was at God’s Power Church of Christ in Macon, Georgia on June 23rd. Like the first fire, this event was determined to be an act of arson yet officials chose not to comment on why exactly the fire was set.

3. Briar Creek Road Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina was the third Black church to catch fire in the days following the Emanuel AME massacre. Investigators revisited this case after several other church fires denoted a pattern. They have not yet determined if this incident on June 24th was a hate crime.

4. On June 26th, nine days following the massacre at Emanuel AME Church, Glover Grove Baptist Church in Warrenville, South Carolina was set on fire in the wee hours of the morning. After originally suggesting the fire might have been caused by an electrical problem, further investigations of the cause of the fire were inconclusive.

5. Also on June 26th, Greater Miracle Temple in Tallahassee, Florida was burned down. State officials determined that this event was an accident rather than an act of arson.

6. The last church (we know of) which has burned in the last two weeks is Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Greeleyville, South Carolina. The fire, which happened on June 30th, has been attributed to lightning. Officials have specifically stated that there was “no criminal intent” involved in this incident.

While fire investigators and officials have determined several of these church burnings to be accidental and non-criminal in nature, many people looking on struggle to see how these events could possibly be disconnected. Given this country’s long history of racism and intimidation from hate groups like the KKK, it seems odd that there would be any question as to who is behind the burning of Black churches in the South. Some congregants and pastors of Black churches have spoken out concerned that this issue has not been addressed in a more material way by mainstream news outlets.

These are all of the documented cases of Black churches burnings as of July 5th. This story will be updated as additional information becomes available.



Jenn M. Jackson is the Editorial Assistant for The Black Youth Project. She is also the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Water Cooler Convos, a politics, news, and culture webmag for bourgie Black nerds. For more about her, tweet her at @JennMJack or visit her website at