By Guest Contributor Ruth Hopkins, cross-posted from Last Real Indians
Before I head out the door, I watch Morning Joe on MSNBC. It’s part of my workday routine. This morning they were talking about the latest issue of the New Republic and its lead story entitled, “How the NRA is Going Down: This is How the NRA Ends.” Since the Newtown tragedy, Republican Joe Scarborough, the show’s host, is openly advocating for gun control. Still, Joe disagreed with the assertion that the NRA’s power and influence is eroding, especially in the wake of recently defeated gun control legislation.
In the midst of this exchange, John Heilemann, an author, journalist and political analyst who frequents Morning Joe (and who occasionally says things that make sense to me), said, “But who’s the SCALP?” John paraphrased this statement by saying, “who’s gonna pay the price for having voted the wrong way?” In other words, John was questioning whether any of the congressmen who voted against the recent legislation in question will be defeated next election specifically because they voted against gun control, i.e. who will be the “scalp” (defined in the dictionary as a “trophy of victory”) that gun control proponents win.
Mr. Heilemann made a perfectly rational argument. Unfortunately his archaic phraseology took me right out of the conversation. The moment he said, “Who’s the SCALP?” my mind immediately raced to the fact that my ancestors (the Dakota people) were hunted down and murdered in their Minnesota homelands in the late 1800s, when then-Governor Alexander Ramsey placed a $200 bounty on their scalps. Yes, you read that correctly. It was once government policy to encourage civilians to hunt down American Indian men, women and children (human beings), kill them, and rip the flesh from their skulls. Anyone who did so was rewarded handsomely for it.
If you missed her on Saturday, catch our Associate Editor Andrea Plaid talking about Scandal on MSNBC with Melissa Harris-Perry as part of an all-star “watch party” that delves into, among other topics, the imperfections of Olivia Pope and why they matter.
“For one hour, we’re allowed to walk into a world where there’s a woman who’s powerful and wonderful and amazing and yet has some very problematic things going on in her life,” Andrea explains.
Also on the panel:
- Heather McGhee, vice-president of policy and outreach for Demos, a public policy group working toward social and economic equality
- Janet Mock, author and founder of the #GirlsLikeUs project on Twitter
- Joy-Ann Reid, managing editor of The Grio and a frequent contributor and guest-host for MSNBC
P.S. If you need to catch up on last week’s episode, Joseph has your recap right here.
By Arturo R. García
Trigger Warning: Topics include rape, domestic violence and guns
As MSNBC host Ed Schultz illustrated on Monday night, the attacks on writer and political strategist Zerlina Maxwell were not isolated behavior: they were part of a larger culture of abuse seemingly encouraged at every turn by conservative forces. And all it took to incite the rounds of racist and misogynist slurs thrown at her, apparently, was for her to say this during an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity:
I don’t want anybody to be telling women anything. I don’t want men to be telling me what to wear and how to act, not to drink. And I don’t, honestly, want you to tell me that I needed a gun in order to prevent my rape. In my case, don’t tell me if I’d only had a gun, I wouldn’t have been raped. Don’t put it on me to prevent the rape.
Besides the usual Hannity inanity–he went from victim-blaming to boasting about his own gun expertise to dismissing Maxwell’s (accurate) point that most rapes are committed by people the victim knows–Maxwell said this latest debate stirred more than the usual back-and-forth.
“What’s different about this is the intersection between guns and rape and the underlying feeling that there’s a problem of rape culture in America,” she told Schultz. “I don’t view rape culture as a partisan issue. Rape happens to Republicans as well as Democrats.”
Maxwell and Schultz’s other guest, Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher at The Nation, also pointed out that, in a way, the Republican noise machine has proven her point: when she suggested that a culture that has attacked women in the past as a matter of policy should instead re-educate its men, the only response many of its inhabitants knew how to give was to attack–to defend its privilege.
Maxwell has also followed up with a piece in Ebony.com offering five concrete tips for teaching men not to rape. In brief, they are:
- Teach young men about legal consent
- Teach young men to see women’s humanity, instead of seeing them as sexual objects there for male pleasure
- Teach young men how to express healthy masculinity
- Teach young men to believe women who come forward and not to blame the victim
- Teach young men about bystander intervention
“I’m certainly taking steps to protect my emotional health, but I will not be quiet. Because I refuse to be bullied into silence,” she told Schultz. “The whole entire point of why I went on Fox to talk about this issue that I am so passionate about is because so many women are afraid to talk about it. That’s because they are blamed and shamed into silence, and I refuse–I refuse–to be silenced.”
By Arturo R. García
That segment, originally aired in 2010, holds to what MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry calls “civil rights lore” regarding Rosa Parks.
But last week, just days before what would have been her 100th birthday–today, to be exact–a new book was released that has gained acclaim for painting a more vivid picture of her life, on top of the story of her refusing to yield that seat on that bus in Montgomery, AL.
As I have watched “The Walking Dead,” however, I have been disappointed to discover that, while the writers occasionally take a moment to comment on the state of gender — and of race — in this new world, in the end they leave these issues to die and reconstitute a world in which white men rule. Men of color are reduced to occupying a nebulous space, and women (with rare exception) are to be protected. Even more pernicious, any power that women have usually comes to them in the old-fashioned, stereotypical way of manipulating the men in their lives into doing what they want them to do.
