Tuesday, November 20, 2007

San Francisco's ID Cards Are Only The First Step

Are you human? Do you live in San Francisco? Here's an ID card!

I'm in love with San Francisco all over again. Beginning next year, San Francisco will be issuing identification cards to anyone who lives there.

Javier Erik Olvera of Mercury News Reports:
The board of supervisors Tuesday gave the final OK needed to create the ID card program, systematically legitimizing the city's estimated 40,000 illegal immigrants.

The cards will be available to anyone living in the city next August and used as proof of identity when it comes to most facets of city business, from library service to police stops. Although immigrants are the prime target for the ID program, the cards will available to anyone who wants them.

Here's what I love--anyone can get one. We have the power to single out or not single out undocumented immigrants, depending on the actions of legal San Franciscan residents. If we are to truly fight for their rights to human decency, we need legal San Franciscan residents to use these ID cards too. If I lived there, I'd get one immediately.

Why? Because I feel that it is necessary to erase the stigma. Let's not make this into a Food Stamp situation--let's try to add more than one color and one language to the look and feel of these cards. San Francisco's political leaders have taken the first step, but it is now in the hands of San Francisco's legal residents to walk side-by-side with the undocumented residents and get ID cards so that no one is singled out or negatively labeled by this program, which has the potential to be a triumph or a disaster depending on how it is handled.

The first step has been taken, the second step is necessary if we are to fight racism and injustice.

Get an ID card and use it. Show it to the police, librarians, and everyone else who asks for a form of identification. Only when they ask for a specific other form of identification should you revert to the California ID card.

Although San Francisco is not the first place to issue this ID system, it is one of the few. With all my heart and soul, I am praying that as many people as possible will participate to bring our beaten and bruised undocumented peoples out of the shadows and into a new light of human decency.

This is only the first step people, let's get everyone involved and prove to less progressive parts of our country that this is a great idea!


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Dangerous Research: Listing Our "Most Dangerous Cities" Doesn't Give The Whole Story

A picture of Oakland you won't get in the news:

Morgan Quitno Press has published its annual nationwide list of the top 25 most dangerous cities, and Oakland is officially number 8.

cbs5 news reports:
Using 2005 figures, Oakland was ranked the eighth-most dangerous city in America, with researchers saying only two other cities in the nation showed worse increases in crime over last year. The East Bay city of Richmond ranked 11th on the so-called "Most Dangerous 25."

The only California city to rank worse than Oakland was the Los Angeles suburb of Compton, ranked fourth worst in the nation overall.

Morgan Quitno Press, a private research and publishing company specializing in state and city reference books, compiles the annual listing of most dangerous and safest cities in the nation.

On tonight's ten o'clock news, cbs5 went to several Oakland residents for personal accounts in response to the list. Residents did not deny the danger, yet several of them protested the danger of labeling any city, let alone Oakland, as dangerous.

Not only does this label hinder business and economic flow into the city, it also has a damaging effect on the potential for recovery. This list does nothing but strengthen the harmful conditions of places like Oakland--it stigmatizes Oakland as a space, alienating its residents from the rest of the country. It normalizes violence; giving violence a name, a look, and a feel.

As I have had my own share of dangerous encounters in Oakland, I admit that my language often 'ghetto-tizes' Oakland in casual conversation with friends or family. Unfortunately, this kind of 'ghetto-tization' grows into a media monster that triggers such negative images that are quickly embraced by our punitive United States public.

Instead of compiling a list of most dangerous cities, why aren't private research and publishing companies like the Morgan Quitno Press working on advancing these cities towards improvement?

Take a look at the Applied Research Center in Oakland, which I interned for this past summer. At the heart of Oakland, going to do research required stepping into the 'dangerous' city and traversing its space into another space of racial progress:
ARC's vision for racial justice is changing the way our society talks about and understands racial inequity. ARC conducts research to expose the subtle racism of laws and regulations that result in real hardship for Black, Latino, Asian and Native communities. We use public policy as a key tool to repair these historic injustices by designing and implementing creative solutions to contemporary problems.

Revolutionary! Conducting research on a subject that you are not separated from! The difference between the Morgan Quitno Press and the Applied Research Center is that the former looks at its subjects in white lab coats, wearing latex gloves, with a microscope separating it from its study. The latter is immersed in the very space it is researching. It swims around in the petri dish, taking away the microscope--making its subject of research a part of its environment rather than an isolated bacteria.

The result is spectacular. Rather than stigmatizing 'most dangerous' cities with negative portrayals of criminals and delinquents of color, the Applied Research Center comes out with the truth:
This summer ColorLines and The Chicago Reporter conducted a joint national investigation of fatal police shootings in America’s 10 largest cities, each of which had more than 1 million people in 2000. Several striking findings emerged.

To begin, African Americans were overrepresented among police shooting victims in every city the publications investigated.

