links for 2010-08-02

  • ""But last week the Senate quietly voted to strip funding for the case, known as the Pigford II settlement. The move came on the heels of the Shirley Sherrod scandal, as conservative opposition to the settlement grew after conservative lawmakers learned that a farm collective founded by Sherrod and her husband was set to receive $13 million from the case.

    "On a conference call earlier today, John Boyd, Jr., president of the National Black Farmers Association, announced that that Senate will vote on a stand-alone authorizing funds for settlement claims."

  • "A new strain of Nazism has found an unlikely home: Mongolia.

    "Once again, ultra-nationalists have emerged from an impoverished economy and turned upon outsiders. This time the main targets come from China, the rising power to the south."

  • "In June, Mr. Sagbo became the first black to be elected to office in Russia.

    "In a country where racism is entrenched and often violent, Mr. Sagbo's election as one of Novozavidovo's 10 municipal councilors is a milestone. But among the town's 10,000 people, the 48-year-old from the West African country of Benin is viewed simply as a Russian who cares about his hometown."

  • "In New York, where ground zero has slowly blended back into the fabric of the city, government officials appear poised to approve plans for the sprawling complex, which would have as many as 15 stories and would house a prayer space, a performing arts center, a pool and a restaurant.

    "But around the country opposition is mounting, fueled in part by Republican leaders and conservative pundits. Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee, has urged 'peace-seeking Muslims' to reject the center, branding it an 'unnecessary provocation.' A Republican political action committee has produced a television commercial assailing the proposal. And former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has decried it in speeches."

  • "This is not the first time Latinos in Port Richmond have been victimized in bias attacks. Ms. Troia, executive director of Project Hospitality, an interfaith organization that serves the poor of Staten Island, said the violence dates back to 2003. In one attack, a Mexican immigrant who worked as a cook at an IHOP restaurant was killed by three assailants in 2006, according to local activists and the Mexican Consulate in New York.

    "The Rev. Dr. Tony Baker, pastor of St. Philip’s Baptist Church in the neighborhood’s heart, said the attacks pointed to deep-seated problems. 'I think we’ve gone to sleep on the conditions we find ourselves in,' he said. 'And we woke up in the midst of a racial war.'”

  • "Another form of bias occurs over who gets to speak.  Folks in the uppermost echelons of social strata, government officials, well-known celebrities, doctors, lawyers, politicians and scientists typically receive much more deference than other sources. And the greater the expertise of the source, the less likely the journalist will question what she says.

    "So when a news story pits 'scientists' against Indians, and it the story is framed as science, it is predictable which groups will gain instant legitimacy. In all the conflicts I’ve mentioned, scientists and government officials get a head start in the legitimacy race. Indians are left at the starting gate and are forced to voice their opposition within an already-established framework that journalists sanction, even if they’re unaware of their complicity."

  • "Her comments elicited a large round of enthusiastic applause. And if the people sitting at my table were anything to go by, audience members were not uneducated rednecks or right-wing conservatives, but liberal, left-leaning folk who would proudly reel off their support for equality and social justice in most other contexts.
    And that’s when my epiphany happened. Where once I would have been clapping vigorously along, pleased to have my long-held assumptions confirmed by ‘someone who knows’ and who ‘you can’t really argue with’, I felt sick."
  • "I have been stewing over the implications of TIME’s decision to run the face of a mutilated Afghani woman on the cover of the magazine to raise awareness about women’s rights in Afghanistan. Many have applauded TIME’s decision to do this calling it courageous and effective, all while recognizing this is also a cheap plea for magazine sales. I am taking issue specifically with the use of the image on the cover, not the article itself which was not available online in its entirety (but trust I will steal my dad’s copy of TIME asap). My inquiry is two fold: first, the assumption that military presence in Afghanistan has made women’s rights better is a complicated one that shouldn’t be taken for granted and the second is, using the faces and bodies of women to make a generalization is objectifying. It is rare that women’s bodies have been used to understand their voices, especially when discussing the “other.” Instead they are often used to create mystique and reify colonial fantasy."

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