10.11.12 Links Roundup

Univision shot back in a series of articles critiquing Sullivan’s logic and portraying the paper as out-of-touch with Latinos.

The day after Sullivan’s post, Univision dredged up a long list of terms The New York Times once allowed in its pages. A partial list includes the terms “wetbacks,” “Negro,” “Jap,” “Redskins,” “Chinaman” and “homo.”

In a separate post filed the same day titled “The Times Is Behind the Times,” Univision noted that media outlets that aim to reach Latino audiences keep away from the term “illegal immigrant.”

Most of the history we learn is built on myths. Even the black history we choose to teach in response to eurocentric learning is centered around myths. But those myths are meant to help a people reclaim a history long denied to them, to instil self-esteem in the face of disempowerment. It may not be exactly ideal, but the rationale is at least noble. The myths of white American history perpetuate oppression and inequality. They instil in white America a false sense of self-imperviousness to facts or logic.

When George Washington can’t tell a lie, Abraham Lincoln singlehandedly freed the enslaved, FDR lifted the nation out of depression and Ronald Reagan tore down the Berlin Wall with his bare hands … it’s no wonder Michele Bachmann believes the founding fathers fought to end slavery, Newt Gingrich thinks poor black children should be janitors to teach them about work ethic, Rick Perry hunts at “Niggerhead” and sees no problem, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney can tell “jokes” about the president’s birth certificate and his campaign co-chair, John Sununu, can refer to the president as “lazy” and “not that bright”.

Letting eight individuals separately make their own independent choices, and then averaging them together, has the ring of aesthetic purity to it. But let’s be real: There’s nothing “pure” about a canon built from the idiosyncratic tastes of eight, mostly male, mostly white people. There’s nothing “pure” about canon-building at all. That doesn’t mean it can’t be fun or worthwhile! But if you’re going to do it, you should consider the implications and the consequences, and proceed accordingly. If your selection committee is mostly male and almost entirely (or entirely?) white, recognize that this may lead to certain blind spots, and weigh whether or not putting forward a canon that averages together such tastes will really reflect the diversity of international cinema in the 1990s.

That a rapper would make an album so overtly about politics shouldn’t really be all that newsworthy, but in today’s America, it is.

“It’s the time more than it’s him,” says Bakari Kitwana, author of the forthcoming book “Hip Hop Activism in The Obama Era.” “In many ways we’re reliving the ’80s in the ways in which poverty has leveled the economy for black folks.”

Lupe’s words aren’t unprecedented. There’s a long list of outspoken mainstream hip-hop artists, one that includes Public Enemy’s 1989 release “Fear of a Black Planet”, which was eventually selected for preservation in the Library of Congress. But as Eric Arnold noted a while back on Colorlines, the genre has become more commercial force than protest music. More recently, Los Angeles-based rapper Kendrick Lamar told a reporter that he “don’t do no voting,” and then went on to explain that there are forces “beyond people” that render voting useless.

The quip came just weeks after Lupe made his own headlines with his criticism of voting, which in turn ignited a heated debate on Twitter. “Young black men are going to listen to him, and they are the ones who have decisions made for them, decisions that they are not even involved in, which is silly to me,” political commentator D.L. Hughley told a reporter during the debate . “There are more black men in prison then there were ever slaves. And it’s silly to me that people don’t want to have a hand in their future.”

As I and several other critiqued “Steel Magnolias,” several other came to its defense saying it shouldn’t be criticized because it showed positive images of Black people and it was better than the reality television that has been dominating the airwaves as of late.

That is a total and complete load of crap.

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen people use this argument. I saw it with “Red Tails.” I saw it with “Reed Between the Lines.” For some reason, there is a certain section of Black America that thinks any and everything positive is above critique. It doesn’t matter if it’s boring, badly written, culturally inaccurate or anything else as long as it doesn’t feature negroes fighting, tossing drinks or any other type of chaos.

  • SomeGuy77

    “Young black men are going to listen to him, and they are the ones who
    have decisions made for them, decisions that they are not even involved
    in, which is silly to me,” political commentator D.L. Hughley told a reporter
    during the debate . “There are more black men in prison then there were
    ever slaves. And it’s silly to me that people don’t want to have a hand
    in their future.”

    Do you know what I find silly?
    The idea that a black man voting for Obama is going to change the for-profit prison business that is transforming our prison system into modern slave labour camps. Companies get paid to warehouse largely black/brown men. Is voting Obama in a month going to fix that? The rate of home foreclosures has continued largely unabated under Obama, so is voting Romney going to fix that? The hollowing out of the American middle class through imperial wars of aggression and tax breaks for the wealthy, is voting Obama going to fix that? The deindustrialization of the American economy, the rise of the police/surveillance state, fracking poisoning ground water, toxic radiation dumped near poorer neighbourhoods, the disintegration of government schools, the destruction of medical marijuana dispensaries in LA, and the unprecedented deportations under Obama are all continuing, so maybe vote Romney/Ryan?

    Just once, I would like someone to explain to me what “hand” it is that black people have in the electoral process. Healthcare will not be repealed because the insurance companies, not Obama. So the for-profit insurance system has been left unchanged, only now it’s being subsidized by the government. So whether you vote Obama/Romney you get largely similar policies. I think people should vote Obama because he is slightly less terrible than Romney, but that’s hardly something to be shout about.

    SG