Archive for the 'mainstream media' Category

The women still in the race

Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente

For all the talk about the historic nature of the Clinton (woman!) and Obama (Black!) campaigns that’s gone on in the mainstream media for the past year, you might not have any idea that a third, equally unprecedented ticket was being run: Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente, the presidential and vice-presidential nominees of the Green Party. This is the first all women of color presidential ticket in the history of the United States. Now, I understand that a nomination’s historical importance and newsworthiness tends to be defined by the likelihood of its success – or, as is often the case, by the degree to which people decide to blame the Democratic party’s failures on the Greens. Yet one would hope that in between all of the celebrity gossip and other tripe that makes it onto the news regularly, the mainstream media would find a little more time to devote to a presidential ticket that is unique not only for its makeup but also for the platform it’s running on, a platform that offers a radically different choice from the rightly-named corporate parties that dominate the politics of this nation.

But predictably, the mainstream media has almost completely ignored the McKinney/Clemente ticket. When they won the Green nomination, there were a few articles here, a few news reports here, most of them focusing more on the candidates’ chances of being “spoilers” in the upcoming election rather than focusing on, you know, their positions or platform or qualifications, all of which the MSM apparently deems irrelevant. Most of what I’ve heard about McKinney and Clemente has come from the blogosphere, and even here, coverage is slim. The majority of the mentions I’ve seen have been about McKinney being a possible alternative vote for Clinton supporters who don’t want to vote for Obama, and even there, McKinney is discussed less often than John McCain as the alternate vote. Even on Feministe (if my memory and our search tool are working properly), McKinney’s candidacy hasn’t been mentioned in an actual post, only in the comments.

Now I get that this lack of coverage is to be expected, especially if you’re measuring a candidate’s importance or significance by their likelihood to win come November. McKinney and Clemente won’t be in the White House come January, and I’m sure they both understand that. However, the actual presidency is not the only thing at stake here, especially for the Greens and more generally for the future of third parties in this country. In an interview with Newsweek (subtitled “Will a third-party candidate be a ‘spoiler’?”), McKinney discusses another important and far more feasible goal (emphasis mine):

There are currently about 200 members of the Green Party who are elected officials. These are mostly local elections. The Green Party does not yet have representation on the federal level, but it’s quite a successful “minor” party. With 5 percent of the electorate, it can move from minor party status to major party status [and qualify the Green Party for federal funds]. So our goal is to get onto as many ballots as we can, since then achieving a 5 percent goal becomes possible. When I got to Washington D.C., I realized that public policy was made around the table. The 5 percent puts another seat at the table.

As Obama continues to hedge, flip-flop, and trend right on a variety of issues, and as McCain continues to be his usually sucky self, it becomes clearer and clearer that another seat at the table, a true alternative to corporate politics as usual, is desperately needed. And while even 5 percent of the vote is an uphill battle for McKinney, Clemente, and the rest of the Greens, it isn’t impossible. Such a victory would be huge, a major step in breaking this country away from the two-party system that time and time again shows itself to be severely lacking for people who believe in true peace and true justice.

But who’s gonna vote for them? Continue reading ‘The women still in the race’

Convictions overturned for 2 of the Newark 4

Free the New Jersey 4 Two of the four young Black lesbians who were convicted after defending themselves from a homophobic attack in 2007 have had their convictions overturned. From the New York Times article:

An appeals court on Thursday overturned the convictions of two women accused in the beating and stabbing of a man who they said made unwanted sexual advances to them in Greenwich Village two years ago.

One of the women, Terrain Dandridge, whom a jury found guilty of second-degree gang assault, had her conviction reversed and indictment dismissed; as a result she can no longer be tried on those charges. A four-judge panel of the Appellate Division in Manhattan ruled that there was not enough evidence to support a guilty verdict for Ms. Dandridge. She had been sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

The second woman, Renata Hill, who was found guilty of second-degree gang assault and third-degree assault, had her gang assault conviction vacated, but she can be retried on the charge. The court ruled that the judge’s instructions to the jury on the charge were erroneous and that therefore her conviction could not be upheld.

