Archive for the 'politics/government' Category Page 3 of 7

Spitzer’s governorship in jeopardy, but what about reproductive rights in NY State?

So, as I’m sure everyone and their mother has already heard by now if they’ve been anywhere near a television or the Internet in the past 24 hours, NY governor Eliot Spitzer has been linked to a prostitution ring. He issued a televised apology to his family and the public on Monday, his wife standing at his side. Talk of a probable resignation is everywhere, and given his already embattled tenure as governor, it doesn’t look like he’ll last long.

Spitzer’s administration has been something of a disappointment, and he is just another fairly mainstream Democrat with the usual spate of disagreeable stances, but I still feel some regret and frustration that he’s gone and committed political suicide in such a royally stupid way. For all of his many shortcomings, he exhibited some glimmers of true progressiveness that I appreciated: his support for gay marriage (even though it was mostly a big old show given that his proposal was dead in the water and he had to know it would be), his push for drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants (though the plan had major flaws and, again, failed.) OK, so maybe for the most part Spitzer talked some good talk and tripped over his own feet when he attempted to walk the walk, but still, this was more than what we get from most elected officials these days.

Another one of Spitzer’s good ideas happened to be front and center on Monday – until the scandal broke, that is. March 10 is the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers (who knew?), and the annual conference of the Family Planning Advocates of New York State convened in Albany. Governor Spitzer was scheduled to address the conference on Monday morning, in part to speak on the Reproductive Health and Privacy Protection Act, a bill that he introduced into the NY State Legislature last year and had declared a legislative priority for 2008. The bill declares that abortion is a fundamental right for women and would protect women’s right to safe, legal abortions even if the Supreme Court was to overturn Roe v Wade. Of course, the Catholic Church is all in a huff about the bill and is doing its best to defeat it, though luckily New York state has a fairly good pro-choice track record, even when targeted by Rome’s most fervent efforts.

Perhaps this is just the conspiracy theorist in me, but it does seem all too convenient that Spitzer’s scandal should emerge just as he was about to renew his public push to get this tremendously important bill passed. The timing was so perfect that he had to cancel his address to the conference at the last minute. OK, so it’s probably unlikely that this was all orchestrated to defeat the reproductive rights bill, though taking down this bill at the same time as taking down Spitzer does seem like not-so-far-fetched icing on the cake for his conservative political enemies.

Regardless of whether the timing was coincidental or deliberate, it’s maddening that the passage of such an important bill may now be in jeopardy because Spitzer paid for sex. One only hopes that whether we’ve got Governor Spitzer or Governor Paterson by the end of the week, the bill will survive the scandal and ensure that women in NY State are protected in the face of an increasingly tenuous Roe v Wade.

And when it’s all said and done, it’s absurd that Spitzer can be taken down for paying for sex and infidelity, former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey resigned over being outed as gay (and infidelity), and Bill Clinton was impeached for cheating with an intern, while Bush and Cheney look like they’re going to finish their terms without so much as a hint of impeachment after they’ve waged illegal war, violated the civil rights of countless people, and endorsed torture. Yeah, the scandals that embroiled Clinton, McGreevey and now Spitzer also involved some perjury, illegality and corruption, but apparently breaking the law is only really bad if it involves sex taboos. Torture, murder and illegal imprisonment? Apparently not nearly as much of a threat to one’s political career. And that’s the true perversion.

A distracted, incomplete, and biased response to the Democratic Debate

I’ll admit it: I’m not much for watching televised debates. Even though there’s an exciting race going on and the debate included a candidate who I’m kinda jazzed about, I just don’t have the attention span for it. I often have the same problem with sports. Some games will get my undivided attention, especially championships and others with high stakes (the recent Super Bowl and Australian Open come to mind.) But with most games, as with the debate that occurred a few hours ago, I start out well, paying full attention, but soon my mind begins to wander. Then I pick up my laptop and it’s all over; despite occasional efforts to keep up, by the end I’m completely distracted and only looking up at the screen with a “Huh?” or a “Wha?” when my girlfriend exclaims or declaims or laughs at something that just happened.

That’s pretty much what happened tonight. It didn’t help that it’s a Thursday night; usually by this point in the week, during the evenings I can pretty much muster up only the focus needed to watch American Idol (quote of the week: “You are a blend… of every favorite color… that I know”) or The Office (which I really hope is returning soon, because I like it a whole lot better than American Idol.)

