Tag Archives: voting

Thanksgiving Special: RECLAIMING Their VOICE: The Native American Vote in New Mexico & Beyond

While the public at large is asked to celebrate a very Eurocentric account of history as relates to the Native American population, we’d like to invite you to take a look at the perspective shared in this documentary, available online thanks to The Internet Archive:

Narrated by Peter Coyote, this film is OSCAR-nominated, EMMY-winning, filmmaker Dorothy Fadiman’s latest documentary. “RECLAIMING Their VOICE” follows Native Americans in New Mexico taking a stand against injustice in the political process. Personal stories demonstrate how minority communities are using their voting rights as they participate more fully in elections. These stories capture a microcosm of growing awareness and activism which is taking root across the United States. In addition to documenting the Native American suffrage movement historically, the film follows a groundbreaking project led by the Laguna, NM Native community. Their efforts lead to significant positive changes in New Mexico state election law.
This story serves as a model for how other minority populations throughout the U.S. can work together to make sure they can cast their votes and that their votes will be counted.

This film documents:

  • The Pueblo Revolt (1680)
  • Wounded Knee (1890)
  • The Sacred Alliance for Grassroots Equality’s fight to protect
  • The sacred art of the Petroglyph National Monument
  • The Pueblo of Laguna’s 500 Voter Project
  • The passage of legislation to ensure greater election security for Native Americans
  • The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People

Reminder: Get Out And Vote!

If you’ve taken part in early voting so far this year, it’s likely you’ve run into extremely long lines or “nonpartisan observers,” both tactics specifically targeting communities of color, as was the decision to curtail or derail early voting in states like Ohio, which Sen. Nina Turner (D-OH) ably summed up here:

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And as a correspondent for Melissa Harris-Perry’s show on MSNBC pointed out, the purpose of groups like this might well extend from harassing voters to tying up the electoral process itself, with a hint of transphobia mixed in:

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Luckily, if you’re going out to the polls today — and we wholeheartedly urge you to — there are resources available to help you.
Continue reading

An African Election: Rhetoric Around Voting In Close Elections

With polls saying that President Obama and presidential hopeful Mitt Romney are in a dead heat–and the latest Electoral College count favoring the current president–we’re noticing the bubbling of liberal and other left-leaning people saying that they’re so dissatisfied with Obama’s performance that they’re not going to vote for him but are planning to “vote with their conscience.” Others say that, by doing so, the “conscientious objecting” voters are essentially throwing the election to Romney. This recalls similar rhetoric in the 2000 election, when those who supported then-presidential candidate Al Gore said his loss wouldn’t have been so contested if the Ralph Nader supporters didn’t “throw their vote away” on the third-party candidate.

Who’s right? And how did Ghanaians handle their own close election in 2008? And what can USians learn from Ghanaian voters?

Racialicious, National Black Programming Consortium’s AfroPoP.TV, and guest tweeters Scot Nakagawa (@nakagawascot) and Kenyon Farrow (@kenyonfarrow) will discuss these very issues on Twitter tonight at 7:30PM.

If you haven’t checked out Jarreth Merz’s An African Election, it’s available on YouTube until 11/1. Check out the film, and join the tweetversation!

 

Race/Ethnicity And Voter Turnout

By Guest Contributor Gwen Sharp, originally published on Sociological Images

As we enter the home stretch of the presidential campaign, there’s a steady stream of media discussions of potential turnout and differences in early voters and those who vote on Election Day, analysis of the demographics of swing states, and a flood of campaign materials and phone calls aimed at both winning us over and convincing us to actually go vote (those of you not living in swing states may be blessed with less of this).

So who does vote? And how many of us do so?

Demos.org recently released a report on voting rates and access among Native Americans. It contains a breakdown of voting and voter registration by race/ethnicity for the 2008 presidential election. That year, about 64% of all adults eligible to vote in the U.S. did so, but the rates varied widely by group. White non-Hispanics and African Americans had the highest turnout, with every other group having significantly less likely to vote. Half or less of Asians, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and Hispanics voted:

For every group, the vast majority of those who register do go on to vote. But significant numbers of people who have the right to vote aren’t registered to do so, and even among registered voters (the darkest blue columns), turnout is higher among White non-Hispanics and African Americans than other groups. This could reflect lack of interest in or enthusiasm for the election or the candidates but likely also reflects structural and organizational differences–from poverty to the lack of concerted efforts by campaigns to make voting easier by providing shuttles to the polls and otherwise getting out the vote in these communities.