She was sentenced to eight years in prison, but if the Manhattan district attorney decides against further prosecution, she is likely to be released because the maximum penalty for the third-degree assault is a year and she has already been in prison longer than that.

Alexis Agathocleous, the lawyer who handled Ms. Hill’s appeal, said he was pleased and was hoping “that the district attorney’s office will also do the right thing and dismiss the remaining charge.”

The appeals for Patreese Johnson and Venice Brown are still pending, but let’s hope that they’re as or more successful than these. I also hope that, as Agathocleous says, the DA will do the right thing and drop these sham charges.

Kenyon Farrow and Jonathan Adams at Racewire both point out that in addition to the lawyers and families who have been working so hard to see justice done here, there are some awesome organizations that deserve hearty congratulations and continued support: FIERCE, Human Rights Watch, Liberation in Truth Unity Fellowship Church, and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project.

Also: while some elements of the NY media had a field day tearing these women apart when they were on trial, calling them things like “killer lesbians,” “a wolf pack of lesbians,” and a “seething sapphic septet,” they’ve been remarkably quiet about the overturned convictions so far. Funny, that. We should probably be thankful for that, though; one can only imagine what sort of fucked-up things they’d say if they did take up the story.

Edited to add: More info from the Free the NJ 4 blog. Their press release is definitely recommended reading.

cross-posted at Feministe

celebrating May Day, LAPD style

I’d heard about the police brutality at the immigration protests in LA, but I didn’t see this footage until today. It looks like a warzone. It is a warzone – the police vs the people. It’s horrifying.

Something striking about this particular footage – even Fox News (albeit a local affiliate) showed the truth in a “fair and balanced” way. The LAPD really fucked up this time, it seems, by not only attacking the protesters, but also brutalizing members of the media, who have the ability to put the story out there and who can’t be so easily written off as unruly protesters or “anarchists.” Who knows, maybe some change will come after this. Not holding my breath, though.

NY Post Follow-Up, Revisited

This post has changed since I originally posted it, after I was made aware of certain edits to my published NY Post letter; see below.

It’s been a busy few days, so I haven’t gotten to write much or respond to many comments. Over the next few days, I’m going to be catching up on those comments, especially those posted on my most recent post on gentrification, which has gotten quite a few.

The NY Post letter writing campaign has really taken off since Thursday, with many people sending in their letters and reposting it on their blogs. Thank you to everyone who’s participated and supported this effort.

As for the effects of our efforts, well, it’s not certain what those effects are or will be. the NY Post is notorious for its generally conservative slant and crappy treatment of topics related to oppression and discrimination, and I don’t think that the letters, numerous as they are, will really make them stop being transphobic. Nevertheless, I think that it’s important that we’ve hopefully made it clear to them that a whole lot of people think that transphobia is unacceptable, so much so that they’re willing to take time out to let the Post know. Who knows, maybe it actually will make some sort of difference to individual writers and editors there. Positive change can add up, even if it comes in small, slow steps.

A visible, public outcry is also important, whether or not it has an effect on the Post, as a show of solidarity with and support for Mariah Lopez and the wider trans and genderqueer community, and as a general condemnation of transphobic prejudice and discrimination.

The Post hasn’t published any of the letters, which is not surprising. They did publish a letter that I shot off earlier in the week, after reading the first article and before they published the even-worse editorial. But – and thanks to Holly for pointing this out – they edited my letter in such a fashion that it wound up coming off as fairly transphobic and disrespectful in and of itself.

When will The Post and its reporters learn to be respectful towards trans people?

Calling this woman a “wannabe” and a “he-she” is disgustingly disrespectful, not only to (old name here) “Mariah” Lopez, but to all trans people.

It’s not so hard to respect trans people – it’s a matter of a tiny bit of education and just being nice.

Would you rather try to sell newspapers through crude sensationalism or through respectful, decent journalism of actual substance and quality?

My original wording: “Calling this woman a ‘wannabe’ and a ‘he-she’ is disgustingly disrespectful, not only to her individually but to all trans people.”