HOWEVER – I did take some notes on particularly amusing/disturbing/annoying/upsetting parts of the debate, and will share those thoughts with you here. I do this with a big huge disclaimer: this is by no means a play by play, nor a thorough account, nor a particularly fair account as I started drifting fairly early on and found myself paying attention more when Obama was talking than when Clinton was. I’m sure someone will tell me that’s because I’m sexist, but hey, at least I’m not racist! Hah.

Continue reading ‘A distracted, incomplete, and biased response to the Democratic Debate’

Farewell, Fidel

I feel like I’d be remiss in my duties as a Latin@ blogger if I don’t write something about Fidel Castro’s resignation from the presidency of Cuba. When I heard the news on Tuesday morning, I was neither happy nor sad; instead, I just got that feeling of realization that something truly historical has just happened. My knowledge of Castro and his reign in Cuba is too slim to really say much one way or another about the man, to condemn him or to laud him. I know he’s done bad, and I know he’s done good, and generally my feelings towards him and how he and his party have run Cuba these fifty odd years lean more towards the positive than the negative, but again, that’s a vague feeling that I feel is generally uninformed.

I can, however, say that I’m glad that Castro has left power peacefully (thus far) and on his own terms, and not on America’s terms. I mean, think about it – there must be tons of powerful men experiencing emotions ranging from disgruntlement to fury because they didn’t get to take Castro out, in any number of senses, before he stepped down voluntarily. I think that it’s a testament to the strength and the spirit of Cuban Revolution that it has managed to survive this long in defiance of the United States’ condemnation and attempts, subtle and not so subtle, at taking it down. ¡Saludos, Cuba!

Bush lost no time before prattling on about how he hopes for a “democratic process” for Cuba and that the U.S. will help the people of Cuba realize the blessings of liberty. Is that kinda like how the U.S. has helped the people of Iraq realize the blessings of liberty? Let’s hope not. Continuing to speak of Cuba, Bush said that as a part of a transition to so-called democracy, political prisoners there should be freed, since until then “will rot in prison and the human condition will remain pathetic in many cases.” Of course, this vision for Cuba stops at the walls of Guantanamo Bay, where hundreds of prisoners are being held indefinitely. Bush is totally cool with them rotting in prison, their human condition remaining pathetic.

The cloud of hypocrisy surrounding that man is so thick you could gag on it.

Seriously, though – it seems that every time the U.S. pushes for “democracy” somewhere else, they’re really pushing to twist the nation in question to serve American interests. I truly hope that, whatever shape the Cuban shift in power takes, it doesn’t lead to yet another nation being used and abused for the benefit of the insatiable United States.

Against either/or feminism

Most folks have probably read Gloria Steinem’s op-ed piece in the New York Times entitled “Women Are Never Front-Runners.” Hopefully folks have also gotten to read, listen to or watch the subsequent Democracy Now! debate between Steinem and Melissa Harris-Lacewell, in which Harris-Lacewell took Steinem to task for many of the points she makes in her op-ed. If you haven’t gotten to take a look at the debate, I highly recommend it. Here’s just a taste of what Harris-Lacewell has to say:

And so, when Steinem suggests, for example, in that article that Obama is a lawyer married to another lawyer and to suggest that, for example, Hillary Clinton represents some kind of sort of breakthrough in questions of gender, I think that ignores an entire history in which white women have in fact been in the White House. They’ve been there as an attachment to white male patriarchal power. It’s the same way that Hillary Clinton is now making a claim towards experience. It’s not her experience. It’s her experience married to, connected to, climbing up on white male patriarchy. This is exactly the ways in which this kind of system actually silences questions of gender that are more complicated than simply sort of putting white women in positions of power and then claiming women’s issues are cared for.

