Tag Archives: voting

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

 

 

 

 

Politics: Targeting the AAPI Vote for the 2012 Presidential Election

by Guest Contributor Erin Pangilinan, originally published at Hyphen

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are the fastest growing racial group in the United States, making AAPI voters a force to be reckoned with as a key constituency group for the 2012 presidential election. The Obama For America (OFA) campaign is attempting to capture the attention of ethnic voting blocs in various states.

Unfortunately only 48 percent of AAPIs turned out to vote in 2008, making them the lowest registered group, compared to 62 percent of all Americans. Only half of eligible AAPIs are registered to vote, making AAPIs the lowest racial or ethnic group recorded. OFA can still remain optimistic though, since 81 percent of first-time AAPI voters voted for President Obama.

While mainstream news outlets focused on AAPI Silicon Valley entrepreneurs as flashy campaign donors in the already blue state of California, what’s really at stake for many is outside of the San Francisco Bay Area. AAPI populations can make a big difference in battleground states throughout the country, especially Nevada.

Holding six electoral votes, Nevada is a key swing state to win the presidential election. Nevada is home to the nation’s fastest growing AAPI population. AAPI and Latino voters were the margin of swing victory in U.S. Senator Harry Reid’s run for re-election in Nevada during the 2010 mid-term elections.

Filipino Americans are the second largest ethnic group in Nevada alone, and make up 4 percent of the state’s population at 98,000 — 86,000 of whom reside in Clark County. Tagalog will be the third language, aside from English and Spanish, to be used in election materials in Clark County. OFA has a clear investment in AAPI communities, with a total of seven field offices in Las Vegas alone, which is located in Clark County.

Some speculate that because of poor voter turnout during the previous mid-term elections, as well as a likely loss of white swing independent voters supporting Obama, OFA will attempt to recapture base voters, particularly communities of color.

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“We’re Not Going to Stand for It”: SisterSongNYC’s Jasmine Burnett

By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid

I met the inimitable SisterSongNYC leader Jasmine Burnett after I came all late to Stand Up for Women’s Health Rally in NYC on February 26.  (In full disclosure: I’m also part of SisterSongNYC.)  In the video, she discusses some of the intersections of reproductive justice–economics, voting, and mothering–and what activism needs to be done.

Transcript after the jump.

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“Not All Cultures Are Equal:” Presente.org Asks Us All to Go Vote

This new video from Presente.org explains who exactly is voting on November 2nd:

The video quotes Glenn Beck saying that Obama “has a deep seated hatred for white people;” Rush Limbaugh saying his Barack the Magic Negro joke was “funny” and “brilliant;” Fox Business anchor John Stossel arguing that private businesses “should be allowed to discriminate;” Alabama gubernatorial hopeful Tim James leading off his ad with the line “This is Alabama, we speak English;” Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann railing against the idea of “multicultural diversity” by saying “it sounds good in theory,” but “not all cultures are equal.”

Presente notes “They have a vision for America that doesn’t include of all of us.”

It’s an important thing to remember.

Quoted, Election Day Edition: Adrienne Maree on Being an American Revolutionary

wonder_woman

i feel challenged by Grace [Lee Bogg's] latest thinking, that a new “more perfect union” is ours to envision and embody, and i think we have to believe that no one can run this country, community by community, better than those of us with clear visions and practices of justice and sustainability. if we believe that, then we must take on the responsibility of bringing our visions into existence – through our actions, not just our words.

the second thing that has made me reconsider this is a conversation that happened at web of change. it was hosted by anasa troutman and angel kyodo williams, and i wasn’t even there, just got to debrief how powerful it was with several participants afterwards. one of the key components was the idea of being able to say that those things that offend us at the deepest level, which seem inhumane, which give us feelings of shame by association – we have to step up to say “that is not our America.” Continue reading

On Forcing Myself to Vote

by Latoya Peterson

getobamasback

When I was fifteen years old, taking the updated version of Civics class, my teacher impressed upon me the utter importance of participating in a democracy. This is both a right and a privilege, he noted, explaining that with every right came with a responsibility that must be fulfilled.

To ensure our right to a trial by jury of your peers, one must agree to serve on a jury. So when I was called for jury duty, I groaned internally, but went happily, knowing that I was playing my small role.

Similarly, the right to vote comes with the responsibility to exercise those rights, less they be taken away. So, ever since I was 18, I have gone to the polls.

But this year was a fight. I had a great conversation with Erwin de Leon on the Michael Eric Dyson show where he talked about wanting to vote, dreaming of voting, but being denied that kind of civic participation because he was not a citizen. When Erwin mentioned how he pleaded with his friends to care enough to vote, and remembered how the Philippines has a very different relationship to voting than America.

As he spoke, I flinched inwardly. I believed every word he said. Knew it. But I was still struggling with the idea casting my ballot this year. Continue reading