Sep 01 2012

Misrepresenting the Latino Education Crisis

Austerity, immigration are the real civil rights issues

Justin Akers Chacon--Photo Credit: San Diego City College

During recent campaigning, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have appealed to the Latino community by acknowledging the “Latino education crisis.” Romney told the conservative Latino Coalition that the poor track record of schools serving students of color is “the civil rights issue of our era” (New York Times, 5/24/12). He identified teacher unions as the obstacles to reform (Washington Post, 5/23/12): “The teachers’ unions don’t fight for our children.” His prescription included a federal school voucher program and the expansion of non-union charter schools. Obama has also linked educational reform to civil rights themes (New York Times, […]

Sep 01 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 […]

Jun 01 2012

New Media; but Familiar Lack of Diversity

Women, people of color still marginalized online

Recent years have seen much rallying around “traditional” journalism in the face of its supposedly imminent demise, including the mythologizing of pre-Internet news media as a force of social cohesion. Lamenting the “culture of observing events from ‘inside’ a community,” Washington Post columnist and associate editor David Ignatius (5/2/10) contended: When the information landscape was dominated by three networks and a few major newspapers, journalists were trained to report for everyone. Now, niche audiences want more intimacy and connection—even if that means less old-school independence and objectivity. Traditional outlets, of course, did not and do not report “for everyone,” but […]

May 01 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, […]

Apr 13 2012

Mark Cooper on e-book price fixing; Milton Allimadi on Gil Noble


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The Justice Department has sued Apple and five major book publishers for colluding to fix prices e-book prices, in an attempt to undermine competitor Amazon. What should you know about the suit and its broader implications for, say the music and film industries? We’ll talk to the Consumer Federation of America’ Mark Cooper. Also on the show: Any community icon’s passing leaves a void, but when that person is responsible for arguably the single serious TV program engaging the lives and concerns of African Americans, the loss is magnified. Gil Noble, host and producer […]

Feb 10 2012

Jon O’Brien on contraception controversy, Richard Rothstein on segregation study


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Another front has opened up in the long-running battle over the new health care law. As we hear the story in the media, Catholics are up in arms over being required to provide birth control, or something to that effect. Republicans are loudly criticizing the White House’s war on religious freedom. What’s the reality though? Jon O’Brien of Catholics for Choice will join us to sort fact from fiction. Also on CounterSpin today, New research heralds the end of the segregated century, says census data show US cities most integrated they’ve been since 1910. […]

Feb 01 2012

The Colonial Roots of Media’s Racial Narratives

‘Sculking Indians’ and ‘rebellious negroes’

News For All The People--Photo Credit: Verso Books

Colonial printers, as we would expect, reported domestic events entirely from the perspective of the European settlers who were their only readers. They did, however, devote considerable space to two groups of non-Europeans who warily coexisted in the New World with the settlers: the Native American tribes and African slaves. The lone edition of Benjamin Harris’ Publick Occurrences (commonly regarded as the first newspaper in the New World, with a publication date of September 25, 1690), contained five separate news items about the Native population in just three pages of text. In one entry, Harris wrote of two white children […]