Friday Hip-hop 10.31.08

This weeks podcast is 13 minutes. I normally have at least one female emcee in my podcast but unfortunately this is not the case for this podcast. I'll make up for that next week.

Subscribe to this podcast (with higher quality audio) at iTunes.

The Spanish are angry because the young Black guy is better than they are

Angry racist Spaniards take out their inferiority complex on Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton subject of racist abuse ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix
The ugly head of Spanish racism has returned to blight Lewis Hamilton's world championship challenge in Brazil.

By Kevin Garside and Simon Arron
Last Updated: 5:25PM GMT 31 Oct 2008

Thousands have targeted Hamilton on a voodoo style website, taunting him about the colour of his skin in a vile campaign that reprised the abuse he received at the start of the year in Barcelona.

More than 16,000 racist messages using terms like "nigger" and "half-breed" have been posted on a Spanish website.

It encourages visitors to leave imaginary nails for Hamilton on a computer mock-up of the Interlagos racetrack. Spanish fans of Hamilton's rival, Fernando Alonso, are believed to be behind the outrage. One, calling himself David, left a message saying: "---- you -------. Monkey."

Another, dubbed Hamilton a conguito – a type of chocolate sweet with racist overtones – and wrote: "Conguito, you are going to die."

One left a nail out near the finishing line on lap 12. Other messages read: "Half-breed, kill yourself in your car," and "I hope you run over your dad in the first pit stop, Hamilton."

Formula One's ruling body, the FIA, who launched an anti-racism campaign following the abuse that Hamilton received at the hands of fans with
blacked-out faces during the Barcelona test in February, condemned the latest attack.

A spokesman said: "Discrimination and prejudice have no place in sport and society. Everybody in our sport will join us in condemning these abusive, hateful comments."

A spokesman for Hamilton's team, McLaren, said: "McLaren was one of the earliest supporters of the FIA's 'Every Race' campaign. We echo the position of the FIA in response to this latest episode."

Hamilton was booed and racially abused as he tested a new car in Barcelona in February. England's footballers were subjected to racist chants during a friendly against Spain at Real Madrid's Bernabeu Stadium in 2004. Sections of the Spanish crowd made monkey chants when Ashley Cole, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Jermaine Jenas touched the ball.

The same year former Spanish coach Luis Aragones was fined more than £2,000 for making racist remarks about Arsenal player Thierry Henry.

From Telegraph.co.uk


You Can Vote However You Like

I don't really have any commentary on this really. I just thought this was too awesome not to post.



Hi all, as a part of a small class assignment to do something for the elections, I decided to compile a quick and short voter information guide to dispel misconceptions and rumors about the upcoming election day.

*Please* pass this around (email, blogging, facebook notes, myspace bulletins, etc). I did not author it, I just found information online and assembled it into a brief outline of important points to share with others. So it is free for everyone to use. In fact, if you have additional important tips to share, please, let me know! I know some of these might sound obvious to you, but it's always good to share in case it's not so obvious to others. Peace.

Make Sure You’re Registered and Check Your Polling Location
Check That You Are Registered to Vote: http://www.866OurVote.org.

Check Your Polling Place: Even if you've voted in the same place for 30 years, polling places can change, so make sure you know where to go on Election Day.

Bring Your ID and Vote Early
Bring Your ID Just in Case: While not all states require government-issued ID at the polls, it’s always a good idea to bring a photo ID such as a driver’s license if you have one. Even if your state requires an ID and your forget to bring one, you are still entitled to vote. Ask to cast a provisional ballot.

Vote Early
: Record turnout is expected this year, so avoid long lines and alleviate the strain on local election officials by going earlier. Voting lines are shortest in the mid-morning or early afternoon.

Be Aware of Your Rights on Election Day

First and Foremost: Law enforcement authorities will not be screening those who show up to vote.

