Archive for the 'mainstream media' Category Page 3 of 3

The riots of Paris: a much abused community fights back

The riots in Paris, sparked by the deaths of two African teens and fueled by longstanding racism, xenophobia, and tensions, rage on. It is frightening to watch it happen through the lens of the media, and angering to know that little is likely to be done to address the real oppression, the real discrimination, the real problems at the root of the conflicts. Instead, I worry, the French government and people may respond with further xenophobia, racism, and police crackdowns on African youth and immigrant communities in general.

Black Looks, the blog of an African fem living in Spain, gives us rare, thorough, and nuanced account of the riots. She points out the problems of the portrayals in the blogosphere and the mainstream media of the riots and the communities involved. I highly recommend reading what she’s written, because it’s definitely given me a better understanding of what’s been going on, one that certainly cannot be found in the US mainstream media – when it decides to cover this at all. Two friends heard about the rioting only yesterday, and these are not people who try to avoid news coverage of this sort of thing.

Owukori of Black Looks also describes how the riots are being portrayed as being driven by Islamic fundamentalists, as is further discussed in this Reuters article. Because, obviously, every time a community that includes Muslims lashes out against injustice, it’s not because of the long oppression that they’ve endured, it’s because they’re crazy radical Islamists! Ugh. Is it so far fetched that a community so maligned might be driven to the edge, especially its youths? And even if some “Islamic fundamentalists” are involved, is it possible for people to reflect that Muslims might have very good reason to react with anger towards the French government and other Western governments? Instead, we’re left with governments, media and societies that immediately lump all Muslims together as “radicals” and “terrorists” driven by religious rage, not by rage against a system that works hard to marginalize, stigmatize, and discriminate against them.

Almost as an aside, I found this bit from the Reuters article to be striking:

Ahmed Hamidi, a white-bearded Moroccan electrician long resident in France, had no patience with politicians in Paris, which lies hardly an hour away but seems like another planet.

“All the politicians care about are laws for homosexuals and all those immoral things,” he fumed. “They are against headscarves, against beards and against the mosques.

First thought/gut reaction: ugh. Second thought: I can’t imagine that attitudes towards queer folks in certain communities are made any better when governments do right by them, but then don’t do right by those communities. Until all are free…

Ferrer, Bloomberg, and the “Puerto Rican Card”

From the New York Times this morning: The Mayor Tries to Trump His Opponent’s Puerto Rican Card

Reaching into a core constituency of his opponent, Fernando Ferrer, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg attended an East Harlem rally of cheering Latino supporters yesterday and said that he had received the endorsement of Jorge Santini-Padilla, the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Now, being a Puerto Rican New Yorker who is most definitely voting for Fernando Ferrer, this article really got on my nerves.

Let’s start with the title: “The Mayor Tries to Trump His Opponent’s Puerto Rican Card.” First off, can I just express my continued annoyance at the Card Phenomenon? In other words, the consistent use of phrases like “race card” and “Puerto Rican card” when discussing the attempts of politicians, be they white or people of color, to win the votes of people of color. When are we going to hear the mainstream media talking about the White Card that so many white candidates hold in their hands and play so easily? Oh, but wait, I forgot – white folks don’t have race. Race is what we talk about when we’re talking about people of color. Silly me.

Aside from the general annoyance of the phrase – how exactly does a white man trump a Puerto Rican man’s Puerto Rican Card? Has the support of some deluded Latino supporters and a few opportunistic Puerto Rican politicians suddenly transformed Bloomberg into a Boricua? Sorry, no.

And, let’s talk about these Puerto Rican politicians who have nothing better to do than to support a white man over a Puerto Rican man in the NYC mayoral elections. The NY Times article cites the mayor of San Juan, Jorge Santini-Padilla, and three nameless members of the P.R. House of Representatives as having endorsed Bloomberg.

Well, a bit of research on Santini-Padilla confirmed my immediate hunch – the man is a member of the Partido Nuevo Progesista (New Progressive Party) of Puerto Rico – the party that promotes and campaigns for full U.S. statehood for Puerto Rico. So to me, it’s no surprise that a man who is willing to sell out his people and his national identity by making our nation of Puerto Rico even more a possession of the United States, a man who is the mayor of one of the richer cities in a country with a poverty rate of 48.2%, would also be willing to shill for a white Republican mayor over a Puerto Rican Democrat who actually gives a damn about NYC’s Puerto Rican and poor people. Disappointing, yes, but not surprising in the least. Santini-Padilla may be Puerto Rican, but this Boricua could give a damn about what he thinks is best for the Puerto Rican people of NYC.

(As an aside, Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, the governor of Puerto Rico who has endorsed Ferrer, is a member of the Partido Popular Democrático (Popular Democratic Party), which is not so good as to endorse independence, but at doesn’t want things to go beyond the current commonwealth status.)