I have no idea how I missed their change when I originally copied and pasted the letter to this blog. Using a trans person’s old name against their will, and putting their current, true name in quotation marks, as if to say it’s less valid or just a nickname, is just wrong for reasons that should be obvious. And the way they edited my letter makes it look like I did so on purpose. I don’t really know what to do about it; I just wrote an irate letter “strongly requesting” that they change the version on the website, but they say that they reserve the right to edit letters, so who knows if they’ll even pay attention.

Fuckers.

ACTION ALERT: Tell the NY Post to quit its transphobic “reporting”

3/2/07 Update: I’ve been kind of busy since posting this, so I wanted to post a quick thank you to everyone who’s written to the Post, and to everyone who’s reposted this. I didn’t expect such a great and large response, and it’s wonderful. Please keep reposting!

NOTE TO OTHER BLOGGERS: Please link to or repost this!

An important victory was recently won in the struggle for trans rights, specifically around health care. Judge Sheldon Rand of the Manhattan Family Court found, for the second time, that the City of New York is obligated to pay for the sexual reassignment surgery of Mariah Lopez, a young trans woman of color who was denied this important and necessary medical care while in the care of the NYC foster system. The City is constitutionally required to provide adequate medical coverage for all children in its care, and SRS is a medically approved procedure, one that is often necessary for trans people. In the decision, Judge Rand wrote: “Mariah L. should be treated in order that she may go on with her life and be in a body which blends with the gender with which she identifies.”*

Fortunately, Judge Rand was far more understanding and respectful than most of the media coverage, which has ranged from iffy to downright disgusting. (This article from PinkNews.co.uk is the most respectful one I’ve found thus far.)

Worst of all has been the coverage from the New York Post. Now, anyone who’s familiar with this sorry excuse for a newspaper should know that it’s usually chock full of shoddy, sensationalist, decidedly conservative-leaning rubbish that they attempt to pass off as journalism, so racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia are all par for the course. But the two pieces that they’ve run on this story – an “article” entitled “Free To Be He-She” and the even worse editorial, “Justice Isn’t That Blind” – are really just awful and enraging. Not only are the articles thoroughly transphobic, but the editorial also falsely paints her as a “sociopath” due to her criminal record, completely ignoring her history of activism and community service and the fact that she and other trans women of color are targeted and abused by the NYPD (see Holly’s comment on this post for more.)

The New York Post needs to be sent a strong message: quit the transphobic “reporting”! Show some respect, some decency, and some attention to journalistic standards.

I ask all of you to join me in writing to the Post and giving them a piece of your mind. Below is a letter to the Post. You can copy and paste it as is, or you can add your own touches to it or write something completely new. Whichever one you choose, send it to letters@nypost.com and janon.fisher@nypost.com (the writer of the first article.) (It would be great if you also commented here, so I can get a gauge of how many emails they’re getting.)

***START OF EMAIL – START COPYING HERE***

SUBJECT: NY Post: Quit the Transphobic Reporting!

I was angered by the Post’s coverage of the recent Manhattan Family Court decision in favor of Mariah Lopez (“Free to be he-she,” February 25, and “Justice isn’t that blind,” February 27). Both articles were deeply disrespectful of Ms. Lopez’s gender identity. By referring to her as a “he-she,” a “wannabe woman,” and, in the editorial, using her old name and incorrect pronouns in direct violation of AP style guidelines, the Post has clearly demonstrated that it is more interested in playing to societal prejudice towards transgender people than in following good journalistic practices and treating trans people with the respect that they deserve.

Additionally, the articles’ sensational treatment of this story ignored the fact that the ACS is required by law to provide medically-approved treatment to children under its care, and that Ms. Lopez was indeed a child under the care of the ACS when she initially sought transgender health care, including sexual reassignment surgery. Ms. Lopez was denied access to a necessary treatment that is widely approved by the medical community. Judge Rand’s decision will hopefully ensure that no other child, trans or not, will be denied treatment in the future simply due to prejudice.

