Instead of me finding time to write about some of the news stories that are of interest (which seems to be a challenge these past few weeks) I’ve decided to share with you the stories. Yes! These are stories I would love to write more about, share my perspective, challenge our ideas, and forge a conversation about them with VL readers. Perhaps we can do that without individual posts for each piece? Perhaps not, either way, here’s a VL Digest. Have VL readers heard of these stories? What are your thoughts?
Yesterday I was reading about the apology the Salvadoran government gave for El Mozote massacre where over 800 women, children, men, people were killed by the Salvadoran military. The Massacre occurred 30 years ago in December. I remember growing up in Maryland and hearing about this massacre by the Salvadoran immigrants who migrated to the Takoma Park and Langley Park area. I remember my parents telling me that some folks who we met may not ever be able to go back home because of a Civil War. It all began to become more clear to me years later when I started reading more on the historical accounts and injustices that were occurring, especially the role the US played in training the military in the Americas.
There was a lot of buzz about TEDx San Juan, and I’m eager to see what video is available of our friend Larry La Fountain-Stokes’ presentation of the work, activism, and survival of Puerto Rico’s LGBTQ community. In attendance was Forbe.com blogger Giovanni Rodriguez who shares his ideas of Puerto Ricans as being exiles (inspired by Larry’s usage of queer Puerto Ricans as sexiles who use music, art, songs, and writing to share their testimonios). Rodriguez considers those Puerto Ricans who migrated from the mainland to the US as exiles as well (this would include my parents) who were searching for more secure and better economic opportunities. He argues that many Puerto Ricans leaving now are doing so reluctantly.
I am often exhausted with hearing only two party debates, discussions and media coverage. This week I went in search of who may be considering running as Third Party and Independent candidates for President of the US in 2012. This site was useful to give me an idea and remind me that there are always more than two options when it comes to voting, and knowing all of those options is what makes someone, in my opinion, an educated voter.
Over the weekend, there was a small uproar in Arizona. As if things could get any worse.
Apparently, a mural was the site of intense “scrutiny” on the part of various far right protestors, including a city official. The problem? The mural depicted children who had dark skin. The depiction was deemed racist or “too politically correct.” And after the intense scrutiny mounted, the principal of the school that authorized the mural caved to pressure and asked the artist to whiten lighten the dark skinned children.
Mirroring patterns seen statewide, one can sense the backlash from people attempting to maintain the “old guard” status quo of well-defined power and race relations in the face of rapid change, as reflected in this comment from Prescott City Councilman and local radio host Steve Blair about the disputed mural:
“I’m not a racist by any stretch of the imagination, but whenever people start talking about diversity, it’s a word I can’t stand…. The focus doesn’t need to be on what’s different; the focus doesn’t need to be on the minority all the time…. Art is in the eye of the beholder, but I say (the Miller Valley mural) looks like graffiti in L.A….. I don’t see anything that ties the community into that mural.”
Before we rightly condemn such notions, it should be noted that Blair was giving voice to a point of view that has dominated the political discourse here for generations. Indeed, R.E. Wall, director of the Prescott Downtown Mural Project, reported that he and the other artists experienced weeks of “tense working conditions” at the site, including regular racial slurs shouted from vehicles and passersby such as: “You’re desecrating our school,” “Get the ni–ers off the wall,” and “Get the sp-c off the wall.” The original article detailing the mural’s completion drew a spate of vitriolic and racially-charged online comments that mirrored these verbal assaults. In an interview with the local newspaper, Wall observed that “the pressure stayed up consistently. We had two months of cars shouting at us.” Eventually, he said, the demands reached such a level that his group was asked by school officials to lighten the faces of the mural’s main subject, as well as the other children in the mural.
What message does this send to the school children (one of whom, in fact, was the model for the primary image that sparked the mural controversy) and others in the area with darker skin pigmentation?
Because of pressure (i.e. outrage) from various groups and media outlets over the weekend, it was announced that the mural would not be lightened after all.