Wearing Campaign Gear
: In some states, wearing campaign gear in a polling place (like shirts, a buttons, etc) is against the law. But no matter what, your vote cannot be taken away from you. At most, you will have to take off a button or put a jacket over a T-shirt. You will still be allowed to vote. Cover up your campaign materials to ensure a smooth voting experience.

Unpaid Bills/Fines and Home Foreclosures: Eligible registered voters cannot be denied the right to vote because their homes have been foreclosed upon, they are late on child support payments, and have outstanding parking tickets, bills, or fines. Even if you have been forced to move somewhere else, most states give you a grace period in which you can vote at your old polling location. You do not have to pay any of the above tickets, bills, or fines in order to vote.

There Won’t Be Immigration Officers at the Polls
: While you must of course be a U.S. citizen in order to vote, immigration officers and law enforcement officers cannot and do not check immigration status of voters at the polls. If you’re lawfully registered to vote in your area, no one can stop you from voting.

Those Convicted of a Felony
: Many states allow people who have been convicted of a felony and completed their sentence to vote. Know your state laws and don't be intimidated by misinformation.

Look Out for Voting Problems and Help Others Vote
Report Any Voting Problems: Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE or 866ourvote.org. You can also send Election Protection an update through its Twitter Report Your Vote page http://twitter.com/866ourvote.

Bring Family, Friends and Neighbors
: Help elderly voters, disabled Americans, and people without transportation get to the polls.


KSDK Election Protection: by a nonpartisan voter protection coalition. http://www.ksdk.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=158571

Voter Protection Center
: by the Barack Obama Campaign. http://truth.voteforchange.com/


This Year's Nobel Prize Winner In Economic Sciences Is Truly Worth Reading Up On

Sitting comfortably in my little (and heated) studio apartment, I browse the internet on my Sony laptop while watching episodes of House on Hulu (sorry, it's my guilty pleasure!) in a small window while chatting as well. Amidst these tokens of privilege that make up my Thursday evening, I find myself reading an article about a very interesting Ph.D. who has lived in housing projects...on purpose.

Thus, here I write. Partially in reflection of my own moderately comfortable situation despite the economic hardships at the moment, but mostly in admiration for this astounding human being I never knew until now.

The article, from UC Berkeley news, is about this year's Nobel Prize winner in Economic Sciences who has gone out and lived in poverty on purpose--not to "study" our poor per se, but rather, to embrace them and for once learn from them for a change.

He is Martín Sánchez-Jankowski, Ph.D. But here's the real kicker--the man grew up in poverty in rural Mexico. He's come out of poverty, achieved great educational feats, and now he's a true warrior on a mission to not just give a damn, but also do something monumental. And he's packed with all his knowledge, all his cultural capital, and all his dutiful fury.

This man is my hero. He is actively, passionately, and usefully rolling up his sleeves and putting his academic butt to work. I mean that with all due respect. Here is a little from the article, but the entire thing is more than worth reading, it is necessary. There is so much to learn...

"Cracking The Chronic Poverty Code"
He spent most of the 1990s living in housing projects in five chronically poor neighborhoods in New York and Los Angeles, documenting what he calls the “subculture of scarcity” for the recently published Cracks in the Pavement: Social Change and Resilience in Poor Neighborhoods (UC Press).

What he discovered was that the poor, to paraphrase F. Scott Fitzgerald, are different — albeit not in the ways that other sociologists (and many political conservatives) have argued for decades. Impoverished neighborhoods, Sánchez-Jankowski learned, exhibit a fierce sense of self-preservation, constantly reinforcing values that serve to maintain the status quo while protecting against those that threaten their local culture, whether the source is state agencies seeking to impose order or foreign immigrants who bring their alien cultures into public-housing projects.

It’s not that the poor don’t aspire to status and material wealth, in his view. But due to the perception that they’re less likely to achieve them in the ways that middle-class people do — via well-paying jobs, for example — residents of poor neighborhoods are more apt to embrace, or at least tolerate, the underground economy. Similarly, absent the level of social services on which middle-class people regularly depend, gangs and other local institutions often step up to play a constructive role in low-income communities.


