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The Daily Word 09.09.10: Quran-burning minister, Gary Johnson, Playboy for the blind

Zozobra burns tonight in Santa Fe.

Sunport kills prairie dogs on orders from the feds.

City Council stiffens DWCell-phoning rule.

You probably saw, but Google sped up searches.

Ex-Gov. Gary Johnson contemplates a run at the big White House.

Many black voters who cast a ballot in 2008 won't be back in November, poll says.

Rio Grande teachers high-five after the old principal splits. Students still don't have class schedules.

Ladies love flamboyant dancing.

The president rails against tax cuts for the rich ...

… then asks a Florida minister not to burn the Quran. He says the act would create a "recruitment bonanza" for al Qaida.

London Catholic church offers gay mass.

Castro criticizes communism in Cuba.

Middle-class, American, high school football star matures into a high-ranking kingpin for a Mexican drug cartel. (Growing up, he even had a wooden swing set.)

Rodney King is marrying a juror from his case.

Vitamin B slows Alzheimer's, says study.

She reads Playboy to the blind.

Why do albums come out on Tuesdays?

commentary

Want to hear a clip of Dr. Laura being racist?

I didn’t really, either. But ... wow. (Lots of N-word in there. May not be SFW.) She’s tried to make nice after the fact and backpedalled. Even her apology is ugly.

So far, she hasn’t been fired. She should absolutely be fired.

The slur—repeated 9, 10 times?—was only part of the fountain of sewage in this radio show. She said the black caller was overly sensitive and shouldn’t have married a white man if she didn’t have a sense of humor. Dr. Laura added that she’d hoped once we had a black president, people would stop whining about race. Also, “don’t NAACP me”?!?

But back to the N-word: It’s not OK to use racial slurs unless the speaker is part of the culture in question and reclaiming that word. The end. I know many people have disappointing opinions to the contrary. In this unmelting melting pot, we should all probably try not to be jerks. Avoiding the N-word and other slurs seems simple enough, but apparently that’s been a real problem for right-wing shock jocks.

News

A Restless Oakland

There was footage of the BART police officer shooting and killing an unarmed black man. Oscar Grant died on New Year's Day in 2009.

Today the verdict was read. Officer Johannes Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

As word spread, people fled the city. The shooting itself ignited days of rioting.

V.19 No.27 | 7/8/2010

News Feature

Recession and Race

Economist says job losses have been hard on the state’s Hispanics

In the summer of 2006, New Mexico economist Gerry Bradley and his colleagues were baffled by housing construction data. “Too many houses were being built. We’d never seen anything like it," he says. “It looked like something that wasn’t going to continue.”

[ more >> ] [ permalink ]

V.19 No.18 | 5/6/2010

Bear With Me

Don’t Get a Tan in Arizona

The KKK took my Broncos fan away

In yet another case of my fellow white people embarrassing the bejesus out of me, the Arizona Legislature has passed a fascist immigration bill that allows law enforcement to stop people suspected of being in this country illegally and make them prove otherwise.

[ more >> ] [ permalink ]

culture

How to Talk on the Internet (About Race)

“Let’s talk about race, bay-bee. Let’s talk about you and me.”
“Let’s talk about race, bay-bee. Let’s talk about you and me.”

Sometimes we on the ol’ Alibi blog (not to mention maybe any blog anywhere) don’t handle discussions pertaining to race (or sexuality, or gender) very well. The answer to this isn’t to stop talking about these things, but rather, to think about appropriate way to enter into and sustain such a conversation.

Jezebel has listed 10 rules for commenting on topics regarding race. I think the most important is number one: it’s not about you personally. Learn to think and respond beyond the realm of your own experience. Certain groups should also really ruminate on the “no whiners” rule.

Somehow, I know that posting something about creating civil discussions will prompt uncivil remarks, so if you need to, have at it. Or maybe you could refine these “rules” for our own piece of webdom.

News

Pay Equity Awareness Day

So 4/20 has been proclaimed by Gov. Bill Richardson to be a day on which we ponder “gender, ethnic and racial pay equity.” He signed an executive order at the end of 2009 demanding state agencies report on salary gaps and correct them.