YOUR NAME HERE
YOUR CITY HERE

***END OF EMAIL – STOP COPYING HERE***

* Partly in anticipation of certain questions, I’d like to clarify that I don’t believe that SRS is always a necessary part of a trans person’s transition. Transition can mean all sorts of things, many of which are not medical or surgical; it’s all about what one feels is right for them. I think it’s important, actually, to get away from a medicalization of trans-ness, because that often leads to people passing judgment on who’s “really” or “fully” trans or not based on their medical history. Which is, of course, complete bullshit, given that not everyone chooses – or can afford or access – the same treatment.

Tancredo’s platform: too many Mexicans, and Blacks who identify as Blacks

On Monday morning, I was listening to the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC while getting ready for work. Lehrer was interviewing Tom Tancredo, a Republican representative in the House from Colorado who is planning on running for the presidency. Now, this guy is a real gem; his recent antics include singing Dixie at a Confederate-flag-displaying barbecue organized by the South Carolina League of the South, which is classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. The barbecue was a fundraiser for Tancredo’s non-profit coalition, “Americans Have Had Enough!” (Enough immigrants, Mexicans, or brown people, I’m guessing.)

So, his newest crusade is unsurprising: he’s calling for the abolition of the congressional Black and Hispanic caucuses. From the interview (which you can listen to in its entirety :

TANCREDO: I do not believe that there should be a Black caucus, I do not believe that there should be a caucus based on race. The Black caucus, Hispanic caucus – these are not things that the Congress of the United States ought to provide finances for, ought to have as a formal part of the House of Representatives, which these are; and, which send a horrible message I think again about how we are split up on racial lines and that’s exactly where we should not be going. What would happen, I wonder, if anyone was to suggest the creation of a white caucus. I mean, certainly they would be roundly criticized and rightly so, for being racist.

LEHRER: Well, do you think that those are moral equivalents, a white caucus and a Black caucus, given American history?

TANCREDO: I absolutely believe they are, when you have, uh… The issue is surrounding the concept of a race-based, formally organized and formally approved part of the congress of the United States. That is, I think, sending a horrible message.

Right. Because Black folks and other people of color don’t need to gather and work together as a result of racism. It’s actually the other way around: things are all messed up because they’re sending the wrong message. If they’d just stop sending the wrong message, then poof, racism and racial divides in this country would disappear! White people, of course, have nothing to do with it. Didn’t you know?

The interview continues, and at some point Lehrer asks:

LEHRER: So the two issues you’ve picked your most public fights on as a presidential candidate so far are too many Mexicans, if we can call the immigration, the illegal immigration question that –

TANCREDO: You can’t.

LEHRER: – I’ll let you respond to that; and Blacks who identify as Blacks. So should I conclude that too much Black and Latino power at the expense of whites are your two major concerns?

Bullseye, Brian. Tancredo predictably chuckles this off and delivers some manure-laden line about how of course this is not the case. But Lehrer, about whom I generally have mixed feelings, had me saying, “You go, white boy!” with that zinger.

Barack Obama: SECRET MUSLIM (gasp!)

Like me, many of you probably expected that CNN’s little Where’s Obama “accident” was only a hint of things to come. Well, far be it from Fox to disappoint on this count. From ThinkProgress: Fox & Friends aired a segment on Senator Barack Obama, focusing on his supposedly hidden Muslim background. Ignoring the fact that writing about said background in both of his books is basically the opposite of hiding, the anchors and their callers proceed to question whether this past is “ancient history,” or if it matters – apparently, in a way that would make him unsuitable for the presidency.

From the segment transcript:

DOOCY: Why didn’t anybody ever mention that that man right there was raised — spent the first decade of his life, raised by his Muslim father — as a Muslim and was educated in a madrassa?

[snip]

DOOCY: We should also point out that Barack Obama’s father is the one who gave him the middle name of Hussein. And the thing about the madrassa, and you know, let’s just be honest about this, in the last number of years, madrassas have been, we’ve learned a lot about them, financed by Saudis, they teach this Wahhabism which pretty much hates us. The big question is was that on the curriculum back then? Probably not, but it was a madrassa and the big question is whether or not any of these revelations about the fact that he was a Muslim — right now I understand he does go to the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, although not a regular parishioner — but raised as a Muslim, went to a madrassa.

