Friday, September 26, 2003

So I'm gonna go international to national to local, let's go!
Yesterday, Amina Lawal's sentence on death by stoning was overturned!!! While the reasons for the overturn are not the greatest, it is good to see her go free and able to continue her life!

Nationally, there is a really ... strange collaboration between the WWE (formally the WWF) and Russell Simmons' Hip Hop Summit Action Network.They are teaming up to do a voter registration drive! The campaign, "2 million more in 2004," will pair the two entertainment giants to attempt to get voters in the 18-30 bracket out to vote. I guess it could be good ;)

Locally, Dustin Seibert's editorial in yesterday's Michigan Daily illuminates the incorrect information in Jim Trout's editorial. Of course, in traditional Dustin style, he gets a couple of jabs in at the general population. Here's one of my favorite excerpts

Though (hopefully) all of the upperclassmen of the University know that Trout's son didn't know what the bloody hell he was talking about when he made that glaring, obviously uneducated mistake in telling that to his dad, I can still imagine some encouragable freshman with a snot bubble coming out of his nose reading the response and jumping to that ridiculous conclusion that there would actually be a lounge in a University reserved exclusively for one ethnicity.

Tomorrow, leaders within the the Black community will convene to further discuss the state of Black folks at U of M.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Today's Daily runs an editorial by a number of White U of M students that challenges Johanna Hanink's editorial (9/22/03) and its unwitting espousal of white privilege. Now what are the chances this is the only anti-Hanink letter? Does the editorial desk have a policy about inclusion of pieces from a diversity of perspectives?

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Cali folks, you're voting on October 7th, again! The ninth court of appeals just ruled that the recall election and Prop 54 will be voted on the 7th as originally planned. With that said, once again, the absentee ballot information for Cali folks can be found here!
In the world of higher education, it is always amazes me how vocal and informative people can be. It is more amazing how vocal and wrong people can be. A perfect case is an editorial by U of M alum parent- Jim Trout. The letter states,
" We strolled thru his dorm and came to a large, nicely decorated room labeled "African-American Lounge." I asked my son if anyone else was welcome there. He told me that the lounge was only for African Americans, thus the sign."
Let me say, I am really impressed that Jim Trout would have such a memory of the lounge that exists in South Quad, also known as the Ambatanaa Lounge, but I am saddened to realize that for 13 years (his son graduated in 94) he has carried the incorrect information that this lounge, notably that is for only African-American students. Find out what these lounges are really about here.

Monday, September 22, 2003

When it rains, it pours (literally today). The Ann Arbor news highlights a poll by WDIV and Mitchell Polls that suggest 52% of people polled favor a ban on affirmative action in the state of Michigan.Unfortunately, I cannot find the original article online right now, but when I find it I'll post it later with more details. The article does not give the original question, nor the margin of error, which would be 2 good things to provide. Just food for thought!
Update: Still didn't find the Ann Arbor News story, but I was kindly forwarded the Detroit News story. The story outlines that there were 600 respondents for the state, which is pretty small sample size and the margin of error is 4%, which essentially means the results are basically a wash. This story also doesn't give the exact question, Carol Swain in America Becoming gives a detailed analysis of why survey question wording has a dramatic effect on responses with questions about Affirmative Action. Also, these polls are conducted with people's gut feelings, to take this as predictive of voting patterns would suggest that lobbying and information campaigns have no effect.
Have you ever heard the expression, "Who pissed in your Cheerios?" This morning Johanna Hanink of the Michigan Daily pissed in my and every other person of color's Cheerios! Early yesterday morning, about 1am, I was thrilled to announce that the Daily had placed it bylaws online. Now at 8:30 this morning, I am greeted with a column entitled 'Members-only' diversity. The column, in a nutshell indicts "minorities" for being exclusive and provides incorrect examples of exclusion of Whites allegedly perpetrated by "minorities" at U of M. She offers her own challenge,

As a white-as-white-can-be student who can date her European ancestors' arrival in the United States to the 1690s, it is admittedly difficult sometimes - and very probably impossible - to always fully understand what is at stake in students of color's issues. This doesn't mean that I don't want to or don't try - I want an explanation. If you have one, please send it."

So, what are we/you gonna say?? Still think it doesn't involve you?
****Note: The Daily's site seems to be pretty slow right now. You can also try to get to it directly via the Daily's homepage, but I'm not sure if that will help.****
I am not 100% sure that this is completely new, but the Michigan Daily has finally placed their bylaws online! I recall on September 4th, Rob Goodspeed challenged readers to locate an "ethics policy" on the Daily's website. Click here to take the "Goodspeed Challenge." No really, go back and take the goodspeed challenge! A newspaper's code of ethics governs many important things that newspaper staffers can and cannot engage in. Now that you've taken the GS challenge and read different codes of ethics, doesn't the Daily's current ethics policy appear rather thin? More on why this is important later!