Did you get that? The picture actually reflected a real child. A living and breathing child. A child whose image has been called sp*c and n*gger for the past two months. What does that child do now? Now that he knows what his fellow community members and neighbors think about him?
Thank heavens the picture wasn’t lightened. But–what does a child who can never lighten himself enough to not “look ghetto” do?
What other violence will this child face because he is recognized as the N*ggerSp*c on the wall? Is being called a N*ggerSp*c the only form of violence there is? Is being intimidated by school official and community members a type of violence?
I had the opportunity to listen into one of their organizing calls last night, and while their strategy was nothing surprising, the hate speech, directed at Latinos, revealed the true depths of their racism and hate and their willingness to use divide and conquer politics to move forward.
One particular participant on the call wanted to raise the issue of women, specifically how Mexican women were the new “welfare queens” with their “anchor babies”, taking an old stereotype waged against African-American women in the age of Reagan and revamping it to use against Latina women. This caller was not dismissed but rather praised for his message and told to use the word “dependents” instead of “babies” or “children” because that word was emotional for “them”, meaning Latinos and other immigrants. “We have children, they have dependents”, another caller guided.
Well, I can’t say I was surprised to read the following news over at Think Progress. Apparently, there’s a whole bunch of white folks that don’t like Teh Crotch Grabbing Gun Toting Basketball Playing Colored Boy. So they started up a basketball league that is officially designated “whites only.” Yes, I’m serious. To play in the league, you must have two “Caucasian” parents and be a *natural born* citizen (not *legal*). Because these white folks were smart enough to realize that there is such a thing as white Latinos.
A new professional basketball league called the All-American Basketball Alliance (AABA) sent out a press release on Sunday saying that it intends to start its inaugural season in June, with teams in 12 U.S. cities. However, the AABA is different from other sports leagues because only players who are “natural born United States citizens with both parents of Caucasian race are eligible to play in the league.” AABA commissioner Don “Moose” Lewis insists that he’s not racist, but he just wants to get away from the “street-ball” played by “people of color” and back to “fundamental basketball.” Lewis cited the recent incidents of bad behavior by NBA players, implying that such actions would never happen with white players.
Because, you know–you can’t make RULES that state “no fucking street ball.” No, you have to attribute basketball playing STYLES to a genetic/biological trait.
Sigh. Sometimes dealing with the news is just more than any human being could possibly bear.
Nothing like throwing down fear of the R word as a way to fight health care reform.
It could alternately be argued that those who support the current health care reform plan currently under debate in the Senate are racists, since the current plan limits access for immigrants, both documented and not. I’m just saying.
Obama gave an interview to David Letterman earlier–and the follow has a few preview clips of the interview. Among some of the questions Obama faces: how long have you been a black man? A funny quip–what gets me, however, is the answer. Which seems to be “coded” remarkably well.
He’s saying what we all know–99% of the screaming teabaggers at the town hall meetings are white folks. And that there’s pretty much nothing he personally can do about it. So he might as well just go on about his business.
I can’t help it. I know that Mamita and others have said that they’ve gone their separate ways with Obama. And that’s a position I respect–but maybe it’s because I never had any hope for Obama to begin with that he still has my interest. I don’t see him doing anything amazing, I don’t see him changing the world, hell, I don’t even see him fixing immigration. But it is really interesting to me how he is negotiating racism. And it makes me wonder if his negotiating (rather than his policies or legislation) will make a difference for average people of color.
When an immigrant, or two in this case, don’t fit into the the “good” immigrant narrative because of a criminal (in)justice system based, since its inception, on oppression, does the community turn it’s back? That is the question that the pro-migrant movement needs to ask itself in the face of the case of cousins Denis Calderon & Julio Maldonado who were victims of a hate crime yet find themselves behind bars, awaiting deportation.
An Ohio Latino teen, Robert Cantú (seen in the video above) was allegedly the victim of an unspeakable hate crime: last year, he was reportedly tied by his neck with a noose and dragged by a pickup truck in his hometown of Mount Vernon.