And some brilliant insights from callers:

CALLER: I think that ultimately this will probably be one of the main reasons is he not elected.

DOOCY: Just the fact that his father was a Muslim, he was raised as a Muslim for awhile, and went to a madrassa school in Jakarta?

CALLER: Right. I mean, you think that would possibly give him better insight on the enemy, maybe he doesn’t consider terrorists the enemy.

[snip]

CALLER: I think a Muslim would be fine in the presidency, better than Hillary. At least you know what the Muslims are up to. [Laughter]

But wait – Gretchen Carlson wants to reassure us that this isn’t about being anti-Muslim; no, not at all:

CARLSON: We want to be clear, too, that this isn’t all Muslims, of course, we would only be concerned about the kind that want to blow us up.

Oh, all right. Only those kinds of Muslims. Thanks for clarifying, Gretchen, I feel a lot better now.

good words on racism from a white person

Yes, it does happen, folks – there are quite a few white folks out there in the mainstream media who have their heads on right and can talk good on racism. Here’s a great example – Alfred Lubrano, columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. In two recent columns, he takes on the topic of racism. In the first, he reflects on the insidious nature of racism today:

Meantime, just because you don’t say the n-word doesn’t mean you’ve fixed the problem. Bias lives in all of us. And we can’t let our good intentions deceive us into thinking we’re handling race well.

He does think that there can be “truly unprejudiced people” who get that way through a life of “positive interracial experiences.” I don’t share that belief; call me a cynic, but to paraphrase the Avenue Q song of which I have never actually heard more than the first line, everyone’s a little bit prejudiced. But still, good stuff.

He got lots of angry letters after that column, many of which demanded to know why he didn’t also call out “black racism.” In a second column entitled “Listen up, white folks: your racism cuts deeper,” he responds:

America is a white-majority country. When one group has substantially more power than all others, its biases, prejudices, and mouth filth matter more.

And if whites possess the keys to the White House, the executive suite, the law firm, the construction company – not to mention the gun lockers in the police stations – then what they think about black people has greater weight and consequence than what black people think about them…

… lots more black people than whites have endured systemic, organized violence in this country. And my ancestors walked off the boats that brought them here unchained.

Refreshing, and a good addition to my little collection of “Racism 101″ writings. Speaking of which, I’ve been planning to create a section on my site that collects such materials on racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other such things; if anyone has good suggestions of things to include, please share!

Many thanks to kristiangrrl over on the debunkingwhite Livejournal community for the heads up to the articles.

“innate charm,” my ass.

A letter I’ve written to Time Out NY in response to a recent article about finding apartments in NYC:

The low-income people of color and immigrants who live in “on-the-verge nabes” (“Apartments 2006,” TONY 552) are being pushed out of these “hot” neighborhoods by a wave of gentrification that TONY seems to be endorsing. The article speaks of neighborhoods like Bushwick being “widely discovered”; however, just as with the “discovery” of the Americas by white Europeans, there are already people there. Your article completely ignores the negative impact that gentrification has on these residents, focusing only on the self-interest of people who can afford the ever-rising rents. While these neighborhoods may seem affordable to some, they are rapidly becoming too expensive for their current residents, who are forced out to make room for the relatively wealthier swarms searching for a good deal.

The “innate charm” of such neighborhoods fades when contrasted with the harsh realities of life for many current residents. Bushwick has some of the highest poverty and unemployment rates in the city, as well as sub-par and landlord-neglected housing. Innate charm, indeed.

The background:

My girlfriend and I subscribe to Time Out NY; I’m not really sure why, given that we barely ever make it to any of the events that they list, nor can we afford to dine at many of the restaurants that they review. It can be good for movie reviews, though. Anyhow – this week’s issue arrived and the cover announced the Apartments 2006 feature; one of the blocks of text read something about giving the scoop on five “on-the-verge” neighborhoods where one could get great deals. Immediately, I knew this couldn’t be good. I flipped open to the article and, lo and behold, those five neighborhoods were much what I expected them to be: East Harlem, Bushwick, Sunset Park, Inwood, and Hunter’s Point. Aside from the last neighborhood (which is in Queens, and I know very little about Queens), I know that all of these areas are populated largely, if not primarily, by low-income people of color, many of whom are Latinos, many of whom are immigrants.