According to the New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women, the state is ranked dead last in the nation for impoverished women with 20 percent of the New Mexico’s female population living in poverty. The commission also broke down average pay by race. The numbers are illuminating:

White

Women $29,500

Men $42,000

African American

Women $24,300

Men $32,400

Asian American

Women $33,100

Men $39,800

Native American

Women $23,200

Men $26,500

Other/Two or More Races

Women $27,600

Men $33,100

Hispanic

Women $22,100

Men $27,600

Culture

Captain Obvs: Don’t Touch Strangers Without Asking

I stumbled across this excellent opinion piece called “Keep Your Hands Off the Hair” today on NPR. It’s by Allison Keyes, guest host of Tell Me More. She talks about doing her hair in an Afro puff and having people walk up and touch it without asking. She says it’s a race issue and a personal space issue.

It reminded me of this essay by local Virginia Lovliere Hampton that we ran back in 2007. Fantastic writing. It blew my mind a little, three years ago. Hair-touching is such an awkward blindspot, an assumption, an insidious way racism asserts itself.

Keyes dug up many more blogs talking about the same thing: Strangers feeling up black people’s hair without asking permission. Frankly, I think it’s weird to even ask someone you don’t know if you can touch their hair.

Captain Obvious and Miss Manners agree: Don’t be creepy.

Culture

Hispano vs. Mexican

Gustavo Arellano
Gustavo Arellano

This woman didn’t leave her name or number, but she’s angry about a portion of this week’s feature in which “Ask a Mexican” columnist Gustavo Arellano asks a New Mexican. Her voicemail is awesome. The delivery is fantastic, full of venom but with that particular lilt you only get around here.

"Marisa. I like your paper usually. I'm kinda pissed today. Who is this Joseph Baca that's trying to say that Hispanos in New Mexico are not formerly Europeans many of them? What is he? Is he a MEXICAN? And these Hispanos were also being hanged in the mid 1800s—even if their skin wasn't brown but pink. So why don't you correct that misnomer, his blurb: "Are there still people who call themselves Hispanos or is that some Chicano myth?" Well, it's a Chicano myth, apparently. But it's not a Hispano myth. Get it straight, lady. How long have you lived in this state? And where the hell is Joseph Baca from?"

(To answer, I’ve lived here all my life except for a couple of single-digit years I don’t remember.)

She called back and added:

"Thank you for Jerry Ortiz y Pino's encapsulation of the special session at the Legislature. It was full of information and understanding. It helped a lot. Thank you."

No no, ma’am. Thank YOU.

V.19 No.7 | 2/18/2010

News Feature

Race Talk Boils in the House

Hispanic Education Act sparks hours of discussion

Roundhouse conversations on touchy social topics don't unfold all that differently from debates at the bar, in a classroom or over a dinner table.

[ more >> ] [ permalink ]

blog

Talking Race in the Legislature

SANTA FE—The big news today is the Hispanic Education Act. Rep. Rick Miera's HB 150 is meant to address the Hispanic achievement gap in New Mexico. It was debated extensively. It costs no money, creates an office, a council and a liaison to discuss issues facing Hispanic students, which make up 56 percent of the student population in the state. Rep Benjamin Rodefer said since there is a minority-majority, isn't the Public Education Department already the Office of Hispanic Education?

Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas said there isn't a force field around the state that prevents institutional racism from entering. ""We have an anglo-saxon tradition in this state. The words I'm speaking come from England," he said.

The Legislative Education Study Committee reports that 71.3 percent of caucasian students graduate and 56.2 percent of Hispanic students graduate. There's a slew of other statistics in that report that shake out that way.

A similar measure in the Senate immediately began being discussed after the House bill passed 44-25.

The Senate also debated earlier an amendment from Sen. Rod Adair to SB 137 that would give driver's licenses only to U.S. citizens. During that conversation, Sen. Eric Griego said Adair connected Mexicans to al Qaeda and that it was "blatant racism."

Follow along on our live-blog as the race conversations continue.

politics

The GOP and Whitey

Karl Rove tried to get Republicans to adopt an immigration stance that might attract more Hispanics. The GOP rank-and-file told him to shove it.

Now it appears the only people still interested in the Republicans' message is good ol' white people.

You can see it in the approval ratings of President Obama. Low and middle income whites' satisfaction with Obama has dropped significantly since the beginning of the year. The president's popularity amongst Hispanics and Blacks remains high.

Similarly, Americans' support of Obama's health care overhaul is much stronger amongst African Americans and Hispanics, than amongst non-affluent whites.

That spells trouble for Republicans in a nation where the fastest growing census category is multiracial. Without a broader, big-tent appeal, the GOP stands to continually lose ground in national elections.

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