Wednesday, October 29, 2003

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program...

In the past couple of years, thanks to key activism, the American public has been introduced to sweatshops (well actually mainstream middle class America was introduced to them, unfortunately, folks of color have been working in them for years now). The connetions between sweatshops and celebrities have also increased (please see Kathie Lee and sweatshops). Apparently, like most things in the media today, where there is smoke, there is P. Diddy (that's Puffy to me and you!). Diddy is the most recent to be accused of using sweatshops in Honduras to manufacture clothes for his Sean John line. The whistle blower, a 19 year old former factory worker, is leading a charge towards accountability for Diddy and his digs. I was wondering when hip hop was going to get indicted in sweatshop labor, Unfortunately, even the most "conscious" rappers today still rock Nikes and the like in the name of fashion.

Speaking of sweatshops, I recently had the honor of winning my first Intramural championship in softball. On my way to this victory, I loudly joked about wanting my "sweatshop shirt special edition." For the past couple of years, or at least since I've been in Michigan, the prize for victory in IM has been a tee shirt sponsored by Nike. Imagine my suprise when I got my tee shirt and it did not have the scarlet swoosh of unfair labor practices. Now I must admit, my shirt is likely tied to some form of a sweatshop, but for once I was impressed (not oppressed) by a decision U of M made!

Speaking of unfair labor practices, last week the Center for the education of women released a study on the state of under-representation of women executives in Michigan companies. The report, with little suprise, found that representation of women in higher level positions did not reflect the pool of qualified women for executive level positions. I recently had a lively discussion/debate about whether this lack of representation was a function of "self-selection" out of the eligble pool by women who try to have families, or if it were generated by discriminatory practices. An interesting point about self-selection, but it's more likely that employeers probably use individual cases of women "selecting-out" to signal that all or most women will do the same thing, thus never giving new women the the opportunity.

On my labor tip continued, the U is being set ablaze, not literally, by the rise in cost of healthcare. Today at noon, GEO and other labor unions at U of M will be rallying to get the word out about rising healthcare costs and its detrimental effects on folks at U of M. More details later!

As we roll on, the Democratic presidential debate took place in Detroit this past weekend, where 3000 invited guests (yeah, you know they weren't interested in letting in the average woman or man) who watched the candidates do battle ... some of them to the death. The debate was co-sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and Fox News, obviously the Fox News sponsorship made made me nervous! The debate was pretty interesting. Clearly, Al Sharpton was the crowd favorite, and despite it being in Detroit, the audience was majority White. However, the person with the most success was likely Dean who remains a front runner. Clark scared me to death with his comments. Kucinich got played by the moderators. Edwards ... boring. Kerry ... boring. Gephardt, aren't you Republican? Mosley-Braun, come on sis... where is the fire that got you into offices before? Lieberman, give up now, save yourself ... and us! Here is a shameless plug for Al Sharpton's book, if you don't know about the new Al Sharpton pick it up and read! Don't let the perm fool ya!

Onto the arena of civil rights, this past week, Hussain Rahim made an intersting commentary on Ghettopoly, the NAACP, and racial politics in the US. The piece entitled, "Strictly for my niggaz and bitches" isn't that bad. Besides neglecting the difference in scale of impact between marketing Pimp Juice which provides a pro-pimp statement and a game that attempts to addict your neighborhood to one of the most debilating substances on earth, the opinion piece does a pretty good job. Hussain admits ghettopoly is just a game, to which I respond in my best Serch like voice, "IT'S NOT A GAME!" The state of Black America is difficult to impact, but if we can serve at nipping one perpetuator of stereotypes in the bud, we can continue to deal with the bigger offenders tomorrow.

Let's see, other important things happening today:
The Tamara Williams Memorial Lecture

Loretta J. Ross

You are cordially invited to the annual lecture in
memory of Tamara Williams (1976-1997) a University of
Michigan senior killed by her boyfriend, September 23, 1997

Wednesday, October 29, 7:00 - 8:30 PM
East Hall Auditorium, Room 1324
525 East University Avenue
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Domestic violence is serious and real, if you can, come out and support this!

If you can't make it to that, there is also:


Wednesday, Oct. 29th:

Let Our Voices Be Heard.
an interactive program on affirmative action featuring Ann Arbor Slam Poets!
7pm Pendelton Room, Michigan Union

Thursday, Oct. 30th:
Come out to the diag to hear a BET comic impersonate Ward Connerley himself. Music from DJ Grafitti, MCed by a WJLB radio personality!
12pm, DIAG

Both great events, you'd be wise to find yourself at either one of them!