The contrast was particularly noticeable in New York, San Diego and Las Vegas. In each of these cities, the percentage of black people killed by police was at least double that of their share of the city’s total population.

This is progressive research--this is the kind of stuff we need to be looking into. I can only speak for Oakland, but if you were to go into these dangerous cities, you would find real people, full of life, strength, purpose, and culture.

Really, just go to 9th and Broadway at noon on any Friday and you'll find them selling simosas, empanadas, tamales, and lots of produce...

It's not all guns and drugs people!


Friday, November 16, 2007

What Do 'UC' In Berkeley?

Is this what 'UC'?

Aw, what a sweet video. So clean, so rich with knowledge and opportunities. Oh look, a minority! Oh, there's another one doing some dancing twist. Wow, UC Berkeley is "for the people," it really is...

I swear I stepped foot on this campus with an angry-ethnic-meter, which keeps getting hotter and hotter. Three years of BS, and this is what has pushed me to the breaking point:

The Chancellors of the UC system have been granted a raise in their salaries. In a time of major budget crisis and rising costs of 'public' education, somehow this is supposed to be a good idea. SacBee's Dorothy Korber reported, prior to the authorization of this increase, that:
A brief executive summary released by UC President Robert Dynes says the pay increases are necessary to "address particular recruitment and retention needs." According to Dynes, UC chancellors' pay lags 33 percent behind similar universities.

The proposed salary hikes for chancellors heading the 10 UC campuses would total $3 million.

For UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgenau, a 33 percent increase would boost his current annual salary of $416,000 to $553,280. For UC Davis Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef, the increase would take him from $300,000 annually to $399,000.

Paul Schwartz, a spokesman for Dynes, said the pay increases are part of a university-wide initiative established by the regents two years ago.

"The aim is to make sure that we are able to pay competitive wages and benefits to preserve the university's quality," he said. "In September, the regents approved a four-year salary plan for faculty. This follows other actions the regents have taken that have provided raises for our lower-paid workers."

So I'm sitting here thinking damn, Chancellor Birgeneau's salary at UC Berkeley was just not enough due to the tremendous stress of having to deal with years of protests from the university's custodians receiving poverty wages. So in his case, this salary is looong overdue. Take every graduation ceremony in the last few years for example, where the Chancellor has had to fill in for the speech because the honored guest speakers keep flaking out on him!

This last spring, Danny Glover canceled his speech at the 2007 graduating class ceremony because he refused to cross the line of protesting custodial women. While Glover conveniently fell through with his commitment to the latest elite coming out of Cal, the Chancellor had to go beyond the call of duty and once again give the commencement speech. After a long day of work, he probably came home to his on-campus mansion over-worked and his head pounding from the ringing cries of cleaning ladies.

Of course there was a kind of 'agreement' made between the UC system and the custodians' unions this summer, but there has virtually been no news about it. Whether it happened or not, I'm sure they got as little as an increase as the system was able to manage to shut them up for a while, and overall it still doesn't change anything. These Chancellors do not need wage increases.

We keep insisting that these are public institutions we are talking about but I can't stress enough how rich and elitist and exclusionary UC Berkeley is--depending on who reads this, you should know why it is, and if you don't know, then that's the problem.

This is the problem*:

Why aren't there any signs saying "my dorm bathroom is cleaned by an overworked Latina working two jobs and living off poverty wages" or "This classroom is disproportionately white" or something?

*The video is of Kansas State University, not UC Berkeley--but you could have fooled me.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bloggers Of Color Unite

Caution! bloggers of color are growing in numbers.

What's the danger in that? The danger is in the legitimacy. We are taking our fury, our fists, our fire, and we're injecting it into the veins of the Eurocentric and Anglo-American discourse monster. That is, we inject it into media reports, legislative and policy-making debates, and much much more.

We stand proudly in the present day structural and blatant racism of the world; firmly supported by histories of struggle to fight racism in all its forms. The sixties was an explosion that brought massive progress--you know, the Civil Rights Movement of course--only to be followed by a conservative backlash in the seventies--the Drug Wars, three strikes laws, drastic cutbacks on the social safety net, and more.

We take our knowledge of these histories, and use them to fight in ways that haven't been used before--in this case, blogging.

Vanessa E. Jones reports for the Boston Globe that numerous bloggers of color are fighting racism in a new way through sites. She mentions prominent blogs such as as Too Sense and Angry Asian Man.
These intellectual challenges to mainstream and other viewpoints are some of the opinions Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander-American, and black bloggers are exposing on a growing number of sites focused on social, political, and cultural issues. The sometimes facetiously named blogs range from Angry Asian Man to The Angry Black Woman. Readers can find Latino viewpoints at Guanabee, The Unapologetic Mexican, or Latino Pundit. Those interested in information from an Asian angle head to Ultrabrown, Zuky, or Sepia Mutiny. Sites created by blacks include The Field Negro, Too Sense, and Resist Racism. But often these bloggers discard the handcuffs of their ethnic origins to tackle subjects affecting a range of racial or ethnic groups.

