Political Round Up – Farai Chideya, Kimberle Crenshaw, “Don’t Vote” Ad for Latinos, “Chinese Professor” Ad and Response, Minutemen & Border Angels

by Latoya Peterson

As we creep closer and closer to November 2nd, one thing is clear: this year is the year of using minorities. We’re every body’s scapegoat up in here.

Farai Chideya is back, with a new Pop and Politics Radio special, “Race, Rage, and Reconciliation.” It’s available in podcast form here. The summary explains:

Chideya and team go to Florida to talk about the ways the American Dream is colliding with reality, and what it means in the voting booth. Chideya speaks with Colonel Allen West, a black Tea Party candidate; residents of a historic black community, where the land has been contaminated by industrial toxins, who say business and politicians have abandoned them; Muslim-Americans in Gainesville; and victors and victims of the foreclosure crisis.

While get out the vote efforts are ramping up, conservative group Latinos for Reform is displaying a counter message: Don’t Vote.

NPR spoke to frontman Robert Deposada, who mentioned that staying away from the polls isn’t exactly what he meant:

In an interview Wednesday, he said the message is to boycott politicians who haven’t lived up to their promises. He said there’s no attempt to suppress the vote. But there was a problem fitting everything into the 60-second time frame.

“The last part of the ad, the tag line, said, ‘Don’t vote for those who betrayed you.’ And because of timing, we decided to cut that ‘for those who betrayed you,’ because we thought that the message was very clear in the rest of the ad,” Deposada said. He takes “full responsibility” for the editing job, he said.

This is the first ad by Latinos for Reform this election cycle. Two years ago, the group ran an ad alleging that candidate Obama discriminated against Latinos.

As much as I am loathe to engage with someone who likes to stoke interracial tensions for cheap political gains, Deposada does have a point when he says:

Deposada said Wednesday that Republicans have written off the Hispanic community. And while he’s bashing Reid, he said that doesn’t mean he’s supporting Angle, who has aggressively courted the anti-immigration vote. “Do you prefer to be stabbed in the back or clubbed over the head? I think both are irresponsible, both are horrible options.”

Yep, brown folks have crappy options – half-assed frienemies or straight up enemies. But then Deposada says:

“But, you know what? Sharron Angle is not going to be in a leadership post,” Deposada said — which means at least she wouldn’t control the flow of legislation, as Reid has done.

How is that helpful? Sigh. Moving on…

Jenn over at Reappropriate has been keeping close tabs on the Chinese Professor attack ads. Citizens Against Government Waste imagines a future where a Chinese professor lectures a class on how America betrayed it’s core values, tried to tax and spend spend its way out of a recession, and ultimately ended up under Chinese control (this video has subtitles):

Jenn notes:

It is a future where non-Chinese Asian students flock to Beijing universities so that they may listen in rapt attention to a Chinese professor speak badly accented Mandarin, where the wearing of tapshoes are mandatory, where boy band haircuts are required, where a band follows you around playing a constant stream of ominous music, where everyone keeps a picture of a Wall St. street sign on their iPad desktop, and where young people are forced to laugh hysterically at un-funny jokes. Oh, and where the Chinese Communist government, who apparently still reveres images of Chairman Mao, has suddenly decided to rail against government over-reach.

However, the power of the internet is mighty – and Asian American bloggers are fighting back. Angry Asian Man (in conjunction with Reappropriate, 8 Asians, and Disgrasian) points to a new contest to remix this video:

I know there are a lot of smart and talented folks who can take this video, add your own alternate subtitles, and flip the damn thing inside out. A collective community effort that produces all kinds of funny parodies would be a much more powerful response to this ad than just yelling and hollering about it.

Download the .ZIP archive, including the subtitle-stripped .MOV file and .RTF text file transcript of the original “Chinese Professor” video.

Get the video file, write a hilarious alternate monologue for the Evil Chinese Professor, re-subtitle the footage, add a call-to-action voiceover at the end, and upload your parody to a video sharing service like YouTube or Vimeo.

Then send the link to evilchineseprofessor@angryasianman.com. The best three videos as judged by the sponsoring bloggers will win some fabulous as-yet-undetermined prizes. The deadline to submit is November 27, which happens to be Bruce Lee’s birthday.

So far, so good:

The money quote:

“But just to be safe, they manufactured fear of a foreign devil. But who’s stupid enough to fall for that one again?”

We’ve got two videos from GRIT TV. The first one features Laura Flanders speaking to Dr. Jocelyn Elders about medical marijuana and masturbation. The summary states:

Dr. Joycelyn Elders is no stranger to making controversial statements in public, so her support of California’s Proposition 19, the marijuana legalization ballot initiative, shouldn’t be surprising. After all, years ago she was ousted as Bill Clinton’s Surgeon General after noting that a discussion of masturbation should be part of educating young people on avoiding HIV infection.

Elders joins us via Skype from Arkansas, where she is professor emeritus at the University of Arkansas School of Medicine and an associate at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, to discuss marijuana legalization, the return of masturbation as a campaign issue, and the ongoing struggle for universal health care in the U.S.

And there’s another with Kimberle Crenshaw, on the pitfalls of “post-racial” politics. Summary says:

We hear a lot about “post-racial” politics these days–the election of Barack Obama supposedly has led us into a post-racial age, but have we really seen anything change? Not much, notes Kimberle Crenshaw, co-founder of the African-American Policy Forum, and it’s not really new either. But a lack of a sense of history is another symptom of today’s politics, and Crenshaw notes that even black elected officials and candidates sometimes fall victim.

Crenshaw joins Laura in studio for a look at black tea party candidates, the troubles facing Adrian Fenty and other black mayors, and the problem with claims of “reverse racism.”

More GRITtv

Finally, over at the Dyson Show, I’ve been doing way too many politically focused segments.

I talked to an AWESOME black republican pundit, Sophia Nelson, about women and the GOP. Nelson is a political commentator for JET magazine. You can listen here, segment summary is:

Women have a notable presence in this year’s mid-term elections, with female senate and gubernatorial candidates in the limelight. Political commentator Sophia Nelson joins guest host Latoya Peterson to discuss the prospect of big gains for high-profile Republican women this election season.

This is also the same episode where I get to talk to Jean Grae and they made the mistake of putting two nerdy black girls on the phone.

And we are also doing a series on immigration. This whole show was dedicated to the topic. Listen here, summary here:

Latinos have a significant stake in next week’s elections as immigration reform continues to be one of the most prominent social and political issues for this community. Guest host Latoya Peterson will be joined by Maria Teresa Kumar, executive director of Voto Latino, to discuss whether candidates are engaging or alienating Latinos in their quest to get more votes

This week, we begin our series on immigration. This issue has become a political hot potato, but we’ll explore the topic not only from the political angle but the personal as well. We start with a look at what is one of the most sensitive issues in the immigration debate: the U.S.-Mexico border. Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project, which advocates for tougher enforcement of immigration laws, and Enrique Morones, founder of Border Angels, which works to prevent unnecessary deaths of immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, join us for a spirited debate from both sides of the issue.

Last year, just over a million people became what the government calls “legal permanent residents,” while those who didn’t follow the laws are called “illegal.” Now, one organization is seeking to change that wording. The Applied Research Center has mounted the “Drop the I-Word” campaign. We speak to Rinku Sen, executive director of the Center and the creator of the campaign, to find out why such an effort is needed.

As an aside, the Border Angels/Minuteman Project was the first time I ever attempted to do a two person, remote interview. Don’t expect to hear a lot from me on that one, it was tough to get a word in edgewise.