Today I read another great response from Kimberle Crenshaw and Eve Ensler to “either/or” feminism: a feminism that deems a vote for Hillary Clinton to be the only truly feminist choice. Steinem’s op-ed echoes the arguments of this sort of feminism which, when taken to its extreme, results in the kind of malarkey that the New York State chapter of NOW put out there when it called Senator Ted Kennedy’s endorsement of Barack Obama “the ultimate betrayal” of women. From Crenshaw and Ensler’s essay in the Huffington Post:

While denying any intention to square off racism against sexism, the “either/or” feminists nonetheless remind us that the Black (man) got the vote before the (white) woman, that gender barriers are more rigid than racial barriers, that sexism is everywhere and racism is not, that a female Obama wouldn’t get nearly as far as a Barack Obama, and that a woman’s vote for Clinton is scrutinized while a male vote for Obama is not. Never mind of course that real suffrage for African Americans wasn’t realized until the 1960s, that there are any number of advantages that white women have in business, politics and culture that people of color do not; that all around the world women’s route to political leadership is through family dynasty which is virtually closed to marginalized groups, and that the double standard of stigmatizing Obama’s Black voters as racially motivated while whitewashing Clinton’s white voters as “just voters” constitutes the exact same double standard that the “either/or feminists” bemoan. The “either/or” crowd surprisingly claims that the two Democratic candidates are more alike than different, yet those who gravitate to Obama find their motives questioned and their loyalties on trial.

94,000 votes to go uncounted in Los Angeles

From Nezua at The Unapologetic Mexican: more than 94,000 votes from Los Angeles County are on their way to being uncounted thanks to yet another flawed ballot design, supplemented by a healthy dose of inadequate training and information given to poll workers. From the LA Times:

Michael Nola, a poll worker in Claremont, went to two training sessions before election day and was instructed that nonpartisan voters were entitled to cast ballots in the Democratic Party or American Independent Party primaries.

What he never learned in class was that in addition to selecting a candidate, these voters were required to mark a bubble on their ballots indicating which party primary they were voting in. . . . It wasn’t until midafternoon on election day that he and his fellow poll workers learned of the extra bubble, but by then it was too late. Many nonpartisan voters had already cast their ballots, including Nola himself.

So far, no recount is being planned, and the Courage Campaign has a petition up to demand a physical recount of all of the ballots. However, the ballots were so poorly designed that even if a hand count was conducted, it might not be possible to figure out for whom votes were intended; the candidates’ names weren’t on the ballots themselves and the ballot was designed so that bubbles for the first threediffering candidates for each party used the same bubbles.

Huh? I mean, come on – who the hell checks these things before they’re put in voters’ hands? Does anyone? How hard could it really be to design a clear, easy to use ballot? This is yet another example of how, for a nation that loves to lecture other countries about how wonderful and amazing and imperative democracy is, we are astoundingly, monumentally ineffective at conducting the business of democracy here at home.

Follow-up: Latino voting angst

I’ve been itching to write this follow-up post to my post on Latinos voting for Clinton, especially after noting that somebody at the NY Times linked to it. (Thanks!) But, as usual, life beyond blogging got in the way. So here it is, albeit a few days overdue.

Since writing that post I’ve done a bunch of research and reading (with help from the folks who commented.) Here’s some of what I’ve found most insightful and enlightening.

Roberto Lovato has been writing a whole lot about Latinos and the election over at his blog, Of América. In one recent post, Lovato points out that, though the media spin focused on the general trend of Latino support for Clinton, Obama has begun to pick up speed with the Latino community:

Preliminary results of the most intense primary in recent memory indicate that predictions of a monolithic Latino “firewall” for Clinton have fallen short. The candidates split key Latino states in different parts of the country. Clinton won states like New York and New Jersey while Obama won states like Colorado and Illinois. Exit poll results also demolished widely-held notions that Latinos are unwilling to support a black candidate. Obama succeeded in dropping Clinton’s Latino advantage from 4-1 (68% to 17% according to a CNN poll conducted last week) to 3-2 last night. And in almost every Latino-heavy state that voted Super Tuesday, Obama received more than the 26 percent of the Latino vote he got in Nevada just 2 weeks ago.

One of the articles that I’ve appreciated most is Gregory Rodriguez’s take on the “Latinos don’t vote for Black candidates” myth that set the tone for much of the media coverage of the Latino vote in recent weeks. That notion was brought into the media spotlight by a Clinton pollster, Sergio Bendixen, who told a reporter from the New Yorker that “the Hispanic voter … has not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support Black candidates.” When asked about Bendixen’s comment in the Democratic debate held before the Nevada primary, Clinton says that rather than representing a view held by her campaign, Bendixen was “making a historical statement.” In truth, however, history demonstrates that Latino people vote for Black candidates with some frequency. Rodriguez debunks the idea that Latinos generally don’t support Black candidates with multiple instances of Black candidates winning large portions of the Latino vote in mayoral and congressional elections. He also asks and answers an important question:

So what would the Clinton campaign have to gain from spreading this misinformation? It helps undermine one of Obama’s central selling points, that he can build bridges and unite Americans of all types, and it jibes with the Clinton strategy of pigeon-holing Obama as the “black candidate.” (Witness Bill Clinton’s statement last week that his wife might lose South Carolina because of Obama’s growing black support.) And two, no Latino organizations function in the way that, say, the Anti-Defamation League does for Jewish Americans. In other words, you can pretty much say whatever you want about Latinos without suffering any political repercussions.

