All posts by Carmen Van Kerckhove

What you can do in the next 7 days to create change

by Carmen Van Kerckhove, originally published at Carmen Van Kerckhove.com

Just seven days to go until perhaps the most important election ever.

I urge all of you who are Obama supporters: Do not get complacent now.

Sure, several polls suggest that Obama has a double-digit lead over McCain — but that doesn’t mean we should assume that he’s got it in the bag.

As longtime Republican political operative Bill Greener recently wrote on Salon.com, when undecided voters have to choose between a black candidate and a white candidate, they tend to vote white:

If you’re a black candidate running against a white candidate, what you see is what you get. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re an incumbent or a challenger. If you’re not polling above 50 percent, you should be worried. As of this writing, Barack Obama is not polling consistently above 50 percent in a number of electoral-vote-rich swing states, including Ohio and Florida. He should be worried.

And let’s not discount the huge role that voter suppression will likely play. Jay Smooth from the video blog Ill Doctrine put together this “Poem for the Young Voter” to drive that point home:

So what can you do to help at this historic time?

First of all, make sure you protect your own vote by reading this 12-step checklist of what to do before, on, and after Election Day. And share the list with your family and friends by using this form here.

Then, do one or all of these 3 things:

1. Volunteer for the campaign.
2. Call or visit voters in battleground states.
3. Find and join an event in your local area.

What will you be doing in the next 7 days to work towards change?

HomeBoyz In OuterSpace Looks Like The Wire By Comparison

by guest contributor AverageBro, originally published at AverageBro.com

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to watching TV, the fine folks at UPN/WB/WhateverTheHeckIt’sCalledNowadays got the wise idea of giving America’s Favorite CrackHead a sitcom.

Watch it and weep, folks. Here’s the upcoming sitcom Under One Roof, as described by the show’s website.

Flav plays Calvester Hill, an ex-convict that moves in with his wealthy, conservative brother, Winston (Kelly Perine). Calvester subsequently turns the Hill family’s life upside down, parading his old prison cronies through the house; teaching his nephew Winston Jr. (Jesse Reid) to be a gangsta rapper; and butting heads with Winston’s snooty wife, Ashley (Carrie Genzel), seventeen year-old princess Heather (Marie Michael), and housekeeper Su Ho (Emily Kuroda).

Calvester? Alrighty then.

And of course, the Fresh Prince Of Bel Air-ish Trailer…

Considering the fact that the Geico Cavemen had a show, I guess this one isn’t too much of a stretch, but still…

I’m sure Cosby is just giddy about this one.

Question: Could this show possibly eclipse HomeBoys In OuterSpace as the Worst Show Evar? Just how many years does this set the black race back? How many weeks do you give the show before it’s mercifully canned and syndicated on BET?

Flavor Flav: Hoping to be the Next Eddie Murphy [BuddyTV]

Notes on Fostering Activism: Knowing When to Step Back

by Latoya Peterson

    Sometimes I get discouraged
    I look around and
    things are so weak,
    people are so weak
    sometimes
    sometimes I feel like crying

Jenn from Reappropriate placed her blog on hiatus early last week.

While the main reason was a scientific conference she is attending, she also mentioned other reasons for needing to take a break:

I’ve found myself extremely angry and frustrated by the level of the debate. I’m weary of the arguing, frustrated by the tone, and disillusioned by the blog’s mission. My open comment policy has been misused over the past month, and I’ve had to ban several readers — undermining my disagreement in idea censorship and my belief in the power of democratic idea-building (and the inherent goodness and decency of readers). I’ve taken time to think about my feminism, and have realized that non-feminists are no closer to understanding what Asian American feminism is now, than they ever were before I started. These self-identified non-feminists assume that feminism is a cultish fervor over White men and Whiteness that cultivates an assault on Asian men as universally sexist and unworthy, when in point of fact, the ideas of Asian American feminism is best defined by Gary Okihiro’s “When and Where I Enter”, which argued against the patriarchy of minority communities and cautioned that Asian American equality could only be achieved by the joint elimination of both racism and sexism, both inter- and intra-racially.

[...]

In four years, that point has not been made. In four years, I’ve only encountered defensiveness, distractions or dismissal of this idea in lieu of attacks against Asian American women.

This blog was created with the intention of combatting those beliefs. But I’ve found myself asking: am I having the impact I expect of this blog? I don’t know. I’m tired of discussions of sexism being misconstrued as male-bashing, I’m tired of people who don’t know feminism thinking they can define it, and above all, I am tired of the suspicion of my racial solidarity and my pride in the Asian American community because of my identification as a feminist and the choices in my personal life. I’m tired of constantly talking and not being heard, and having to defend who I am to the men in my community. I’m saddened by the countless emails from feminists who write to me to tell me that the hoarde of anti-feminist commentors on this blog have chased them from commenting. I feel like I’ve been banging my head against a brick wall, and all I have to show for it is ostracization, derision, and occasionally ridicule from some Asian American men. I feel like the adage “working twice as hard to get half as far” is poignantly relevant to how hard I’ve struggled for the same acceptance in the APIA online community that some of my male colleagues enjoy almost innately.

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Asian-American bloggers convene this Saturday

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

If you’re in the NYC area and have an interest in Asian-American issues, register for the 2nd New York City Asian American Student Conference, happening this Saturday, April 12th!

I’ll be one of the speakers at the conference, appearing on a panel discussion titled Challenging the Mainstream: Asian Americans in the Ethnic Blogosphere along with Kai Chang (Zuky), Jenn Fang (Reappropriate), William Lee (Fallout Central), Jen Wang and Diana Nguyen (Disgrasian), Phil Yu (Angry Asian Man).

Here’s the official description:

Since its advent, the internet has been a crucial medium through which APA activists channel their thoughts and opinions about progressive issues. From it, the growing phenomenon of writing web logs, or “blogging”, has allowed activists and ethnic commentators to challenge mainstream media’s opinions of society. The Boston Globe has called such blogs “places where people of color gather to refine ideas or form thoughts about race relations, racial inequities, and the role pop culture has in exacerbating stereotypes.” In this workshop, the bloggers behind Angry Asian Man, Racialicious, Zuky, Fallout Central, Reappropriate, and Disgrasian will discuss their own issues, challenges and inspirations in keeping Asian American issues blogs. Learn how you can begin your own such process of blogging as a form of activism in order to challenge mainstream media and its dialogues upon race and Asian Americana.

Hope to see you there!

What Is the Human Cost of Racism?

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

I’m joining the folks listed above to guest-blog over at Talking Points Memo’s TPMCafe this week about race, politics, and Obama’s speech.

My latest post is titled What Is the Human Cost of Racism? Here’s an excerpt:

We can (and should) talk all day long about employment discrimination, racial disparities in sentencing, redlining, disproportionate healthcare, voter suppression, segregation in public schools, the prison-industrial complex, and more.

But by solely discussing racism in such aggregate and abstract terms, I worry that we will lose sight of the real reason all of this matters. Racism is a problem not merely because it represents some abstract sense of societal injustice. It’s a problem because of the hurt, pain, anger, and suffering it causes to individual human beings.