These sites - many of which launched in the past year, although a few are older - have become places where people of color gather to refine ideas or form thoughts about race relations, racial inequities, and the role pop culture has in exacerbating stereotypes. The writers often bring attention to subjects not yet covered by mainstream media.

There is a flourishing ring of websites that are all interconnected through discussions of subjects such as the Jena 6, undocumented immigration, invisible racism in our capitalist society, and more. These websites strive to interrupt the dominating mainstream media conversations that overlook issues of race. But even more, these sites also blog on things that the media fails to mention entirely, such as Allposters.com's commodified "ethnic people" category!

This is a great time for us all, whether you are looking at the more prominent blogs like the ones Jones mentions, or the smaller ones just starting off. Through these ever growing online networks of bloggers of color, our power is getting stronger. And it's not so much about how many of us are joining the blogging ring--it's about how many of us, from varying parts of the racial/ethnic spectrum, are signing on to each other's sites and developing progressive partnerships.

Just go to any of these sites, such as RaceWire, and you'll see they all have long lists of links to one another. Again, the power isn't in that they exist, but in that they are all uniting.

It's a dangerous thing to have so many people of color fighting against racism instead of fighting themselves to escape it.

Divide and conquer us no more!


Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Short Break

The posts prior to this post had to be re-pasted since i accidentally deleted my blog! It's back to normal now, though, so back to blogging!


Thursday, November 1, 2007

A Mixture God, Homosexuality, and the Iraq War

Wrap yourself up in the 1st amendment and then inflict pain like a merciless god.

Members of a fundamentalist Kansas church--Westboro Baptist Church--who protest the funerals of fallen soldiers have been sued $11 million by a grieving Pennsylvania father.

Alex Dominguez reports:

Members promised to picket future funerals with placards bearing such slogans as "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "God hates fags."

They believe that U.S. deaths in the Iraq war are punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality. They say they are entitled to protest at funerals under the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and religion.

Dominguez describes that the defendants smiled as they heard the verdict because they were sure that they would win in an appeal.

The group is homophobic, vengeful, and I would even say self-hating. I often subscribe to the thought, "of all the things going on in Haiti, Guatemala, Darfur, the rest of the world, and even right around the corner...this is happening?"

Since when have homosexuals been tolerated in this country? And why aren't these people talking about the Jena 6 and undocumented immigrants and Islamofascists?

Why is this hock-a-loogie-in-your-face group going around and spoiling funerals when they could volunteer their valuable time to help hang nooses? They could even come down to the Southern Border and help build the wall of the future.

We're the most masochistic country in the world. Our government criticizes other cultures for hurting their own? Look at the condition we're in!


Monday, October 29, 2007

Noose Mania Just As Deadly Today

For African-Americans who haven’t yet received a noose, it’s only a matter of time according to Blaxplanation.

“I don't know about you but I'm patiently waiting to receive mine.

Maybe I'll get one early one morning when I open up the door to my office. Perhaps I'll see one hanging from a lamp post outside of my window.
The unimaginative bigots responsible for hanging these nooses know exactly what they're doing. They seek to disrupt the social equilibrium of their black targets. They know that some noose recipients will be shaken but most will be forced into a position in which they become distrustful of nearly all of the whites with whom they work or fraternize.”

This statement specifically points to modern day racism that is embodied by a symbol of the past, but not any less destructive.

However, this is not the message most people are getting from mainstream media reports.

The terror of slavery and violent racism that was most obvious until the 1970s is now treated as a thing of the past. Mainstream reports of the noose-frenzy taking over the nation perpetuate the notion that the racism of today is tiny, weak, and isolated compared to its stronger, violent, incarnation in the past.

Unlike the Blaxplanation report, mainstream media is making it seem as if these nooses are small racist blips of the past popping up in our present social system.

Our popular notions of racism at its worst are anchored down to specific periods of historical time such as the [1950s?] 1960s, or to specific geographical cultures such as the antebellum South (I’m not sure if “antebellum” needs to be capitalized).

What does this mean? It means that reports like this happen:

ABC News dutifully reports,
“But do the nooses reflect a resurgence of racism in America?

The noose has an infamous reputation in American as a hate symbol dating back more than a century. It was used in the past for violent lynchings against black Americans, so the revival has some concerned.”

A dumb question: what is a noose? Is it only that piece of rope tied into a loop? No, it is the manifestation of directed evil--especially for African-Americans, but to other people of color as well.

ABC's report is clear; the noose is a hate symbol that carries with it terrorism of the past. But that's the thing, it reports the noose as a symbol of the past.

The "revival" of the noose is an inappropriate statement that upholds the mistaken modern day ideas of what racism really is. It assumes that nooses do not exist in every corner of society--which they do, just not in the forms of looped ropes.