According to Cantu the incident occurred on or about May 30, 2008. Cantu said he was with a friend when Klein and three others jumped him, and tied a rope with a noose around his neck. The other end of the rope was tied to a truck and Cantu said he was dragged for several feet. After stopping the truck, the attackers, allegedly including Klein, exited the truck and began to attack Cantu. According to Cantu, a passer-by, Ezzy Thompson, who was known to Cantu, intervened, chasing off the attackers and removing the noose from Cantu’s neck.
“[Thompson] was with his girlfriend,” said Cantu. “He saw me on the ground and ran over and pushed the guys off me. He got the noose off me. I’ve known Ezzy for about eight years. He was just in the area.”
Cantú’s mother said it took police 10 months to make an arrest, and that only happened after the Anti-Defamation League applied pressure to authorities.
But that’s not all. A second victimization of Robert has also just happened, as his harasser, also a teenager, has been sentenced to a mere 10 days in jail after a plea deal.
LULAC Ohio is hosting a “Vigil for Justice” this Friday in Mount Vernon. Details after the jump.
Sometimes, I ‘m a little ashamed to admit that I read Gawker. Most of the time, I find what they write offensive, and the hipster’er than thou comments piss me off. This morning though, a post on a PR pitch for an Amazonian Spa in Ecuador, opened up my head about the economics and identity politics behind eco-tourism, specifically in Latin America.
Here’s the orginal PR pitch that got my wheels spinning:
The women, who are immaculately clean and wear uniforms which do little to conceal their glowing aboriginal cheekbones and other attractive features, have very strong hands after toil since childhood in fields and in the home virtually without tools,but are surprisingly soft and tender when they massage just the right places…
An intimacy has been shared, for the women, who speak only a handful of words in English and speak Spanish as a second language to their native Indian dialect have communicated much to their guest. And their guest understands everything.
You have to love the emphasis on how clean the Indigenous woman are, as if usually they are dirty, so it needs to be pointed out. Also I found the statement on how the uniforms do not conceal their cheekbones written in a way that was intended to sexualize which is made more explicit with how the mujeres know where to touch. Then there is the glamorization of labor, which goes back to what a surprise that they are so clean since they spent their childhood sweating in the dirt without “civilized” tools. Wrapped up in the pretty bow of their Indigenous language. Forget the fact that here in the U.S., speaking an Indigenous language can allow the state to take away your child.
Pero perhaps that was just crappy ass pitch from a crappy ass PR dude. So I went to find out some more about this Amazon resort and spa.
Today, my friends, we turn our attention to the latest revelation from Judge Sonia Sotomayor. It appears that Ms. Sotomayor, the model of diversity and inclusion, has some explaining to do regarding her membership in a club.
Not just any club — a club whose members are all female. In documents provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the honorable judge wrote this: “I am a member of the Belizean Grove, a private organization of female professionals from the profit, nonprofit and social sectors. The organization does not invidiously discriminate on the basis of sex. Men are involved in its activities — they participate in trips, host events and speak at functions — but to the best of my knowledge, a man has never asked to be considered for membership.” (I don’t blame ‘em!)
The group includes over 100 high-level executives and upper-crust women from the corporate and government worlds.
However… the Code of Judicial Conduct bars judges from belonging to any organization that practices discrimination based on race, sex, religion, or national origin.
I wonder. If Justices Roberts or Thomas belonged to an association that discriminated against females, if Justices Alito or Scalia were discovered to have membership in a group that excluded females, how would liberals have reacted? Would they have forgiven the judges’ involvement in an “old boy’s club”? Or would they have erupted in a full-blown, five-alarm rage?
Safe to say, any conservative in this situation would find their nomination dead in the water. Clubbed — like a baby seal. No question about it. I think I’m going to send Sotomayor, and her club, a bunch of vacuum cleaners to help them clean up after their meetings.
Well Rush, at least you didn’t say she was your drug dealer.