The language used to speak of these neighborhoods was classic, a thorough embracement of gentrification, quite reminiscent of colonialism. Here’s some gems:

About Inwood: “Another gentrification indicator: the emergence of a visible gay population.” Right. Because gentrification by (white) queers is GRRRRRREAT! I mean, they actually speak about gentrification by a “gay population” as a good thing! And, of course, there wasn’t a visible gay population there before, because visibly gay means white and gay, not Latino and gay (unless, you know, there were absolutely no queers living in Inwood before white people moved in.)

About Bushwick: “…or that sit next to hot spots, like Williamsburg’s neighbor to the east, Bushwick (this one’s been widely discovered, so move fast).” Oh yeah, discovered – kind of like america was discovered when the white Europeans arrived, right? Because you can’t fucking discover something if there’s already people there. Back then, it was the Native people who got robbed; now, it’s Latino immigrants who are getting pushed out. Different brown folks, same white folks, same mentality, similar effects.

Also about Bushwick: “By now you’ve surely heard the hype, but even a “Sunday Styles” article can’t spoil this Brooklyn area’s innate charm. Besides the giant lofts that can hold a bunch of friends (and their turntables), there’s more traditional housing stock to be had. Near the Jefferson Street stop on the L, you’ll find industrial infrastructure and family houses—a mix that adds up to a pretty cool vibe (though the area definitely still has dangerous pockets).”

Un-fucking-believable. Has the writer ever been to Bushwick, aside from dashing between one of the L stops and their hipster friends’ lofts – because who else are they talking about with those turntables? Does the writer know anything about Bushwick besides the fact that it’s “cheap” and near Williamsburg? I bet they don’t know these facts about Bushwick, lifted directly from the website of Make the Road By Walking, an awesome organization based in the neighborhood:

  • Over 40 percent of Bushwick residents live below the poverty level, and almost 40 percent rely on means-tested government benefits.
  • Median family income in Bushwick is less than half the national average while the official unemployment rate in Bushwick is over 10 percent, which is more than double the national rate.
  • The percentage of children born into poverty in Bushwick is 75.8 percent, the highest rate in Brooklyn. (as I copied and pasted this statistic I started crying)
  • the high school dropout rate in Bushwick is close to 70 percent.
  • Sixty-five percent of the community is Latino and almost half of these Latinos are legal permanent residents who cannot vote.
  • Bushwick’s housing stock comprises many old and deteriorated buildings, mainly tenements with absentee landlords or tax-foreclosed properties owned by the City. These buildings are contaminated with lead paint, and lead paint violations number 64.4 per thousand children, twice the Brooklyn average.

I lived in Bushwick for two years before moving to my current neighborhood in Brooklyn. And while living there, I agonized about the gentrification that I could see happening around me. Over those two years, I saw more and more white hipsters getting off the L train alongside me and scurrying to and from their lofts. Let me tell you, I saw far more white people within a one block radius of the subway stop than I ever did just a couple more blocks into the neighborhood, as if they were afraid to venture any deeper. And you almost never saw them in the local supermarket right across the street from the lofts, either; most often, they were toting their Whole Foods bags from Manhattan. The more of them I saw getting off at Dekalb over time, the madder I got.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I don’t absolve myself, either. Sure, I’m Latina, as was my roommate at the time. But we were both also college-educated U.S. citizens with white-collar jobs, and no matter what our race or class backgrounds or how little extra money we had, those things made us decidedly more privileged than many of the people in the neighborhood. Our privilege was ultimately most evident in our move out of the neighborhood, both of us to more expensive apartments in “nicer” (read: less poor, lower crime rates, prettier) areas. That’s an option that most of our neighbors didn’t have. Despite the obstacles we face because of our race, our genders, our sexualities, we were both upwardly-mobile in a way that most of our neighbors were not. We left Bushwick for greener pastures; if these folks move out of Bushwick, many of them will have been forced out by rising rents, and many of their destinations will not be any greener.