Matt Barreto and Ricardo Ramírez also addressed the topic in another piece from the LA Times’ Opinions section. Barreto and Ramírez stress that “the Latino vote in 2008 should be viewed as a pro-Clinton vote, not an anti-Obama or an anti-black vote,” driven largely by the name-recognition that Clinton has gained in her sixteen years of national political prominence. However, they also point out that Obama has not been doing as good a job as Clinton in actively reaching out to Latinos, though he’s been stepping things up recently.

In short, while Obama has become well known in a relatively short time among political observers, he did not rise to national prominence among Latinos until this campaign. Moreover, this name-recognition advantage for Clinton was enhanced by a strong and aggressive advertising and outreach effort by her campaign and a string of high-profile endorsements. She has hired an independent Latino pollster and aired significantly more Spanish language radio and television ads. This must be contrasted with the Obama campaign’s anemic and particularly ineffective outreach effort to the Latino segment of the electorate. Even Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, a prominent Latino supporter of Obama, has criticized the presidential candidate for insufficient outreach to Latinos.

Zentronix over at the Can’t Stop Won’t Stop blog has some good analysis on the Latino and Asian American support for Clinton:

Emergent voting blocs respond to leaders in their community. If the candidate wins the leader, she wins her followers. Insurgent voting blocs instead respond to calls for change, and may focus more on single issues or agendas. If a candidate stakes out a good position, she captures the community. Hillary played the politics of emergence.

Early, she locked down important leaders in the Latino and Asian American communities. In Los Angeles, that meant securing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s support, and the predominantly Latino unions that have supported him. She also landed the support of Fabian Nunez and Dolores Huerta. In San Francisco, that meant seizing on Mayor Gavin Newsom’s popularity amongst Asian Americans. She also captured a who’s who of Asian American elected officials starting with Controller John Chiang and moving on down. Just as important, Hillary’s campaign locked up a huge number of the leading Latino and Asian American party operatives–the people who actually deliver the voters.

… Clinton’s main advantage is that she has the access to power and the party structures that deliver promises to officials and operatives. Obama doesn’t. Emergent politics favors individuals seeking power. Think of it this way: Hillary, the woman candidate, is bringing Latino and Asian American leaders into the old-boy’s network.

And finally: on her blog Multiplicative Identity, author Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez takes the authors of a January NY Times article on the Latino vote to task for an infuriating sin of ignorance committed by far too many in the media: treating the terms Black and Latino as if they were mutually exclusive.

Immigrants from the Dominican Republic made up the largest single immigrant block to the city of New York in the 1990s. Five out of every six Dominicans are of African descent. Many Puerto Ricans are also of African descent. There are great movements afoot in popular culture throughout the Americans to make the link between Africa and Latin America – from Grupo Niche singing of blackness in the salsa classic “Etnia,” to the Nuyorican Poets rapping about being BlackTinos … How it is that the editors and reporters of the nation’s leading newspaper … can completely ignore the significant segment of this country’s Latino population that IS BLACK is beyond me.

So, that’s a roundup of what a bunch of very smart people are saying about Obama, Clinton, and the Latino vote. Coming soon: some of my own thoughts on the topic.

NYC primary breakdown and Latino angst

Just took a look at the NY State county-by-county primary breakdown (be warned, that page can take forever to load.) Clinton only lead by 2% in the city, according to the Gotham Gazette. Here’s the percentages that Obama and Clinton came away with in each borough:

Bronx: C 60%, O 38%
Brooklyn: C 50%, O 48%
Manhattan: C 54%, O 44%
Queens: C 60%, O 38%
Staten Island: C 61%, O 36%

Woohoo, Brooklyn! I’m happy to have been part of that number. That’s a really strong showing. I’m only surprised and a little disappointed that Obama didn’t win Brooklyn. Ah well.

