Monday, December 22, 2003

Since my last commentary on Hip-Hop culture and Black youth has sparked a little talk, I figured I would update on some more interesting issues and representations within Hip-Hop culture. The first, is the Cam'ron, Dame Dash, and Bill O'Reilly (yeah, the O'Reilly Factor) meeting. Many folks were impressed by the discussion on "the no spin zone," especially since O'Reilly is known to invite guests on the show to destroy them. Apparently, this was not the case on this episode. Black Electorate's hip-hop friday's commentary and transcript give the tale of the tape.

For "all the bad that rap music and Hip-Hop culture produce" there are really good contributions too. M-I- crooked letter's own, David Banner, will donate 50,000 dollars to 5 people hopeful of continuing their post-secondary education. In case you didn't realize, also, David Banner is an alumni of Southern University, where he was the Student Government Association president while there. He has a semester remaining in completing his masters in education at the University of Maryland where his gpa was a 3.9987. Just so you all recognize there's more to him than talking about Mississippi.

More to come later, when I feel moved to do so.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Here is a great column on mainstream journalism and hip-hop culture (read: Black youth) by Amy Alexander. It once again relays the importance of "watchdogs" and the need for diversity in journalism, which includes editorials. Freedom of speech was endowed by this country's "founding fathers" but equality was denied by these same men. Only differences in treatment are much more subtle than they have been in the past.

I'm working on finishing up the semester, so my posts will be real spotty from this time till January. Despite this, like Bartles and James, back in the 80s, "We thank you for your support."

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

So apparently the Klan delivered a letter to the VP of University of Louisville demanding time to speak, complete with spelling errors. Before anyone emails me, I can't spell, but I make sure letters to school officials are correct!

Brian Battaglia has apologized publicly for the pictures on his website, while still acknowledging his right to freedom of expression.

Now that race relations are no longer a problem, we should all be better off ;) More interesting stuff later.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Here's a little update from two other campuses regarding race relations stuff.
Remember last year when Bank One hired some idiots to give away free tee-shirts with credit card applications? You know the ones that read, "10 reasons why a beer is better than a black man." Well this year, they put in big money to bring Sistah Souljah to speak for a diversity series, but now the heat is on the University of Louisville's administration to sponsor the Klan to speak. That's right, the Klan feels they need to present a balanced perspective ... shouldn't the Klan be petitioning Bank One, or maybe the firm that made the tee-shirts? I'm sure they'd be an ally.

In other Klan news, the chair of Penn State's College Republicans came under heat for posting pictures of a halloween party which featured party goers in Black face, mock Klan garb, and other offensive costumes. Brian Battaglia's personal page featured a number of pictures with one caption reading, "He took a break from cross burning to drink a cold one." Tiffanie Lewis, no relation to me, of the Black Caucus called for his resignation. Doesn't he know that the Republicans were the party of Lincoln ...?

Friday, December 05, 2003

I've been under the weather, so there haven't been any updates in the past few days, but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot to mention!

First, Nathaniel Jones' death was ruled a homicide by the Hamilton County coroner. Now the caveat is that the coroner says that Jones had a number of health problems that contributed to his death. Though he would not have died at that moment, the coroner urged people not to take this as a case of "hostile or malign behavior." Okay, I am way too fed up to even comment!

The Daily recently had another Diversity explosion! This week the Daily looked at the new bill HR 333, which seeks to have APIA communities listed as one of the minority groups that would recieve federal grants in higher education. To complement their reporting of HR 333, the Daily also ran Lauren Strayer's piece entitled, "Racism among friends." This piece was really pointless, but it keeps ringing in my head, well at least one question does. Why can't you tell your friend not to use the term oriental now?

Also, this week, NASA co-sponsored a program on secret socities, apparently the session got heated. Now isn't the term "bashed" a bit prejorative?

The Michigan Ballot Initiative is now upon us! Below you will find an email from Carl Cohen of the Residential College. Beneath his letter in bold is the proposed ballot intiative that will attempt to prohibit affrimative action, and yes that is the correct term, in the state of Michigan! Organized opposition has already begun. The struggle continues.
Colleagues and friends:

You will have noted that the battle over race preferences in
Michigan has begun. It is not a battle over affirmative action;
affirmative action, vigorous steps designed to extirpate all
discrimination by race and ethnicity, are untouched by the proposition
to be voted on. Ours is a country in which racism has penetrated very
deeply; one would be foolish indeed to suppose that there is no need to
continue the battle to uproot it. But that battle, in a decent society,
will certainly not involve the very discrimination that is to be
eliminated. The proposition on which the people of Michigan will vote in
2004 aims only to forbid all discrimination by the state and it
agencies, including the University of Michigan, and to forbid all
preference by race, color, ethnicity, or national origin.

If you come to believe that it is wise to oppose the Michigan Civil
Rights Initiative, that can only be because you believe that the State
or it agencies must be permitted to give preference by race, sex, or
ethnicity. I find it hard to believe that our university colleagues,
proud of the principle of equality that we universally profess, would on
reflection support such preference.

It is my belief that the people of Michigan, of every color and
kind, despise discrimination by race and national origin, and oppose any
preference granted to persons or groups on those invidious grounds. I
think, therefore, that this proposition, the Michigan Civil Rights
Initiative, will be adopted by the people of Michigan, overwhelmingly
and proudly, as Section 25 of Article I of the Michigan constitution.