Aight, that is more than enough to chew on ... oh wait!
FREE SLICK RICK aka MC Ricky D aka The Ruler!!!!!

Monday, October 20, 2003

In my obligatory glancing at the Daily, I only look to insure that we are not being scewed over again by some horrible slander or mislead opinion piece, I think I may have come across a decent opinion piece. The opinion is entitled, "Necessary but not sufficient." The piece suggests Affirmative Action can only be a partial solution to racial inequality because it does not affect as many people as it should. Not a bad thought, now of course it commits the cardinal sin in my book- "We need more/better/different techniques," but then suggests none. It's a pretty common thing, but hey it's a think piece.

About a month ago, Africana ran a column by William Jelani Cobb, a history professor at Spelman. The column argued that the Willie Lynch address never happened. The argument againts Lynch's existence is very sound, despite the occasional inaccuracy about the points of origin of the alleged speech. This is the type of critical inquiry that we need about the history that we have been told, and sometimes we have created, or others have created for us. In response, Africana has launched a new column by Cobb entitled "Past Imperfect."

And before I forget, I noticed that the Rush Limbaugh coment got a lot of attention nationally and eventually sent the man packing . . . and possibly to rehab, coincidence? But the recent comments by Jan Stephenson have remained relatively unknown. Stephenson said,
"This is probably going to get me in trouble, but the Asians are killing our tour. Absolutely killing it,'' she told the magazine. "Their lack of emotion, their refusal to speak English when they can speak English. They rarely speak. We have two-day pro-ams where people are paying a lot of money to play with us, and they say, 'Hello and goodbye.' Our tour is predominantly international and the majority of them are Asian. They've taken it over.''
For real? Well of course, now she has also apologized to the APIA community. I guess the magic words of "I'm sorry" are still good enough for the masses.


Friday, October 17, 2003

Here's a little additional archair activism if you would like to partake. There is now an online petition against Ghettopoly. Click here to sign it!
Okay, there is this really . Here goes an interesting piece in this month's Atlantic Monthly. The piece discusses Roy Freedle's article in the Harvard Educational Review that suggests that African-American students outscore White students on harder questions on the SAT. The article is an interesting twist into the consideration of standardized tests as biased indicators. The piece is rather long (about 9 pages) but definitely worth reading! If you want more detailed information on theories of standardized test bias check out Fair Test.

Also, Al Sharpton is still campaigning strong and has made public two key alliances: P Diddy (we all know him as Puffy) and Jay-Z ( aka Jigga, aka Sean Carter, aka Hova). If you want the young vote, you gotta go to where the young people are!

Lastly, well at least till I fill like posting something else, the NY Times magazine ran an article on health disparities.
Here's an excerpt:
There are many different types of disadvantaged neighborhoods in America, but poor urban minority neighborhoods seem to be especially unhealthy. Some of these neighborhoods have the highest mortality rates in the country, but this is not, as many believe, mainly because of drug overdoses and gunshot wounds. It is because of chronic diseases -- mainly diseases of adulthood that are probably not caused by viruses, bacteria or other infections and that include stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer.
Don't think that the environmental issues and things of that matter are all about saving the whales. There are many young brothas and sistahs in our inner cities who live with real problems due to enviromental inequities.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Now we are all pretty much pissed at Ghettopoly, but let's not miss such local stereotypes as the Jerk Pit's website. That's right it's located right across from Hill Auditorium on Fletcher. Why... my mind is tired and my body is weary (Faye 2003)...
Ghettopoly Update 3: Okay, I'm really getting sick of this, but here goes. The Ghettopoly site is up again, this time with a "Message to the Haters." Very interesting!

Here's the letter copied and pasted for the folks who are too lazy to click the link.

As of Mon, 13 Oct 2003 16:43:30 -0700. has been shut down by with no warning. I have attached the Email I received from ( see below ). To say that I am pissed off is an understatement. I have been using Yahoo store selling the same product for over 6 months now. I will use all legal resources to see that is will never happen again to anyone else. For the people who already placed their orders, please rest assure your orders are still coming to you as schedule. All of your orders have been already forwarded to my fulfillment house. We have temporary suspended taking any new orders. Once your order is shipped, we will send your a UPS tracking #. We are now just waiting on the games. Below is a delivery schedule I have compiled so you can reference your order # to.

Order # 4,500 to 11,000 will be shipped on or around 11/3/2003.
Order # 11,000 to 15,000 will be shipped on or around 11/15/2003.
Order # 15,000 and up will be shipped on or around Dec 12/10/2003.