It assumes that slavery does not exist today--which it does, in the form of disproportionate rates of African-American and Latino incarceration. It assumes that Jim Crow no longer applies--which it does, in the form of substandard education for children of color, or in the overall second-class citizenship of people of color.

Can we say that the impact of the noose upon African-Americans is equivalent with the impact of a photo of Hitler on survivors of the Holocaust?

In some respects, yes, because both carry a terror that will not die because there are always people--many or few--who embrace the terrorist ideology and seek to perpetuate it. You only need to look at the Neo-Nazis and members of the Ku Klux Klan for examples.

But in another respect, no. Hitler and his Nazis were the faces of the Holocaust--and the swastika represented their cause. A photo of Hitler will always represent the terror of the 1930s and ‘40s, but a noose today does not merely represent the terror of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is a mistake to try to tie the noose of today down to our violent racist past because the violence and racism is not simply in the past.

Racism is just as deadly today as it was forty years ago and a hundred forty years ago.

ABC's report defines the latest noose trend as a "revival" of past racism. This creates a notion that all those nooses that are appearing across the country are the products of white people stuck in pro-slavery or pro-Jim Crow mentality.

What happens is that our media’s reports of nooses then ignore the harsh reality of racism that exists throughout society, and what happens is that the FBI will hunt down and punish the noose hangers and essentially get rid of the most visible traces of racism of modern day society.

Footnote: A caveat to my Hitler comparison (so that I am not ignorantly pulling the Hitler card)

I am not subscribing to what Jon Stewart calls "Hitler Mania"

We must not throw around the Hitler card because it is disrespectful to those who carry in their veins the passion and struggle of the generations before them who experienced the terror of Hitler.

Plus, it makes us “look crazy.”


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

San Diego Is Not All White And Rich!

I am sick and tired of San Diego county being generalized as all white and rich and favored by the government.

San Diego is being reported as having special treatment as opposed to Katrina because apparently we San Diegans are all white and rich!

...hold on...Okay I'm back, I went to go look in the mirror. Not rich and white.

...hold on...Okay I'm back, I went to go check my myspace friends. Not rich and white.

I am not going to analyze two very different tragedies. Yes, many rich whites have been affected and treated much better than blacks in Katrina. But this is another side of the story.

La Jolla, Rancho Bernardo, and a couple other places are very wealthy in general, and mostly white. However, my hometown Escondido and a lot of other San Diego towns are full of lower class people--not just of color, but white too!

And surprise surprise, we did not all come here to live in pools of money isolated by rich landscapes for the effect. Too many of us are here for the same reasons as you are there.

I have to write this, I owe it to all of my friends from high school, to my loving parents, and to everyone who does not fit the San Diego "lifestyle" according to the rest of the country.

Yes, most houses that were consumed were in rich areas--but houses aren't the only issue. The smoke is everywhere. Business has stopped all over. Too many of my people have lost their jobs for a week, too many are out of school, and too many cannot afford this temporary setback. There's more I'm probably forgetting too.

This is a shout out to everyone, white or black or Latino or Asian or Native American or Middle Eastern, and more. To those who are not rich. To those who do not deserve to be singled out by other communities of color.

As one anonymous comment stated in response to the Too Sense post:

"...the Katrina experience was a national disgrace; however, your attempt to draw this black and white paralllel is simply not in concert with the facts on the ground. You needed to do some more local research before you set this to print."

My heart out to Katrina, of course, but let's not advocate for some people of color at the expense of others.

And let's not forget that not all whites are rich and everything.

I apologize for the more informal rage of this blog--not because it is considered informal by our Eurocentric standards, but because I fail to oppose those standards in my other blogs by taming my rage and forging it into formal-sounding pieces.

I am so conflicted.


Barack Obama Trying To Save His 'Blackness'?

Barack Obama's 'blackness' has been attacked by many. Yet other candidates, such as Hillary Clinton, have not had their 'whiteness' called into question.

Take Jesse Jackson, more recently, for claiming that Obama is “acting like he’s white" --in reference to Obama's weak support of the Jena 6 case--and that his mixed race status does not make him black enough.

Yet what would have happened if Obama had taken up the Jena 6 case, putting at the forefront of his campaign? What would happen if he began to mirror Jesse Jackson?

What would happen is that Obama would be too black, and his chances for survival would dwindle in comparison to even other democrats--who, although can be branded as radical liberals, will not face being radical liberals of color. Even Hillary, whose gender is under surveillance, is a bit safer because she is white.

People of color are too often portrayed as angry, emotional, and many times unreasonable. To run for president automatically presumes that the candidates are accepting the Eurocentric system of legitimacy for presidency--so those who choose to run know that they have to follow Anglo-American rules.

That means taming one's 'blackness' in Obama's case. Unfortunately, he is being attacked for something prescribed to him as a result of being what our citizens view as a legitimate candidate.