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Apologies on my absence, now let's go intenational to local.. feel me?

On the international tip, This week Amina Lawal's sentence of stoning, will come before a Nigerian court. If you don't know Amina's case, you need to find out about it. Don't forget our sistahs!

In Michigan, presidential politics are a hot topic! A new poll by Detroit News/Local 4. and Mitchell Poll find that, albeit by a neglible margin, more folks in Michigan want Bush out of office than in. As a sociologist, these poll results are really weak, but nonetheless, they do demonstrate that a large number of folks are looking critically about Bush. The Detroit News also ran a syndicated story on the Congressional Black Caucus' trouble gaining political sway in this neo-conservative era.

The ground breaking for the new Policy building doesn't really interest me, that's why I didnt' go. But I was intersted by the Ann Arbor News story which highlighted that Gerald R. Ford played football with an African-American...
"Ford had stood by an African-American football player, Willis Ward, when the two played for Michigan in the early 1930s and a Southern team resisted playing U-M because the team had a black player.
Ford said that the association had made an indelible impression on him, and said that Ward became a close friend and went on to a distinguished career as a state judge."

Doesn't that just warm your heart... U of M has always embraced diversity ;)

On Tuesday, the 23rd, a rather interesting collaborative protest will be occuring at Wayne State. The event, is a call to protest attacks on people of color in Benton Harbor and Palestine. The protest is set to happen at noon in Gullen Mall and there will be a teach in at 6pm in Bernath Auditorium. The event is co-hosted by the NAACP--Wayne State Chapter and Students' Movement for Justice. It's few and far between that international and local struggles come together.

As mentioned on my last posting, the recall election in Cali that features Prop 54 has been moved. But the vote will happen later, so if you're from Cali make sure your absentee ballot stuff is straight. California absentee ballot information is available online here. Big shout out to folks of color in Social Work for hooking people up with this info. Make sure your voice is heard!

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

So much to comment on, we'll go local to national... alright, here we go.

This past weekend, various student leaders from the U of M African-American community were convened to discuss the state of Black U of M, more of less. The meeting was well attended, but to garner more representation, a meeting for September 27th from 10 to 1pm has been scheduled. If you represent a Black org or are a concerned Black citizen, this will be a great meeting. Check back for more details later.

I've gotten a number of questions about the boycott of Coors that is now being pushed by BAMN. The long and the short of it is this, Coors is evil... well who their monetary contributions have gone to is pretty evil. Joseph Coors was one of the charter funders of The Heritage foundation, a conservative foundation, which funds most attacks on any progressive measures. For years, the LGBT community and other like minded communities have called for a boycott of COORS. In particular, the COORS connection to Affirmative Action is through their funding of anti-Affirmative Action activists. For an amazingly detailed break-down of how the conservatives have systemtically attacked racial and gender justice check out
The Assault on Diversity.

Speaking of social justice, the local college chapter of the NAACP is holding a mass meeting on Wednesday at 8pm. Pop Quiz: Do you know the difference between the NAACP and the BSU ... well if you don't, go and find out!

That same night, U of M will be sponsoring a panel on Affirmative Action moderated by Mark Kamimura, former SCOR president. The panel entitled, "The Affirmative Action Rulings: How they will impact our campus," will feature Marvin Krislov, Lester Monts, Theodre Spencer, Patricial Gurin, and Terrence McDonald. The panel will be held in the Michigan League Ballroom at 7:30pm on the 17th. The panel participants are all very well informed on the issue, this should answer a number of questions for people, and provide the basis for more indepth and accurate questions on Affirmative Action and this campus.

The Black Student Union will have its first meeting on Thursday night at 6pm in the Trotter House! Come check that out!

Okay, now to the national front. The California Recall election will likely not occur on the October 7th, it will likely be postponed to March. So you may be wondering, why does this matter? Well, more important to frequenters of this page is Proposition 54, aka CRENO, will be voted on the same day as the recall. If you don't know about Prop 54 check the above link and my political corner. Some experts suggest this delay will allow more people of color to become informed about the truly terrible nature of Prop 54. Also, for all my Cali folks, the Trotter House is setting up a absentee ballot station for you all, when I get more details, I'll put them up!

As the tempatures begin to cool down, the race for Democratic presidential nod seems to heat up. Last week's debate at Morgan State University, the first ever at an HBCU has really ignited discussion about the role of the Black vote. There are two really interesting commentaries on Howard Dean and his relationship to Black voters and his chances of winning the actual 2004 election. Black vote is a powerful thing to throw away!