Again I am sorry that I did not foresee this coming. I am not entirely sure why Yahoo has decided to shut down the website. I will be looking at other possibilities to see if I can get the site back up. Please let everyone you know what happened.
David Chang

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Ghettopoly Update 2: Hasbro has demanded that Chang stop selling the Ghettopoly. As a result, no doubt, the Ghettopoly site has been removed from the web.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Ghettopoly updates The local Urban Outfitters on State Street does not and for a couple of days has not "had any in stock." So if you go in there you won't find Ghettoploy but you will find a host of offensive products, it's worth a trip!

I was alerted that the Urban Outfitters website now features a pop up window when you search for "ghettopoly" that says,
"Due to customer concerns, Urban Outfitters no longer sells the board game 'Ghettopoly'." I have not seen an official press release stating that they will not restock in in their stores (the online catalog may operate semi-independently of stores), some stores have been maintaining wait lists for the product, but they seem rather ashamed and trying to make the game blemish die out quickly. The local store also repeats the tagline from the webpage when requests for Ghettopoly are made.

Also, an online vendor Cafe Shops no longer sells the Ghettopoly merchandise listed on their page. A local SCOR member emailed them about its offensive nature and they agreed to stop selling it, great job!

Though Friday, and the Friday before a break, is one of the least read days of the Daily they have a number of articles that are interest, no matter how tainted they are.
The first piece is about diversity of ideological perspective. Now the piece suggests it does not have to do with race, but in Drolet's words, who issued the complaint,
"The pattern of these donations, combined with the University's dogmatic defense of its racially biased admissions policy, demonstrates that ideas matter less to U of M than the skin color of those who bring those ideas to campus." I am amazed how even though it is not supposed to be about race, he immediately bases his issue on the concept of racial diversity. Race is something that can be seen when someone enters a room, for the most part, I don't know about political affiliation.

Another article by Jeremy Berkowitz (I guess the Daily's beat reporter on affirmative action) asks people around the state, not affiliated with U of M about race in higher education admissions. The responses are really interesting, remember, these are the folks who will be voting on the Ballot Initiative, not just informed students. Of course, the lead picture with caption is from a Eva Burgess, a Black woman, who expressed, "she wished there was a way where white students spots weren't being sacrificed for black students." Ah, dang, now even Black folks have bought into White students having the natural "right" to admission to U of M. When will we stop perpetuation the zero-sum game in higher education admissions?

And I'm too lazy to find an article on Bush just spoke about bring "democracy to Cuba." Hey, I wonder it's a two for one deal, like most US foreign policy "request democracy and get capitalism 'free.'"

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Ghettopoly is getting a lot of attention, even the infamous Tim Wise weighs in on it in this week's Black Commentator.
Today's Daily features two pieces on Christopher Columbus. NASA and La Voz Latina have managed to stir a bit of controversy, and much more thought, about the nature of Columbus' effect on the Native peoples present in "America." The article, which tries hard to display a side that can defend Columbus' genocidal expansion across "America," but when it just doesn't cut muster! When some of the strongest defenses are,
""Frankly it's ridiculous. If they're going to say this, they'll probably start saying Washington and Jefferson were racists," said Raham, an LSA sophomore. "Columbus' contributions changed the course of history. ... Everybody makes mistakes."
Okay, where should I begin. Hmmm, Washington and Jefferson racists... lol, guess we have no evidence for that. Okay, everyone does make mistakes, but how many people's mistakes take a toll of thousands (and I'm being conservative). And if he didn't do the "killing" himself, he certainly set an interesting precedent for Manifest Destiny. Good job NASA and La Voz for stirring things up!

The second piece, is an editorial by Lauryn Strayer, and I think I like it! Yeah, miracles never cease to happen. It argues that we should "recall" Columbus day as it stands and if people really demand its retention it should occur on the first Monday of November to honor the "right to vote." Hey, I'm for it, but I wonder if on that day of celebration history will once again forget the disparities in the right to vote. I imagine if the US is able to repaint history with Columbus day, not mentioning the denial of the right of the vote wouldn't be any more difficult.

The Daily also runs a piece on the defeat of Prop 54 in Cali. Of course, very few folks will suggest that Prop 54 and the Michigan Ballot Initiative are too connected, so the piece of course ends with shoulders shrugged. And when will people stop reporting about that dang poll that says 52% of folks in Michigan don't support the use of race in affirmative action? It is not even a statistically significant difference.

Lastly, Don't forget the Moment meeting tonight! Moment is an alternative publication that is just starting and needs help shaping its vision. Come check out the meeting at 7pm in 3222 Angell.


Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Today, in EST, Arnold was selected as governor of California and Proposition 54 died a slow death. But most importantly, if you didn't think this was a political fiasco, you should! Gary Coleman managed to capture 12,518 votes!

On a much more sad note, the men (police officers) charged with killing Steve Biko, the South African freedom fighter, will not be going on trial for murder! Justice delayed is justice denied.

Last year, the Stern school of Business at NYU was bombarded with racist emails. One of my friends recieved some of his messages and forwarded it on to me, maybe if I find it I'll link it up here later. A Tennessean, Scott Bain, was arrested for these hate emails.

And out of the world of randomness, I find a story about race in Brazil in higher education. Just an interesting little read.

There is also a rather confusing editorial in the Daily today by Jeff Cravens. He is questioning the university's "blind pursuit of diversity." I think he is trying to make multiple points, but it just doesn't come out right, read it if you want to.

On a local issue, Michael Moore's appearance on the 12th is apparently "sold out." Dang, don't sleep, people are on their stuff at U of M.

I'll soon be updating the political corner, give me a few days. You'll be able to change the world from the comfort of your home, or coffee shop, or computer lab, or library ... okay you'll be able to change it from a computer hooked up to the internet!

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

So there's a bunch of the stuff that I want to get out to people. Here goes:

On Sunday, October 12, Michael Moore (of Bowling for Columbine and Stupid White Men Fame) will be coming to U of M to speak on his new book, Dude, Where's My Country?. The talk is sponsored by Anti-War Action and will hopefully get a decent turn out despite its near fall break date. Tickets are free and are available through MUTO.

If you can't make it to the Moore's talk on the 12th, you can catch Moore at EMU on Halloween. This talk is also a ticketed event, so make sure to get in on this early!

This Thursday at 7pm, the first meeting of Moment will occur in the English Department Conference Room (3222 Angell Hall). Below there is an excerpt from an email sent out by Moment:
"We have called this meeting in response to three trends; namely the
absence of an alternative press, the renewal of right-wing aggression
around the world, and the fragmentation of the forces that seek universal
justice and fight against oppression and exploitation. It is in these
times of both necessity and opportunity that the unity of such forces is
at its most urgent. It is in the spirit of urgency and hope that Moment
is proud to issue this call to action."

Today at 4pm in the Michigan Theatre, the premiere screening of "Campus Diversity, Student Voices." The documentary explores student reactions to and understandings of diversity. Ernest Mejia coordinated this film and you may have seen him and his crew around campus last year.

Also, in news of the ridiculous, Ghettopoly a new game sold at Urban Outfitters is making some waves because of its stereotype heavy format. The creator of the game, David Chang, has not been receptive to criticisms of the game's stereotypes offensive nature. Ah, the free market where ideas are exchanged openly...

This is week is National Coming Out Week. A host of events are planned for this week, though so far the only decent listing is in this Daily article. If there is a different site that is sponsored by the NCOW folks, I'll link that when I find it or it get forwarded to me. Come out and support (pun intended)!

Be on the look out on ways to become involved with National Take Affirmative Action Day (NTAAD) which is coming up October 30th.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Sha' Duncan, of the Multi Ethnic Student Affairs (MESA) office, has announced the formation of the Black Programming Task Force. The task force's purpose is, "to identify educational and social justice programming needs in the community. It will fill the void if programming does not exist to target specific issues in the Black Community and it will help to promote and support existing efforts that are already present in the Community."
Applications (portfolios) are accepted until October 15th. For more details, contact Sha' Ducan at
7 whole days... and not a word... yeah, my bad. So let's get it!

The Michigan Daily has been on a diversity frenzy over the past week. The Daily attempts to be "fair and balanced"(tm) by presenting opposing stories other emerging Michigan Ballot Intiative sponsored by Wardell Connerly. The pro-piece ran on Wednesday, while the con piece ran on Tuesday. Well, I will pretty much bet that Connerly gets the necessary signatures, so what is the next step?

The Daily also runs a piece today on the Honors Program's lack of diversity. I was really interested in Ruben Duran's comment:
"That was the University's entire argument, that racial diversity is beneficial to the academic experience. If that's what the University believes and it's not extended to all its programs, then the University's failing itself. If the belief is that true diversity is diversity of ideas, then it's not," said Ruben Duran, LSA senior and editor in chief of the Michigan Review."
Great, now maybe Ruben Duran supports Affirmative Action too! LOL!!!

On a bright note, a heart warming story from Colorado (yeah, I was suprised too ;), where students organized ... not a rally, but a bake sale to keep a sistah in school!

There is a lot more to add, but I gotta Run like DM C ya later!