An African Election: Our Last Tweet-Up And The Q & A Panel

We hope the logo hasn’t thrown you off, Racializens. It’s our big reminder that Jarreth Merz’s documentary on Ghana’s 2008 election, An African Election, premieres next Monday, October 1, on PBS’ WORLD Channel. The movie begins at 8:30PM.

We’re also thrilled by the pre-premiere panel line-up! Scheduled to appear are:

They will discuss the parallels between the voting issues that faced Ghana during that momentous election and the voting issues that marginalized, disenfranchised people are facing in the US during this presidential election. The panel starts at 8PM on on the same night and channel.

To gear up for the Big Night, we’re having a tweet-up–our last, alas–today at 11AM EDT (4PM in Ghana). Our guest tweeter is Ghanaian feminist Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, who works as the Communications Officer at African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) and co-runs the incredible blog Adventures From The Bedrooms Of African Women, a which collectively gathers information and discusses safer-sex practices and sexuality with African women and progressive African men. She’ll give her on-the-ground perspective on whether Ghana’s 2008 election affected the lives of women in the nation.

Check it all out!

Related:

An African Election: African Feminisms With Minna Salami and Yaba Blay

What Votes Count? On Voter Fraud And Intimidation [An African Election]

The Right To Information: A Building Block Of Democracy

An African Election: Pan-Africanism and Ghana’s 2008 Election With Dr. James Peterson

An African Election: A 21st-Century Ghanaian Politics Primer With Dr. Benjamin Talton

An African Election‘s Jarreth Merz On African Stereotypes And Ghanaian Politics

An African Election Takes Over Racialicious

What Votes Count? On Voter Fraud And Intimidation [An African Election]

It all came down to Tain. In An African Election, the results of the 2008 were decided based on multiple run-off votes. Each time, the paper ballots were painstakingly counted and verified, and there was much discussion about not disenfranchising the elderly and those who did not have formal identification.

But times have changed. Continue reading

An African Election: A 21st-Century Ghanaian Politics Primer With Dr. Benjamin Talton

As some of you may have read on our Twitter timeline, we at the R and National Black Programming Consortium had a great time with Dr. Benjamin Talton, who teaches Ghanaian history and politics at Temple University. He took time between classes to give a quick lesson on the politics captured in Jarreth Merz’s An African Election.

Continue reading

An African Election‘s Director Jarreth Merz On African Stereotypes And Ghanaian Politics

 

Soundbite Culture: You’ve said An African Election began because of questions you had about your own identity. What were they?

Jarreth Merz: One of them was “Why do I see myself as a cliché?” As an actor, I’d ask why am I cast as a terrorist or something exotic? Why am I not cast as something regular and normal? Is it because I am abnormal? What is it?

There’s a lot of doubt within who I am. We all go through that process. They say when you hit 40 you reach a mid life crisis, but for me I think it was more like an identity crisis. I just realised that I was in denial of my African heritage because of all the bad examples we hear about Africa. Or the clichés; everything is so colourful, you dance so well, you’re very chocolaty.

So this was something that motivated me to go back to where I grew up, which was Ghana. To have a closer look and see where I came from and where I grew up. Why was I happy then and oblivious to all this crap going on about colour or identity, and why had I become so wounded? I had to confront my demons and take a look at that. So I went back to Ghana and I was looking for a new reality.

SC: Did you find any answers?

JM: Let’s put it this way, I found enough to start a new journey. Because looking for answers never stops. It’s a part of life and I think it’s a beautiful part of life that you always question. I think it’s important for me at this stage of my life to be able to move on and to accept. In this case, with a very positive example through the film [I made].

Jarreth Merz. Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED. Courtesy: blogs.suededeutsche.de

SC: How did making An African Election help you in this respect?

JM: I realised that Africa is so full of hope, so full of positive examples. And it was my responsibility to document that, to talk about it, to bring one positive example – and in this case it’s just one – to a larger audience. To show that democracy in Africa can be done and does exist and it can actually be done better. Going through two reruns, and an unprecedented second rerun, where have you seen that before?

SC: How did you feel about what the Ghanaian people had to say?

JM: People wanted change. At the time, Obama was running for President and that was something that inspired African nations. There were pamphlets at the rallies saying “Obama, Obama, Obama!”

It was a time when there was hope that change could really happen, thanks to the example of big brother, America. Ghanaians had been living in the conditions of a third world country for so long and they were sick and tired of it. They want to move on. Ghana is very positive in the sense that it is not a bitter country. People are aware that they have the power in their hands.

–Excerpted from Soundbite Culture. The film makes its US public-media debut, thanks to Racialicious’ collaborators  National Black Programming Consortium, on October 1, 2012.

Related: An African Election Takes Over Racialicious

Related: An African Election On Tumblr

Related: An African Election On Twitter