When I saw the numbers for the Bronx, I immediately thought, “Ugh, Latinos!” with a groan. I’m allowed to do that because I’m Latina. I also recognize that’s probably a little simplistic. But over and over and over yesterday, I heard that Latinos were overwhelmingly in favor of Clinton. Her campaign also pointed out Latino support in New Jersey, my home state, as one of the factors in her win there. My dad was one of those Latinos who voted for her there.

The Latino-Clinton connection also came in to effect big time in the Southwest and especially in California. While I was watching CNN last night, the commentators (is that just a sports term?) said that, according to exit polls, Barack had a healthy lead amongst both Black voters AND white voters. “So why is Hillary winning?” they asked. Well, according to them, it was thanks to Latino and Asian voters. I can’t remember the exact numbers but I think 60-something% of Latinos and 70-something% of Asian voters supported Clinton. When I saw those numbers, I groaned even louder, because it made me think of this article that a friend of mine posted the other day. I have a whole lot of problems with the article, primarily that I think the article doesn’t really get at how white racism against Latinos and Asians is what causes the desire for assimilation. But when I saw those numbers, I couldn’t help worry that, at least in part, that article was getting at something true.

My question, though, is this: why, exactly, do Latinos like Clinton so much? The pundits keep talking about this supposedly long-standing connection between the Clintons and Latinos, but why is that there? What did they ever do for us? Is this kind of like my mom’s (and apparently, many Latinos’) inexplicable obsession with Kennedy? That, at least, has the Catholic connection to explain it. But the Clintons? I just don’t get it. Anyone?

Obama ’08

Today, for the first time since i pulled the lever for Fernando Ferrer, I felt genuinely excited and proud about the candidate for whom I voted, Barack Obama. When I voted for Nader a while back, I felt happy for voting with my gut, but sad that he had less than a chance in hell. When I voted for Kerry, I felt not so much pride or true hope as desperation. I felt a little bit of pride when voting for Hillary’s second term as NY state senator, primarily because she’s a woman, but have mostly felt let down by her. But this time, I felt both proud and really hopeful that Obama has a damn good shot.

Yeah, of course, his politics are nowhere near stellar. Neither were those of Edwards, who was my second runner up. However, I’ve come to terms with the fact that, as long as we have this sort of two-party system, no viable presidential candidate is going to make me very happy politically. Every time I vote with my gut for a national candidate whose politics match mine, I know I’m voting for someone who’s simply not going to win. Every time I vote for someone who’s likely to win, I’m know voting for someone with whom I disagree far more often than I’m going to agree with them. I truly hope that changes sooner rather than later, but that’s going to take some massive systemic changes in the way we vote and I’m not holding my breath on that.

I disagree with Obama on a whole slew of issues. Lots of them are sorts of issues on which candidates are pretty much required to parrot the same old bullshit in order to have a real shot at winning (marriage equality and other queer issues, relatively pro-Israel leanings, health care proposals that shy away from single-payer system, etc.)

However, there’s also a lot that I like about Obama’s politics. I think that, though he’s certainly not nearly as left-leaning as I’d want a president to be, he’s certainly to the left of Clinton. That candidate selector thing told me so, at least, hehe. This article and this one lay out a lot more reasons for why Obama is a better choice politically than Clinton (coming from my political perspective, at least.)

I absolutely prefer Obama to Clinton on foreign policy, especially the war in Iraq. He didn’t vote for it, he doesn’t support it, and I really believe that he’ll work harder to end the war quicker than Clinton will. (Success is, of course, another story. But you can’t have success unless you try, and I think he’d try sooner and he’ll try harder.)

And I gotta say, the whole dynasty business is really off-putting for me. Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton is not only creepy, but it also strikes me as downright wrong. It makes me shudder that just two rich white families have been at the head of this country for the past twenty years and, were Hillary elected, would run it for at least four years more. Shouldn’t there be some sort of rule against that?

And finally, I just like him. I really do like him. I like his speaking style, I like his energy, I like his message. I like that he excites people and inspires people. I have this possibly deluded hope that he’ll actually move farther left after he’s elected, because he’ll have the leeway to do it once he’s actually in office. (Imagine a more leftist Black candidate making it this far? Yeah, that’s a stretch.) I love the idea of a Black president. I saw a picture of him and Michelle Obama and their kids and thought, WOW – Black children will be running around the White House and won’t get in trouble because they’re just there on a class trip or something. Something about that thought was profoundly moving for me.