Yet Obama's 'blackness' has been attacked relentlessly, and now it seems he is abruptly trying to save his racial affiliation by jumping on John Tanner, the Justice Department official who recently made what Obama claims to be racist statements about minority voters.

Christi Parsons of The Swamp reports:

Tanner set it off in remarks to a national Latino group earlier this month, when he said that rules requiring photo identification for people to vote don't especially disenfranchise minority voters.
They may affect older voters, Tanner said, but they wouldn't have a disproportionate impact on minorities.

"Our society is such that minorities don't become elderly the way white people do; they die first," he said.
"Numerous studies show that photo ID requirements have a discriminatory impact on African American and other minority voters," campaign manager David Plouffe wrote in today's letter. "Yet, in public statements like his October 5th remarks, Tanner continues to justify them with faulty logic. And it adds insult to injury to use tragic discrepancies in life expectancies for African Americans as justification for policies that would further disenfranchise them."

Tanner's statement in full clearly demonstrates outrageously flawed logic, and his claim about people of color not living as old as white people is a rotten egg. However, Obama has really grabbed this issue with a firm grib, and it appears he won't let it go. Is this an attempt to save his 'blackness' in front of voters of color?

Tanner's comments, although erroneous, are not equivalent to the Jena 6. So far this issue does not seem to have caught much media attention, but for Obama's sake, it had better stay that way.

It is just too random, too much of a lost cause, and too insignificant compared to the travesties people of color are suffering around the nation--from Jena 6 and racist criminal justice, to the forgotten inner-city schools failing our youth of color, and more.

Obama is stuck in a corner. While he is being debated over for his 'blackness,' Hillary Clinton is winning black female votes. Of course one shouldn't vote for a candidate because of the race/culture they identify with; they should be supported by their platforms.

But one also shouldn't target attacks on a candidate, such as Obama, on the basis of 'blackness' because such attacks will force him to put his platform to the side and try to restore his status by picking on random uninformed-racist remarks such as Tanner's.

So many of us keep saying to vote for the best candidate, not on the basis of race or gender, but on the basis of their politics, yet we punish Obama with harsh criticism for not acting the way we want or expect him to.

Too many of us are flooding Obama's campaign, even many of us who support him--and he's barely keeping his head above water.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

United States of America: The Real Weapon of Mass Destruction

Our country is fueled by anti-immigrant sentiments. Our hard-core conservatives bash other nations with other religions and other political systems, claiming that democracy is the only way, attacking other cultures for things such as Islamo-fascism.

Why are we wrong in closing the borders and citizenship rights to immigrants? Because we force immigration--we force people out of their homes, we bring more danger into their lives than they faced in the first place, and then we criminalize them and make them illegal in our own country, calling them 'economic migrants' and denying many asylum. Yes, NAFTA, CIA coups in Guatemala and Haiti and other countries, and then of course our current war in Iraq.

Here are some some highlights from a very important article posted on ZNET

Since the US and UK forces invaded Iraq in 2003, an estimated 4.2 million Iraqis have fled their homes, the majority in the last two years. Up to two million are estimated to have sought refuge outside Iraq, while the remainder has been displaced within the country. The exodus is the largest the region has witnessed since the Palestinian Nakba. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the flight of Iraqis continues at a rate of 60,000 per month.

...In Syria, authorities have turned a partial blind eye to working Iraqis. According to AI, however, some deportations have been reported.

Iraqis in Syria face a wide array of problems, many of which stem from economic hardship as the savings they brought from Iraq run out. Many of the Iraqis currently in Syria are children and are thus in need of extra protection. In Syria, all Arabs are entitled to free public services, including education and health. Nonetheless, only 30,000 Iraqi children were registered in schools last year. This year, the number is estimated to have risen to around 80,000. Given a total Iraqi population of up to 1.5 million, both figures are desperately low and in part indicate the level of economic stress parents are facing as they refrain from enrolling their children in schools.

...Displaced from their homes, not knowing when they might be allowed to return, many Iraqis in Jordan have yet to come to terms with their plight. Almost unanimously, Iraqis of all generations were keen to emphasise just how profound their desire to return home is, and that, had the invasion not happened, they would never have left.

The phase to come will be difficult too, as Iraqis increasingly begin to come to terms with the pain of the present. "Here there are no bombs," said 12-year-old Maryam as she wept, "but I am tired and sad. My parents are tired too. We try not to be, because this way we are resisting. But it is getting harder. How long do we have to be here?" At this, Youssef interjects, with strength in his voice that belies his young age: "we have to be here so long as there is war. Until the war stops, we are refugees."


Friday, October 19, 2007

James Watson And The Science Of Racism

James Watson, credited for his research on the Double Helix, has jumped onto the racist-comment media bandwagon.

Malcom Ritter Reports:

"A profile of Watson in the Sunday Times Magazine of London quoted him as saying that he's "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours — whereas all the testing says not really.