Whiteness Isn't Bad, What's Bad Is When People Don't Recognize It As A Degree of Privilege

Stop for a second and just read these images.

Recognize the privilege in your bottled water

Recognize the privilege in your produce

And recognize the privilege in U.S. conceptions of "terror"

The privileges involved include whiteness, although they are much broader. They expand into notions of Western privilege, first world privilege, capitalism, and U.S. national sovereignty.

So I got a hate comment on an old post, "Consciousness of White Privilege Has Great Potential" today.

It always turns out that people who send me hate mail/comments always misread (or probably don't even bother to read) my writing. They see a few words here and there and immediately react. To me, that is not only a mistake, it perpetuates ignorance. Why? Because it's NOT READING. To me, reading is an active pursuit to discover; it necessitates that you recognize your uncertainty. You don't know it all, therefore you read...but I digress.

From the hater's comment:

"You have obviously never been a white person in the middle of a black bus or community."

Um, actually I have. Why are you telling me what I have or have not experienced? If we are to get technical, well, I am what is technically referred to as a "White Hispanic." I have volunteered substantially in a local continuation school for "at risk" youth here in the Berkeley area...and I have been in a classroom full of black youth. Like it or not, people with any degree of whiteness need to be conscious. I'm not saying they're not, but I'm saying that many aren't conscious enough. I'm not a black man, nor am I an indigenous Chicana...I'm a light skinned Argentine-American. I have to come to terms with my identity so that I can better understand the problems of this world.

And in the past, I know, I have thought of myself as a person of color. What is wrong with this? Just as I have degrees of whiteness, I have degrees of color. I am sick and tired of the misconception of race that is tied to exclusive notions of categories. I am both white and of color. I am both Latina and European. I am American and Argentine. But never one more than the other...they are layers of me.

To continue on this hater's comment... here's another snippet:

There are just some things we ice people are better at.

Why is that so upsetting? Because its been abused in the past?

Privilege? Look at S.A. Its the most violent place on Earth since the change to black power. Look at Katrina. Look at Nigeria. I mean when black folks run things, people die in large numbers.

[...]But I do ask you no matter what your ethnicity, to consider giving up crossing the gaps that can't be crossed and let's work out our problems together.

First, there are not some things "ice" people are better at because they are white. The only reason I can see why someone would come to this conclusion is because they see the effects of privilege without seeing their causes. You got the majority of doctors and academics in power who are white...well, did you ever stop to think that this can be traced back to them being toddlers who receive kindergarten education (at higher rates than blacks and Latinos by far), thus beginning with far more advanced cognitive skills? AP classes in high school, SAT's, community service...these are all great determinants of one's competitive college applications--and too many urban youth of color are denied these resources in their under-funded schools, they can't afford SAT prep classes because they are poor, and they can't afford to volunteer because they have to work part time aside from school. And their parents come from similar circumstances--they are consumed by hard labor and low wages, overall lack of higher education, and a lack of political leverage and cultural capital. PEOPLE ARE NOT ALL BORN UNDER EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES. And your comment about black athletes...wow, I can't begin to address that.

Second, the examples given are full of fallacies. Lots of people have had advanced societies in this world...but your conception of "advanced" is loaded with Western conceptions of capitalism and imperialism. Africa, Asia, and Mesoamerica have all had advanced civilizations, but for a variety of reasons collapsed. Katrina? What are you talking about? That was a natural disaster exacerbated by the Bush administration. Black people in power? Look, I'm not denying there are "bad" black people in power, but there are FAR MORE bad white people in power. Throughout history...I mean, do I have to spell this out? I'm tempted to, but to say Hitler is obvious and cliché and to say Reagan depends on one's level of enlightenment...