Come November, I’ll probably vote for the Democratic candidate, whoever that may be. (Though who knows, Cynthia McKinney is apparently trying to get the Green Party nomination…) If Clinton is the Democratic nominee, I’ll most certainly prefer her to the Republican. And I won’t lie, I will get some joy and pride out of finally having a president who’s a woman.

But today I voted for Obama, and I did it with a whole lot of pride and hope. And I absolutely hope I get to do that again in November.

Jersey pride, well-founded.

I may be in Brooklyn now, but I’m not from Brooklyn – I’m from New Jersey and proud of it. Even prouder today, after NJ became the first state since 1976 to ban the death penalty. Of course, New Jersey also hasn’t executed anyone since 1963, so this may not be the most momentous of moves within the state itself. However, New Jersey is setting an important precedent and we can only hope other states (New York? Pennsylvania? Hope beyond hope, Texas?) will follow suit. So hurrah, New Jersey! I’m going to wear one of my Jersey pride t-shirts today in celebration.

Congress jumps on the hip-hop scolding bandwagon

In today’s news: the House of Representative held a hearing titled “From Imus to Industry: The Business of Stereotypes and Degrading Images.”

I love hip-hop, yet I see the flaws in some of the music and culture, especially the corporately approved and pushed brand of hip-hop music and culture that dominates the scene. As a queer woman of color, there’s plenty of times when I’m nodding my head or dancing to a good beat only to find myself cringing at some sexist or homophobic lyrics.

But singling out hip-hop for scolding like this in a congressional hearing? Ridiculous. First off, while some hip-hop artists might be particularly direct in voicing their sexism and homophobia through their lyrics, hip-hop is certainly not the only offender when it comes to such things. Pop culture and entertainment is riddled with sexism, homophobia, transphobia and racism. Maybe it’s not as blatant as “the ‘B,’ ‘H’ and ‘N’ words,” as the AP article lists them, but it’s most certainly there. I don’t think I could watch TV for half an hour without seeing at least a few instances of such things, and I don’t think that subtlety or, say, being packaged as cheesy, harmless sitcom jokes makes oppressive imagery any less harmful or negative. Gentler, kinder isms are still isms, and may perhaps do more harm than the blatant stuff because, for most people, it’s totally acceptable, nothing to bat an eye at. Hip-hop though? Apparently a whole congressional session is needed to talk about dynamics that play out in every facet of American culture, just dished out by less convenient whipping boys.

Also – doesn’t Congress have anything better to do than wring their hands over hip-hop? If they’re so concerned about sexism and racism and violence, why are they worrying over symptoms instead of trying to deal with root causes and systemic injustice? Actually, it’s rather shrewd of them to make a big show over things like this while allowing the factors contributing to these larger, systemic problems to continue unhindered. As rapper and producer Levell Crump said during the hearings, “change the situation in [his] neighborhood and maybe [he’ll] get better … If by some stroke of the pen hip-hop was silenced, the issues would still be present in our communities.”

Then there’s the title of and inspiration for the hearing. From the article:

”From Imus to Industry: The business of stereotypes and degrading images” was the title of the hearing, referring to former radio host Don Imus, who lost his job after making derogatory comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team. The Imus incident has sparked debate within the music industry about black artists using offensive, misogynist and violent language.

This is what’s pissed me off about much of the reaction to the Imus incident. Virulent white asshole says something sexist and racist, and … Black artists come under fire? Folks start hollering for the banning of the n-word in Black communities? What is this, some twisted version of that anti-drugs commercial from the 80s, but this time with white folks saying “I learned it by watching you on BET!” when they spout the same racist and sexist bullshit that white people themselves came up with in the first place? PLEASE. This reminded me of an excellent Democracy Now! interview with Michael Eric Dyson that aired during the Imus brouhaha, during which he was asked to respond to the NAACP’s funeral for the n-word:

I think that there are many more issues that the NAACP should be focused on: structural inequality, social injustice, this war in Iraq, the imperial presidency, which has subverted the democracy of the country… I don’t think Don Imus can blame hip-hop for his problems. First of all, the demonization of black women is much older than Snoop Dogg. This is a history in America that is racist, that sees black women as oversexed, because they had to deal with the oversexed organs of their black men.

Word. It’s just incredibly frustrating to watch Congress spending time on something like this when white culture and the white power structure is riddled with prejudice and discrimination that has done and continues to do far more material damage than hip-hop ever could.