links for 2011-03-23

  • "Throughout my childhood, I learned that class meant contradiction. When I visited my mother’s family in Georgia, I saw working-class black folks who could be trashy and uncouth or who could be hardworking and upwardly mobile. My mother was the hardworking kind.

    "And in Durham, I saw middle- class Black folks who were mean and colorist and shut out poor folks who were trying to get ahead, and then I saw the generous kind who paid their 'lift as we climb' tithes, who mentored smart, working class kids who only needed chances and legs up. My father was the generous kind."

  • "Model Minority emerges at a fascinating point in the evolution of Asian Americans, hip-hop and pop culture. Jin brought battle-tested cred. Koreatown’s Far East Movement has recently demonstrated commercial viability. There’s also the general bum-rush of social media by the likes of Hawaii’s Ryan Higa and the UC San Diego-founded Wong Fu Productions. Model Minority triangulates itself within all this, describing itself on Facebook as 'The Wong Fu of rap. The Asia-centric dead prez. The 2010 Mountain Brothers. The activist Far East Movement.'”

    "That self-description captures how the group fits into a new (media) breed of artists working with an array of outlets rather than solely fixated on a record contract."

  • "Dr. Levitan credited a combination of factors, including a federal waiver of limits on assets of a food stamps applicant, and the city’s own efforts 'to bring in more people who are not the traditional welfare population, but are more the working poor.'" …The rate varied from 13.5 percent among non-Hispanic whites to nearly 25 percent among both Hispanic and Asian New Yorkers; both groups have higher proportions of immigrants who might have been ineligible for some programs that require citizenship or longer residency in the state. Dr. Levitan explained that Asians often have 'cultural issues about being reluctant to get some kind of assistance.' The poverty rate for blacks was 21.1 percent."
  • "One explanation sometimes offered for the paucity of American films that engage the Muslim world is that North America, unlike Europe or Israel, is distant from the places where Western and Islamic civilizations converge or collide. In that regard, though, it may be worth noting that of the four foreign-language films dealing with such issues that were nominated for the foreign-language Oscar this year, one ('Incendies') came from Canada and another ('Biutiful') from Mexico."

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  • Gregory A. Butler

    I have to agree with tarotaro, Honoree Fanonne Jeffers’ article about class in the Black community reeks of elitism – it’s almost like she believes that people like her are superior because of their pretentious cultural rituals, and inherited affluence. It also seems that she’s proud of her White slavemaster ancestry on her father’s side.

    Also, it doesn’t really seem that Jeffers really understand’s what class is. It’s not about “home training” or membership in this or that social club. Class ultimately revolves around a person’s relationship to the forces of production.

    The reason that the owner of a nursing home, a doctor and a ward clerk are members of different classes is because the first one is a business owner, the second, a salaried professional person and the third a wage worker.

    All the cultural rituals that somebody may or may not participate in are basically irrelevant to the class that they belong to.

  • tarotaro

    re: Black Folks, Class, and the Truth: Notes From A Mixed-Class Breed | Honoree Fanonne Jeffers

    the article becomes ridiculous because it ends up defending the very class/caste system it exposes as oppressive, with the excuse of ‘bettering one’s self”. the lack of a critique of the destructive effects of our current civilization’s kyriarchal incarnation of capitalism on poc as a whole and black americans in particular strips the article of any resonance and in face makes it a bit insidious.