So, rather than building bridges of understanding between communities, we should try to "work out" our problems by yelling across the wide expanses between us? I'm sorry, but that's not right.

Also, you mentioned reverse racism in your comment...I have a real problem with the words "reverse racism." Not because I don't think there is racism against white people, but because you can't "reverse" the racism experienced by people of color. Every racism is unique and carries heavy historical and political meanings that can't be transferred in meaning to other racial groups.

In the end, this person doesn't even get it. White people need to become conscious of the privileges that their whiteness is rooted in (historically and institutionally). This way, they become powerful tools for social change. I'm not hating on them.

My problem is not only when they fail to pursue this potential, but also when they refuse to acknowledge that they even have it.


Life as a Black Size 5

So I shouldn’t be complaining that I’m a size 5 now should I? Most women will look at me and tell me to shut up, never letting me explain why I have an issue with it. I don’t even think women are even aware of how bad the situation is. And I know men aren’t. I would just like to say that all sizes are NOT created equal.

I used to only shop at clothing stores that catered to urban youth. These stores, for the laymen, are just as trendy (if not more so) than any Bebe, Abercrombie, Pac Sun or Aldo only cheaper and of significantly less quality. Shirts that are hot today are out tomorrow, and new tennis shoes come out every week (I’m not talking about Urban Chic either, I’m talking about the cheap urban wear that’s sold in highly urban areas). After I started making a little money I decided I wanted to shop at the upscale stores (ok whatever, White, which in all honesty the clothes are better quality) I actually like Bebe, Aldo, Express, Banana Republic and whatever else you can find in a mall that’s well made and colorful, there’s just one problem. I have no idea what size I am when I walk into any of them. Not only do I not know what size I am, I know that the size I’m looking for will be marked as a LOT smaller than what I walked in asking for.

As far as I’m concerned sizes should be standardized, like with shoes. If I go anywhere in the world an 8.5 is an 8.5 and I’m going to buy it if I like it. Couture is supposed to give you all the options of tailoring, fabrics, design, name etc… but size is never changed in shoes because it would cause too much confusion. But couture with women’s clothing is haphazard. Everyone arbitrarily sets their own size standards and you just have to sort of wander through it. Walking out of Fasion 4 Less in downtown Oakland I’m a size 5 jeans and medium shirt. I can live with that. Filthy Dripped, Med/5. Oakland Mall (and its various liquor store-esque fashion depots) small or medium, and 5 or 6.

At Gap, I can’t even fit the extra small… it’s too big. In fact an extra small women’s t-shirt is too big for a guy friend of mine. At Bebe extra small is just tight enough to constrict blood flow to my brain, but a small fits fine. Oh, and pants hover between 1-2. At Wet Seal I used to be a small, but now I’m a medium (I haven’t gained weight, they changed distributors) and dress size 4 (although I suspect this is because Wet Seal is considered Juniors sizes). Anyway WTF. Not only is this pure shopping hysteria, I want you to notice something. All of the urban distributors had me at a larger size, while the upscale stores had me significantly smaller. Well this revelation at first was a bit of an ego boost until I thought about it for a while.

First of all why was I happy I was considered smaller than the smallest size at the Gap? What’s wrong with being bigger? For the sake of sparing you my long personal argument nothing, but as Americans we know that the standard of beauty is Barbie. Tall hourglass blonde, and if you don’t fit that mold you’re fat and ugly. Period. Women all over the world are literally starving themselves to be a size 0. The self esteem of women in this country is very fragile to say the least for ALL kinds of reasons and reinforcements. And reports like the one that was released by CDC last year and the year before saying that X amount of Americans are overweight (which I tend to think is halfway not their fault), the pressure is on to maintain that beauty standard. It’s hard enough trying to maintain yourself throughout the day, let alone up to a national standard.

