Search Results for: M. Junaid Alam

Jan 1 2013

The Unexplored Questions of Affirmative Action

Coverage of admissions case a catalog of broadsides


Against the electric backdrop of electoral polemics, the October 10 Supreme Court session on the constitutionality of race-conscious admissions at the University of Texas sent few sparks flying. Zeroed in on the election, the press dutifully reported the tit-for-tat and quips and quibbles around the case (Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin), but left untouched the deeper implications of potentially overturning affirmative action. Reviewing the coverage felt like staring at an iconic three-dimensional chess match from Star Trek—only with all lower levels of the board disappeared from sight. An overview of the main pieces: Abigail Fisher, a white student […]

Nov 1 2012

The Need to Decode GOP’s Coded Messages

The ink of racism can't be factchecked away

Mitt Romney filmed in secret at a fundraiser--Photo Credit: Mother Jones/Google Images

Lamenting the state of political writing, George Orwell once observed that “the great enemy of clear language is insincerity”: When there is “a gap between one’s real and declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.” In modern politics, of course, limited media time and attention spans make no allowance for florid language, so thinly veiled appeals to racism have become the “ink” of choice. Amid the national elections, the GOP machine has been one very busy cuttlefish indeed. Most infamous is Mitt Romney’s off-the-cuff remark to millionaire […]

Sep 1 2012

Arizona Schools Whitewash History

Banning books that promote 'ethnic solidarity'

Rethinking Columbus--Photo Credit: Rethinking Schools

Orwell observed in his dystopian masterpiece 1984 that “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” As America’s demographic landscape continues to undergo a significant shift toward a more multicultural—and multicolored—reality, political forces representing the past are doing their utmost to superimpose that past onto the future by “disappearing” inconvenient facts of history. In January, the school board in Arizona’s Tucson Unified School District shut down that city’s Ethnic Studies/Mexican American Studies curriculum, with the state’s school superintendent, John Huppenthal, declaring that it violated a recent Arizona state law that prohibits courses placing “ethnic […]

Jun 26 2012

RACE LENS: Demographics and Destiny

Misplaced alarm over ‘majority minority’ nation

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Crystal Marie Lopez

The past four years have supplied ample evidence to dismiss the idea that America is witnessing a new post-racial era–but will the coming decades see the beginning of a post-white one? That appears to be the implication of a new federal government report released on May 17, dryly titled, “Most Children Younger Than Age One Are Minorities, Census Bureau Reports.” According to the Bureau’s estimates, as of July 1, 2011, slightly more than 50 percent of the national population under age one is minority—meaning not having “white” as your sole race, or else having “Hispanic” ethnicity. In short, whites are […]

May 1 2012

Letters to the Editor

Extra! April 2012

Journalists, Teachers and the War for Truth Journalists like Robert Jensen certainly do “rock” (Extra!, 3/12) but like we teachers are caught between that and a hard place. After 25 years of teaching “in the trenches,” I’ve always understood how the war for truth goes: Journalists are in the front lines and we teachers are the support troops. Both of our professions are fighting for truth in a world filled with lies and, as always in war, truth is the first casualty. Ray Peterson Buffalo, N.Y. Kettle Owes Pot Apology In the April 2011 edition of Extra!, a Soundbites piece […]

May 1 2012

Scrutinizing the Victim in Florida Shooting

Before his killer, Trayvon Martin put on trial

Trayvon Martin--Photo Credit: Colorlines

“One can prove or refute anything at all with words,” wrote Anton Chekhov in the short story “Lights.” “Soon people will perfect language technology to such an extent that they’ll be proving with mathematical precision that twice two is seven.” In the shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black youth killed by an overzealous neighborhood vigilante, the “language technology” being employed to portray the victim as the aggressor builds on words like “hoodie” and “marijuana”—and the most malleable linguistic alloy of all, silence. The hoodie Martin wore on the rainy night of his murder earned the ire of his stalker, […]