My roommate and I spent a whole lot of time seething over the very visible evidence of gentrification in our neighborhood. When it’s white folks moving into a primarily POC neighborhood, it can look and feel very much like an invasion, all these white faces popping up where you used to only see brown ones. But we also spent possibly an equal amount of time thinking and talking about our own participation in the gentrification of Bushwick, and how to be more accountable for that culpability. I was as guilty of shopping at Whole Foods as those white hipsters, but I also knew that supporting local businesses was important and tried to shop in the local supermarkets as much as possible. When my white girlfriend moved in with me for a while, I felt intense guilt and inner conflict about basically bringing yet another white person into the neighborhood.

And you know what pissed me off the most? My roommate and I, neither of us being white, neither of us being rich, thought about this shit all the time, and did what little we could about it. But how many of those young white hipsters we saw moving in spent a fucking second worrying about what negative impact they might be having on the community? Did they even have a moment’s hesitation before signing those leases on those “amazingly cheap” lofts they were moving into? Did they try to find out more about their darker-skinned, poorer neighbors, about what they were facing in the neighborhood, about what they could do to somehow help and somehow try to lessen the impact of their own presence? Probably not. That was the kicker. But that’s always the case, isn’t it – people who have less privilege, who experience more oppression on a first-hand basis, are always going to think more, care more, and do more about the oppression of others than folks who don’t experience very much oppression at all.

I know that there are no easy answers here. I know that gentrification seems to sweep across the city like an unstoppable wave. I know that rents in NYC are fucking insane, and that many of those young white folks I saw moving into Bushwick probably don’t have a whole bunch of extra money to spend on rent. But it’s this attitude of entitlement, of selfishness, of ignorance and blindness to what’s happening to people around you, of making up excuses to save a little money – that’s what really pisses me off. I know it can be hard to find affordable housing in NYC. But can you at least try to move somewhere where you won’t be pushing people of color and poor folks out, instead of jumping at the next hot deal? And if you absolutely have to move there, can you at least try to do something to lessen the blow or to work for the people living in the neighborhood? At the very least, can you acknoweldge that you and your ilk are probably screwing a whole lot of people over? Is that too much to ask?

We’re sure he’ll do a helluva job

Bush has named Scott McClelland’s replacement as White House press secretary: FOX News Radio host Tony Snow.

I’m too tired and my brain is too Linux-addled to write much, but this really seems to me like the final consummation of the unholiest of unions after a rather long engagement. As Jon Stewart said when Snow’s selection was only a rumor: “In other words, the White House is considering paying a Fox News reporter to tell the public what they want the public to hear. I hope he’s up to the job.”

Edited to add: Ah, false alarm, folks. This guy is no Bush lackey; in fact, he’s a Bush critic! I’m sure he’ll bring that fair and balanced viewpoint for which Fox is so famous to his new job – because remember, he’s been reassured that he’ll not only be the White House spokesperson, but he’ll also be actively involved in shaping White House policy. (Whew, aren’t you relieved to hear that? I certainly am!) He’ll now get to personally deliver critiques like this to the President on a regular basis:

“His wavering conservatism has become an active concern among Republicans, who wish he would stop cowering under the bed and start fighting back . . . ,” Mr Snow wrote last November after Republicans failed to win the governor’s race in Virginia. “The newly passive George Bush has become something of an embarrassment.”

A press secretary and, apparently, policy advisor who’s even farther to the right than Bush? Just what we needed.

And another edit to add: Lest you wonder whether Snow has a shred of decent race politics: a couple of years back he declared on Fox News Sunday that racism is no longer a big deal. Another one of those memos that I must not have gotten! And in his free time, Snow also enjoys bashing Kwanzaa and slandering African people as a whole in columns that are later featured on the websites of white supremacist groups. What a gem!