We also know that Urban is now codeword for colored people. So As I pondered why sizes aren’t standardized, it dawns on me. In White stores they make the sizes bigger to make themselves feel better. It’s completely arbitrary. I feel good calling myself a size 1 as opposed to a size 5. But why were sizes bigger in urban areas? To make them feel bad about themselves? Well as quiet as it’s kept, the rates of bulimia and anorexia are rising in young Black women, especially in urban areas (we know the rates were high in suburban areas already, but they are living directly in a different cultural standard). In Urban stores sizes can go well into the 30’s (or lines like Apple bottom and House of Derrion), but Torrid only goes up to 22 or so. So even in stores designated for larger women, the size discrepancy was still obvious (Torrid also had the nerve to ask me why I was there).

This brings to me to another point, there’s an old adage that says “everybody knows Black women are just big boned”. I used to believe that until I was in situations where I had to deal with large groups of people on a constant basis; women come in ALL sizes. I’ve met some tiny Black women and gargantuan White women. In fact the obesity epidemic is hitting White people the hardest. So again I’m asking what is that statement based on? If people were reporting their own sizes, based on their own shopping habits and it was not reported on a standard scale the results are null and void. Knowing that I personally have no idea what “size” I am makes me wonder if these scientists knew what size anyone really was (the study was based on several factors; BMI, weight and size among them). Yes there’s an epidemic, but are there just more White people shopping at Urban stores because they’re cheap and the economy sucks (or maybe personal preference) and now are reporting larger sizes?

I would say that maybe it’s not intentional, since all stores have different sizes, but I can’t. Every Black store I went to I was a larger size than any White store I went to. I guess I could call this an ongoing experiment since I have to shop, but I feel like if I bring this up then women might realize that size is relative. It’s arbitrary. Your hipline is not the same as your shoe size, there IS NO STANDARD. It’s all just something to either put you down or build you up depending on where you happen to live, the color of your skin or your economic bracket.

I think that the first step we can make to fight this sort of racism is to be aware of it. Maybe we should DEMAND standardized sizes (you’d be amazed how many of us would fit the same clothes). Some cultural norms might get shaken (like Latinas and Black women are big, Asians are tiny, and White women are the standard, whatever that is because last time I checked they’re not created equally). And maybe, just maybe we’d have to take a hard look at each other as women and realize, that just because someone gave you a number doesn’t mean you have to believe it. Maybe we need to consider if it was given to us with the best intentions or not. Maybe we should raise our standards for each other by first of all making standards and dismissing any illogical deviations from that. Well thank you for reading my retail therapy session…



"The movement began to devour itself."

Cross-posted from Alas, a blog.

Since everyone seems to be talking about Bill Ayers and the Weatherman Underground here is a short trailer from the 2002 film "The Weather Underground."

Here is a quote from a Black Panther during the time the Weatherman Underground was active:
We believe that the Weatherman action is anarchistic, opportunistic, individualistic, chauvinistic, it's Custeristic. And that's the bad part about it. It's Custeristic in that its leaders take people into situations where people can be massacred. And they call that a revolution? It's nothing but child's play. We think these people may be sincere but they are misguided, they're muddle heads and they're scatter brains.

You can see the entire documentary here and order it here at PBS.


Sarah Palin’s White Privilege

Cross-posted from The Blog and the Bullet.

Indira Dammu blogs:
It’s not often that we get a perfect demonstration of white privilege and what it entails. Sure, we talk about it in classes but it’s a difficult concept to grasp. Here’s Tim Wise with a great piece on white privilege and how Sarah Palin benefits from it…

To be sure, Palin’s gender has led to unfair scrunity, particularly with regards to her ability to juggle both a career and motherhood. By the same token, however, her race has allowed to escape an even harsher examination.


Friday Hip-Hop 10.03.08

Hey everyone, here is this weeks hip-hop podcast. This one runs almost 12 minutes.

Remember to subscribe on iTunes.

L.U.S.T. tha Lady

Gabriel Teodros

Public Enemy

Intro by: Afrika Bambaataa