To help our general understanding of what is at issue in this
matter, I include here an exact copy of the entire text of the
proposition that is to be on the ballot in the fall of 2004. The first
two sentences below comprise the whole of its substantive force. They
appear repetitive, but that is because the University of Michigan, like
some other public universities in Michigan, are constitutionally
autonomous. The complete text -- which I support with all my heart --


A proposal to amend the Constitution of the State of Michigan to
prohibit the University of Michigan and other state universities, the
State, and all other state entities from discriminating or granting
preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national

The proposal would amend the State constitution by adding a Section 25
to Article I.

Article I, Section 25

Civil Rights.
The University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State
University, and any other public college or university, community
college, or school district shall not discriminate against, or grant
preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race,
sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public
employment, public education, or public contracting.

The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential
treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color,
ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment,
public education, or public contracting.

For the purpose of this section “state” includes, but is not necessarily
limited to, the state itself, any city, county, public college or
university, community college, school district, or other political
subdivision or governmental instrumentality of or within the State of

This section does not affect any law or governmental action that does
not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national

This section does not prohibit action that must be taken to establish or
maintain eligibility for any federal program, if ineligibility would
result in loss of federal funds to the State.

Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting bona fide
qualifications based on sex that are reasonably necessary to the normal
operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.

The remedies available for violations of this section shall be the same,
regardless of the injured party’s race, color, religion, ethnicity, or
national origin, as are otherwise available for violations of Michigan’s
anti-discrimination law.

This section shall be self-executing. If any part or parts of this
section are found to be in conflict with the United States Constitution
or federal law, the section shall be implemented to the maximum extent
that the United States Constitution and federal law permit. Any
provision held invalid shall be severable from the remaining portions of
this section.

This section applies only to action taken after the effective date of
this section.

This section does not invalidate any court order or consent decree that
is in force as of the effective date of this section.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

"Can you relate? We living in a police state." -Dead Prez
Okay, there are way too many things going on the US around the police and communities of color that make me real concerned. Two recent events in particular. The first, is the beating of Nathaniel Jones last week. The tape has been made public and shows the struggle between Jones and Cincinatti officers. Jones' body has tested positive for narcotics. Many are asking, "is not really was the beating justified?" Rather the question is more about how much force is too much force?

The second issue with the police is the recent Supreme Court decision about the 20 second between knocking and door bashing. Okay, here's the rationale with drug suspects waiting longer than 20 seconds they can flush their product down the drain. Number 1, if police are going to kick down the door, wouldn't you imagine that the dealer would have more product than could be flushed in 20 seconds?

Aight, more local stuff later.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Guess who's bizzackl, nah it ain't Face or none of those cats, it's me. So I've been running around the country so I've mised a lot of local dish, but here is my recap of stuff that mattered for the past week and change and or should matter in the near future.
An agreement between the University and GEO has been reached. Below is the snippet of the official GEO statement:
Sisters and Brothers,

I write with the good news that last night we ratified a settlement
our health care grievance. Under this settlement:

1. GradCare premiums will NOT be increased in 2004.
2. GradCare Level 2 (for people away from Ann Arbor) will cover
maternity care.
3. People choosing other plans (MCare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, etc)
will pay the increased premiums previously established by the U.
4. Those who wish to change to GradCare may do so by submitting a new
enrollment form to Benefits by December 15.
5. People who miss this deadline, but still wish to switch, will
be able to up to March 1, 2004, by a still-to-be-determined method.

Complete information, and updates, will be available at the GEO website .

But in case you missed it Aubrey Henrietta published an editorial entitled, "The union that cried wolf: GEO’s fairy-tale folly." The editorial though short, definitely ruffled some feathers. Today's Daily features a battery of responses. They pretty much cover all the bases, but I was more amused by the editorial by Jon Ochemanek. If I wasn't lazy and the editorial was well thought out I would respond by complining figures on undergraduate debt and then projected accumulated debt in PhD programs, which most GSIs are and then we can discuss what the compensation is for with GSiing. Now it is one thing for someone to work to pay for school, but working there remain a large number of privleged students whose only job is it cover beer money. Doesn't Michigan teach critical thinking anymore?

Now onto stuff that actually matters:
This week is Aids in Black and Brown Week at University of Michigan. The event concentrates on HIV and AIDS in the Latino and Black communities. A full list of events in provided below here from the CAAS website.
Check out some of these events, they are designed for our communities and will enlighten us about what we need to do throughout the diaspora to get this deadly virus under control!

There are also a number of events that will likely be of interest to people including the following:
"History of Native Americans at the University of Michigan"

Tuesday, December 2nd
Angel Hall Aud C
This event features commentaries and information on U of M's secret societies such as Michigamua, Phoenix, and the Vulcans.

Congressman John Dingell will hold a community forum on Tuesday at 7pm. The event will be held from 7-9pm and will be in the Pendelton Room of the Union. It is sponsored by the Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace, The College
Democrats, and Anti-War Action.

On a national tip, Vanguard Media the company responsible for Savoy, Heart and Soul, and Honey filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy! This may not concern a lot of people but as far as magazines go these ones were pretty progressive and aimed at the expanding Black community concerned with health and upward mobility (for lack of a better term). The loss, or at best postponement of young good Black media, continues to occur.

And since I'm still stuffed on turkey from Turkey day I figured I'd include a commentary from Black Commentator on "Thanksgiving, " aka Thankstaking to some. It's a great long essay.
Aight, that's all for now!