I’m not sure if it is a failure of the writers of the TV show (and yes, I know, the show is based upon previously written graphic novels), but surely, if the writers could take time out for the characters to constantly question and talk incessantly about how they are supposed to live a civilized life in a world that has risen from the ashes, couldn’t the characters have spent more time trying to figure out how to behave, now that gender and race should no longer be factors? Why has the world of “The Walking Dead” turned into a white patriarchy?
After Rick is rescued by Morgan and Duane, it’s as if racial reality disappears. Rick leaves to search for his wife, Lori, and son, Carl. Despite the fact that Atlanta is 54 percent African-American, when Rick arrives in a deserted Atlanta, he is swarmed by an all-white mob of walkers — in downtown Atlanta. That was my first moment of cognitive dissonance — in Atlanta, where were the black walkers? — but I let it go as I let myself get more into the story.
- Why “Argo” Is Hard For Iranians To Watch (The Guardian)
To be honest, the locations are not too bad. Buildings are similar to those in Iran, the houses are not that different, the bazaar is quite like the actual shopping centre in south Tehran. Banners, placards and signs are in Persian and many characters actually speak the language, although some with accents.
There are silly mistakes, however. In one scene, for example, the protagonist Tony Mendez (Affleck) says “salam” at the end of his conversation with an Iranian official. Salam means hello in Persian, not goodbye.
Minor mistakes aside, the film takes a black and white view towards Iranians, like many other western films about Iran. It portrays them as ugly, poor, strictly religious, fanatical and ignorant – almost in line with the young revolutionaries behind the hostage-taking at the US embassy in Tehran after the 1979 Islamic revolution, which the film is about. The only nice Iranian in the film is the Canadian ambassador’s maid.
The whole experience is like asking an Iranian who has never been to the US to make a film (let’s say in Cuba) about the Columbine high school massacre. You’ll probably end up watching a film in which all Americans are crazy, have a gun at home and are ready to shoot their classmates.
- Cornel West Takes Aim At Black MSNBC Hosts For ‘Selling Their Souls’ For Obama (The Huffington Post)
During an interview on “Democracy Now” West criticized Al Sharpton, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry, and frequent guest host Michael Eric Dyson for “selling their souls” in exchange for insider access to Obama.
“They want to turn their back to poor and working people. And it’s a sad thing to see them as apologists for the Obama administration in that way, given the kind of critical background that all of them have had at some point.”
The activist also made a shot at the MSNBC personalities lack of dedication to black interests by inviting “them back to the black prophetic tradition after Obama leaves.”
West didn’t hold back when it came to Obama either. During the interview he called President Obama a “Rockefeller republican in blackface.”
- After Disappointing Breakup With Knicks, Jeremy Lin Building A Better Relationship With Rockets (Yahoo! Sports)
If the move out of New York has softened the glow on Lin’s celebrity, it hasn’t softened the ferocity with which the sport comes for him. From the playground to the Ivy League to the NBA, the eyes on America’s breakout Asian-American basketball player felt the same.
“I’ve always been a target,” Lin says. “Everyone looks me and says, ‘I’m not going to let that Asian kid embarrass me. I’m going to go at him.’ That’s how it’s been my whole life. This has been different, though. Now, I was on the scouting report. People started to pay attention to what I could and couldn’t do.
“But a target? I was used to that. I’m not saying I get everyone’s best shot, but I would say people don’t want to be embarrassed by me because of my skin color.”
There’s been a lot of talk on all the English-language television networks since the election about the increasing power of the Latino vote—but virtually all of the TV pundits pontificating about this subject this past week have been non-Hispanic. On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday morning, for example, four white males over 50 sat around and talked about the election, including the Latino vote.
In fact, of the 23 MSNBC anchors and hosts listed on the network’s website, apparently only one is Hispanic.
And while CNN has CNN en Español, on the main network only two of the 21 anchors and hosts are Hispanic: Soledad O’Brien and Zoraida Sambolin.
Brittany Uter, a spokeswoman for MSNBC, declined to comment for this story. Christal Jones, public relations manager at CNN, tells The Daily Beast, “I will say that among our anchors, we have African-Americans, Asians, and Latinos, we have diverse hosts. As a network, we are always trying to increase our diversity among our employees both on camera as well as behind the scenes.”
- From “Why Don’t We Have More Hispanic Talking Heads?”
By Arturo R. García; cross-posted from Raw Story
This year’s political convention season, says MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry, got complicated. Although she is in Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention this week, she missed going to Tampa, FL, last week for its Republican counterpart because real life got in the way. Hurricane Isaac’s path, which initially threatened the convention before tearing through New Orleans, meant the Tulane University professor and her family had to evacuate their home, which they subsequently lost.
“In a certain way, the personal drama, set against the backdrop of the convention, helps to remind us that the personal is political,” she told Raw Story Wednesday. “On the one hand, we were having our own personal issues about wind and rain and a hurricane, but the fact is, levees are political, and disasters–whether or not aid is going to come to your community–has to do with who is making those choices from a political position. And so, certainly it’s been hard, but it’s helped to crystallize why elections really do matter.”