While he hopes everyone is equal, "people who have to deal with black employees find this is not true," Watson is quoted as saying. He also said people should not be discriminated against on the basis of color, because "there are many people of color who are very talented."

Well thank you Watson, on behalf of all the people of color that white people "have to deal with," we are so flattered to know that there are many of us who are talented.

What is this language? Why don't all people recognize that we can't live in a color-blind world because this world is founded on the underlying assumption that white is the norm, and people of color have to be dealt with carefully?

Why don't we ever say "people who have to deal with white folks know that there are many of them who are very talented," and why do white people applaud people of color for being talented as if it were not a part of their nature?

Even more, why do we isolate racist comments like these to the individual white person who says it (like Don Imus) and overlook the fact that this is the mentality of many--but not all--white people?

I am very critical of the media backlash that Watson has become the target of...mostly because I feel that there are many white people pitting themselves against Watson as if racism only exists in those who are blatantly racist--in which Watson has now been 'revealed' as entirely racist.

Racism exists in degrees, it is not an all-or-nothing effect.

But there is another issue here. Watson is a special case because we must understand that he has been granted great power by our society, and has commanded the utmost respect from the Western world. He is up there in the list of names with Einstein, Thomas Edison, and many more--mostly white, men, and usually scientists.

When we look at Watson's racist comments, we need to talk about the fact that this is no Don Imus. This is a man who has become one of the kings of Knowledge by tagging the double helix with his name. The danger is not in his words, but in the man who said them.

Although Watson has retracted his comments, and although there has been a strong backlash against him by many people of all races, what Watson said is not all that uncommon--it's just more easy to detect.

When most of the scientific world is monopolized by Eurocentric paradigms, it is not surprising that it pumps out racist ideas.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hazing Our "Illegal" Immigrants Into Citizenship

Let's Zoom In On Virginia today.

First, an effort to build a special prison for undocumented immigrants has been denied. The driving force behind this failed effort was to improve the number deportations of undocumented immigrants accused of crimes. It's already bad enough to be a person of color convicted of a crime who is a citizen, I can't imagine being undocumented. For more, see the link at the bottom of this post.

Even though this effort failed to pass the Virginia state panel, there is a second effort that passed with flying colors, and it involves the criminalization of all who fit the "illegal immigrant" description.

"It calls for cuts to certain county services and prohibits undocumented residents from getting business licenses. The resolution also expands police authority allowing officers to ask people about their legal status. "

How far must we go to hunt down these supposed foreign enemies of ours? We must turn our police into immigrant-sniffing dogs who raid the personal space of anyone who looks illegal. This is outrageous, this is unconstitutional.

Even more outrageous is a citizen remark reported by CBS:

"Manassas resident Robert Stephens, addressing the large crowd of Hispanic residents, reported the Post. "Who invited you? You cry for your rights? You have none."

That's right Mr. Stephens, human rights are the reward of citizenship. We have organizations like PETA that strive to secure the rights of all animals--who don't need U.S. citizenship to solicit our paternalistic humanism. But international human rights of all human peoples? Excuuuuuse me, you get those from invitation-only in the United States of America! So what do we get out of Mr. Stephens' flawless logic? Well for one thing, when it comes to people, undocumented immigrants are not only sub-human, they are sub-animal.

Hey PETA people, why don't you create a new "illegal" immigrant branch since apparently foreigners without papers don't count as humans?

This is all outrageous. None of this is new, and none of what I say matters. So here is my suggestion, more modest than the "illegal" immigrant branch PETA proposal: Due to the tension between the cool invitation-only citizens and the uncool immigrant reject-newbies, Why don't we start doing immigrant hazing? Let's really put these people to the test and subject them to cruel, abusive practices...

Wait, don't we do that already?

On The Failed Immigrant-Prison Virginia Resolution

CBS Report On The Successful Virginia Resolutions


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

California DREAM Act Is Vetoed

For the second year in a row, Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed the California DREAM Act, stating in a letter to lawmakers that that the state cannot afford to bear the costs of financing the higher education of undocumented students who would be eligible to apply for financial aid under the DREAM Act.

But highly educated students are generally assets to California, aren’t they? Societies usually benefit from having more highly educated people because they tend to become more productive members of their communities.

But since the governor is most concerned with the costs and benefits of undocumented students, there are two ways that he has lost the opportunity to invest in a valuable group that would have returned more than what would have been invested in them.

First, when denied financial assistance, many undocumented students are financially hindered from going to college. When they are unable to earn college degrees, they are unable to earn higher incomes. We therefore prevent our government from collecting higher taxes from their higher incomes—which would have been used to the benefit of society.

Second, without higher incomes, the current college-age undocumented students will not have as many resources to provide for their children. Unlike their undocumented parents, these children can’t be denied state assistance and other social services because they will be U.S. citizens. Denying aid to our current generation of undocumented students will therefore cost the state more in the near future.

The governor’s decision to veto the DREAM Act is a shortsighted decision because the amount of money it would have cost the state would have returned at least two-fold.