More to come later!

Friday, September 12, 2003

Yesterday was also the release of the special inaugural edition of Moment, a new alternative progressive publication for the U of M, Ann Arbor, and Ypsi area. The paper is distributed throughout U of M's campus and local progressive hotbeds, pick up a copy and read it. Oh, and a shameless personal plug, I have an article that I co-authored with Rupal Patel in this issue about Affirmative Action and immigrant rights.

In news of the surreal, after months of requests, doors painted with "colored" signs were painted over in Pampa, Texas. The signs were re-painted as part of a restoration project for the courthouse which it sits in, but remained up for months despite requests for their removal.
Yesterday marked the second anniversary of the September 11th, 2001. There were a number of events around campus to commemorate the infamous date. One unscheduled, but controversial event, were chalking on the Diag that connected Democrats and terrorism. Ignorance only breeds more ignorance.

A one of a kind film on Black firefighters who died on 9-11-01 was premiered in NY. Often the loss of non-White lives is forgotten. Especially after the controversy around the statue of the three firefighters raising the US flag at ground zero.

There is an interesting opinion piece in the NY times today about the relationship between African-Americans and American Indians. The piece suggests that the close ties between the two groups have been ignored, especially by American Indians. Give it a read, an interesting perspective that I had never been exposed to.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

The author of the Divine Nine, Lawrence C. Ross Jr. penned an editorial to against hazing. This is nothing new, but the editorial argues that hazing and pledging are like smoke and fire, as the old metaphor goes! Pretty controversial response to an earlier editorial which is linked in the articled. This is must read for Black Greeks or anyone interested in Black Greeks.
This past week, Black Commentator ran an interesting column on Black immigrant deportation. I have to admit, if the figures are right in this column, I had NO IDEA that Black immigrant rights were in such serious jeopardy! The article also nicely breaks down the false dichtomy between social justice (for Blacks) and immigrant rights (for Brown folks).

Also, if you get a chance, on September 13th, check of the new New Chinatown mural unveiling in Detroit at the corners of Cass and Peterboro. The event will occur at the On Leong building at 425 Peterboro from 1pm to 5pm.
I found a rather amusing AP story that talks about White Democratic presidential candidates and their discussion of race and civil rights. Presidential hopeful Dean suggested he was the only White candidate to talk race to White audiences, to which the other White Dem candidates objected! I personally love how two of three candidates discussion of race alludes to race in the past, while not mentioning the present. The third candidate "urges racial tolerance." So is this supposed to convince us that Dems really are addressing people of color issues, or is it supposed to demonstrate that Dems know people of color exist?

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

And the new school year has officially started, so with great remorse I have to look at the Michigan Daily. Maybe this year we can get the even reporting of race in all crime reports. I see the story from today mentions the race of the assailants, per usual. What's that fresh morning scent? Could it be the aroma of racial profiling brewing around U of M? Maybe we'll get some really nice non-descript sketches of Black men as suspects hanging up aroud campus again this year!
Note: To view many of the articles that I link to require a subscription (for example-the NY times). Subscriptions are free, so just sign up and you can always have access to their newspaper!
Last night, I was able to attend a HEADS meeting that discussed Bush, the US, and foreign policy towards Africa. It was exteremely interesting, one thing considered was Bush's request for 87 billion to fund "the efforts" in Iraq and Afghanistan versus his underfunding of education in the US. As we think about education and foreign policy, I thought this article on Ghanians sending their children back to Africa to be schooled is very an interesting commentary on US schools.

On the education thing, today, from 6-7pm President Mary Sue Coleman will address Second Baptist of Ann Arbor on Affirmative Action. For those who don't know, Second Baptist in Ann Arbor is one of the oldest and most signficant African-American churches in the area. I am sure there will be interesting discussions and engagement from local activists and leaders in the Ann Arbor community.

And if you happened to have missed the announcement, here is an Ann Arbor News story on the new admissions process. Also check my political section for more info and commentary. Also, the Ann Arbor News ran a story on UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunity) as a case of outreach programs that have historically targeted underrepresented groups, but are under more scrutiny in the era of attacks on diversity.

And in Cali, Wardell (he likes to go by Ward) Connerly is feeling pressure around the Proposition 54 (racial privacy initiative). This LCCR article discusses why his confidence in affecting public opinion has wained as October 7th nears.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Well, it's finally here The site right now is up, but it's not "public." By visiting right now it's like going to a business that is open, but hasn't had it's grand opening, feel me? Which means if you find issues with the page, make sure to drop me an email. I'll be updating the blog tonight and tomorrow, so in the meantime surf the general site! Peace