Yet there is something more important at stake here than the monetary costs and benefits of the state. When some of us oppose the DREAM Act as a policy that would have given amnesty to “illegal immigrants,” we are hurting our society more than we think. Many of us choose to romanticize the European immigrants from the twentieth century as having tried hard to become active members of society, insisting that immigrants today are doing the opposite.

But by vetoing this act we are forcing undocumented students to continue living in the shadows of society. We then hold this against them as proof that they refuse to assimilate. But the very fact that these students are trying to go to college demonstrates that they want to become productive members of this country.

It proves that they do wish to assimilate.


Friday, August 3, 2007

This Eurocentric Western Civilization Thing Gets Really Annoying

Whenever I come home to visit my parents I blab on and on about Eurocentric this and racist that. They hear me, they agree with me, and then they say--así es (or, that's how it is).

Their tone of accptance, although frustrating to my young fervor, is understandable. Racism is just too deeply embedded in every aspect of society. It is where we see it and where some don't see it.

For example, I told them, look at the table we are sitting at right now. This glass table that reaches our lower chests when we sit in our chairs to eat upon it.

Does it seem racist? Heck no. It is thought of radically liberal to say that this is racist. Yet why do the Japanese have tables closer to the ground, upon which they eat as they sit on the floor? How about the forks and knives thing?

To eat correctly is to eat according to our Eurocentric ideas. Yet I, of course am just a blabbering liberal brainwashed to think that tables are racist or something.

Well, let's take a look at this video. It is a satire of spongebob, set in evil communist China:

What offends me is that China's political framework is not what is truly being attacked...the people subject to it are being attacked.

The Chinese Spongebob here is depicted as a brainwashed hardworker who proudly submits to "soul crushing labor" because that is the way of his country.

Chinese Patrick, on the other hand, has used "Google" to learn about Western things such as his rights as a human being.

I am disgusted at this. The video de-humanizes hard working Chinese, making them into stupid animals who are willing to be abused and controlled.

I am no fan of communism, but I am also no fan of Americanism that struts its stuff around giving the finger to all other non-Eurocentric cultures.

Whoopi Goldberg Takes The View

Barbara Walters, producer of ABC’s The View, has found herself a new token to fill the empty seat on the show that for years, has set out to represent women’s take on pop culture and current events.

Enter Whoopi Goldberg, with her gruffy comedy and impress-no-body attitude.

As many of us know, Goldberg is a widely loved and respected actor and comedian, and has been on The View a few times now. But after watching Walters introduce her as the new moderator, I was saddened to see Goldberg assure the other hosts and the audience that she won’t be “saying the type of things she’d normally say.”

Meaning, she will tone down her raw, liberal jokes. She even mentioned a talk with “the “powers that be”” about their concerns that she might get out of hand. Whoopi said they want her to be a little edgy and entertaining, but only as long as she can control herself.

Meanwhile, it remains too obvious that The View has gained the most attention from the political progressives who have acted out lately. First it was the falling out of Star Jones, who did not fully comply with the “powers.” Then it was the liberal commentary of Rosie O’’Donnell that spun out of control, people say.

The View's ratings peaked during the buzz created by the Black woman and the lesbian. Now, with Goldberg, The View is looking to arouse but not upset, to subdue Whoopi but not let her brilliance, say…sway the presidential election. As long as she obeys her orders, we can presume she’ll stay.

That the great Whoopi Goldberg has to prove she is civil enough to participate in a show with three white women whose composures remain non-threatening, is disheartening.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Esquire Magazine Asks If Sen. Edwards Is Last White Hope

Does Race Matter? has recently posted a response to the latest cover of Esquire Magazine, which boldly asks, “can a white man still be elected president?”

On the cover towers Sen. John Edwards, positioned in a superman stance (as one person commented on Racialicious) and looking ahead in all of his white glory.

Let’s not forget the icing on the cake. Above John Edwards lies a half-naked woman accompanied by the headline, “sexiest woman alive.” This cover says enough. We are being told that women and people of color are rising above a history of injustices, yet the reality is that the injustices persist today. Even if we do elect a white female or Black male president, people like the editors at Esquire, will continue to forget what racism and sexism looks like, especially as they make ‘white man’ synonymous with man and leader.

Ultimately, Esquire can’t see how Sen. Hillary Clinton does not represent all women, and Sen. Barack Obama all people of color. Which is why Esquire conveys the message of the dawning of an age of “minorities”—a dystopia for the white man, as Wendi Muse reports.

However, women and people of color are far from beating ‘the white man’ in other, non presidential races. Our television remains dominated by ideas of white masculinity, our celebrities, our news, our schools and other institutions remain Eurocentric. The current way in which our world is dominated by the white man will not be overcome by mere change of the American president.

Further, racism and injustice are strongest when they give the appearance of their absence. So while I hope we elect a president who is not a white man, I hope also that we will not use this election as a way of discrediting future claims of inequality by women and people of color.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Conservative Encyclopedia You Can Trust

Have you ever questioned the neutrality and so-called omnipresence of Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia that “anyone can edit”?

Well, 58 home-schooled children who created Conservapedia sure have.

Initiated last November, the website began as a World History class project in New Jersey and turned into a go-to place for those seeking pro-Christian and conservative interpretations of things.

You can visit this site to get your daily dose of breaking news, bible verses, and moral virtue. Most importantly, it has proven to be a good guide to being a conservative, white Christian in America.

Unsure about your fear of Mexicans? Conservapedia will pat you on the back, assuring you that “the fear of the influx of Mexican culture in the border states” is an “understandable form” of xenophobia.

And when it comes to hip hop, Wikipedia is just so unnecessarily long in its explanation—it gives you a thorough contextual description of hip hop’s origins and significance in society.

But according to Conservapedia, all you really need to know about hip hop is that it’s a “style of African American music in which African Americans chant over beats.” Really, why give so much credit to something so simple?

What’s more? Conservapedia uses many Biblical references to defend slavery—specifically stating that slavery is referenced, permitted and regulated in the Bible—justify homophobia, and explain male superiority over women.

No worries, anything is better than being a liberal.

Monday, July 2, 2007

TMZ pulls the "ho" card

Last time I checked, Don Imus-gate resulted in “ho” being a punishable word when used in the media to refer to Black women.

But just two months after Imus, the word seems to be gaining ground again, on novelty shirts, and most recently, in a popular fashion review on TMZ, a celebrity gossip website.

After the Black Entertainment Television Awards show last week, Tmz.com posted a blurb, in typical style-review fashion, attacking the guests’ evening wear. But what is normally innocent hardballing of celebrity fashion, became another forum used to insult Black women by devaluing their sexuality. TMZ got it wrong when they called powerhouse Beyoncé a “roboho,” for wearing a metallic suit on stage, and rapper Eve, a “streetwalker chic.”

Because when it comes to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, a couple of TMZ’s most covered stars, TMZ portrays their fashion flops as more legitimate fashion mistakes—like copying people’s styles or wearing the wrong colors.

Still, we rebuke hip-hop artists and people like Don Imus for calling women of color ho’s. And we should. But we can’t be so quick to think the problem stopped with Imus.

“Ho” continues to be associated primarily with Black women, making it not only sexist slander, but a very racist one. Writer Jasmyne Cannick would agree.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Moore's "Sicko" wins but loses race

Michael Moore is getting lots of attention for his movie “Sicko” that exposes America’s health insurance system that works to save more money than lives. So I was excited going to see it this past weekend.

But in telling the stories of insured and uninsured Americans blocked from life-saving treatment, Moore leaves out many voices of color. Instead, viewers are imbibed with stories about hard-working white Americans struggling to get treatment from a country they are so loyal to.

While Moore is known for being fearless, when it comes to tackling the issue of race in “Sicko”, he lacks courage.

Though there was the white mother whose Black husband died from terminal cancer because his insurance company denied his claims to receive a bone marrow transplant; and Dawnelle, a Black mother whose 18-month-old daughter died because her health insurance would not allow her to be treated at the hospital they had been taken to by an ambulance— overall, the movie avoids the very crucial issue of racial disparities even among those ignored.

To Moore, it seems, the battle for robust universal healthcare should not coincide with welfare campaigns or fights for structural equity in our economy. These fights are too racially charged. And they run the risk of polarizing us when Moore has said in many interviews that healthcare should be a non-partisan issue.

Because of this, the movie is in-your-face but side-stepping at the same time which may appear strategic when it is disastrous for racial justice activists seeking more than universal healthcare.

The movie gains ground however when Moore frames America’s insurance problems in historical and global contexts. It’s a shame he lacks a racial context.

At one point, Moore reveals a tape that is a conversation between President Nixon and John Ehrlichman, one of his top aides. In it, they decide to pass legislation that would initiate the expansion of HMO’s. Nixon was won over when Ehrlichman said, “Edgar Kaiser is running his Permanente deal for profit. All the incentives are toward less medical care, because the less care they give them, the more money they make.”

The next day, Nixon announced to the public that he would be pushing legislation that would provide Americans “the finest health care in the world.”

Several decades later, Moore finds that finer healthcare is more at home in a world outside America in places as unimaginable as Guantanamo Bay.

In one scene, Moore takes white 911 rescue workers who—like most 911 workers—are denied proper healthcare for chronic and debilitating diseases caused by the toxic crumbling of the Twin Towers, to Guantanamo Bay where prisoners have access to world-class medical care. Of course, Moore’s request for care is denied.

They then go to the mainland of Cuba and receive excellent care. These moments are priceless in the movie and go a long way to making a case for standard health care for everyone.

Still, a pressing question remains: can we afford to make race invisible even when talking about universal healthcare?