....LMB: "Color Blindsided"....

August 19, 2003

California's ballot initiative, Proposition 54, the "Racial Privacy Initiative." It's going to be on the same ballot as the well-known Recall issue, on October 7.

At its core, Prop 54 makes it illegal for the state to collect data on Californians' race, ethnicity, or national origins. The proponents of 54 claim that the RPI will put an end to racial preferences in the state, and save California over $10 million a year. The opponents of 54 point out that if we stop collecting data about race, there is no way to assess whether or not different racial groups are being treated fairly or are being discriminated against.

I heard RPI author Ward Connerly interviewed by Tavis Smiley on the radio about this issue. It was painful to listen to, but I forced myself. Connerly's argument was basically that the way race data is collected on forms is really inaccurate. Therefore, instead of trying to improve or update these data collection methods, the state of California must stop trying to do so. Can't say that I found the argument real convincing. When Smiley tried to propose the "better methods" idea instead of the RPI idea, Connerly simply dodged and dodged and dodged.

It always boggles my mind. Many people talk about wanting a colorblind society, but they seem to think that the way to achieve it is by pretending really hard that there is no such thing as race. Of course race doesn't exist in any empirical, scientific sense, only in a social sense. If all people managed to have the concept of race erased from their minds, there would be no racism. But we can't do that. In reality, all we can do is pretend that we have forgotten the concept of race. And while we're all pretending really hard, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Latinos and Native Americans are going to keep facing the disprorportionate levels of poverty, unemployment, incarceration, and more.

Seems to me like paying attention and trying to combat the damage that racism causes is a better way to deal with racism, than to pretend our way to utopia.

[edit]

The only problem with this entry is that I do not at any point refer to Ward Connerly as a "jerkass." I regret the error.

[/edit]

Posted by Jake at 02:56 PM | TrackBack (0)
Comments

If Ward Connerly is against it, I'm for it. That sorry sack of dog refuse sold out years ago, like Clarence "pubic hair" Thomas.

What they sold out is not their race, but rather their membership in the society of decent human beings dedicated to fairness and equality.

Posted by: Lurch at August 19, 2003 05:11 PM

you are mistaken...race is a scientific factor as an individual's race can be determined from their DNA. It therefore does exist beyond a 'social' sense.

Posted by: todd at August 20, 2003 11:22 AM
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Media News

December 01, 2004

Media Mambo

The Great Indecency Hoax- last week, we wrote about how the "massive outcry" to the FCC about a racy Fox TV segment amounted to letters from 20 people. This week, we look at the newest media scandal, the infamous "naked back" commercial. On Monday Night Football, last week, ABC aired an ad for it's popular "Desperate Housewives" TV show, in which one of the actresses from the show attempted to seduce a football player by removing the towel she was wearing to bare her body to him. All the audience saw, however, was her back. No tits, no ass, no crotch, just her back.

No one complained.

The next Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh told his shocked viewers how the woman had appeard in the commercial "buck naked".

Then, the FCC received 50,000 complaints. How many of them actually saw this commercial is anyone's guess.

The article also shows the amazing statistics that although the Right is pretending that the "22% of Americans voted based on 'moral values'" statistic shows the return of the Moral Majority, this is actually a huge drop from the 35% who said that in the 2000 election or the 40% who said that in 1996 (when alleged pervert Bill Clinton was re-elected). This fact is so important I'm going to mention it over in the main news section too.

Brian Williams may surprise America- Tom Brokaw's replacement anchor, Brian Williams, dismissed the impact of blogs by saying that bloggers are "on an equal footing with someone in a bathroom with a modem." Which is really funny, coming out of the mouth of a dude who's idea of journalism is to read words out loud off a teleprompter. Seriously, if parrots were literate, Brian Williams would be reporting live from the line outside the soup kitchen.

In related news, Tom Brokaw has quit NBC Nightly News, and it appears that unlike his predecessor, the new guy can speak without slurring words like a drunk.

PR Meets Psy-Ops in War on Terror- in February of 2002, Donald Rumsfeld announced the creation of the Office of Strategic Influence, a new department that would fight the war on terror through misinformation, especially by lying to journalists. Journalists were so up in arms about this that the Pentagon agreed to scrap the program.

Don't you think that an agency designed to lie to the public might lie about being shut down, too?

This article gives some examples about the US military lying to the press for propaganda and disinformation purposes.

Tavis Smiley leaving NPR in December- African-American talk show host Tavis Smiley is opting to not renew his daily talk show on National Public Radio. He criticized his former employers for failing to: "meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio but simply donít know it exists or what it offers ... In the most multicultural, multi-ethnic and multiracial America ever, I believe that NPR can and must do better in the future." He's 100% correct. NPR is white. Polar bear eating a marshmallow at the mayonaise factory white. And the reason it's so white is that it is trying to maintain an affluent listener base (premoniantly older white folks) who will donate money to their stations. This is a great paradox of American public broadcasting, that they have a mandate to express neglected viewpoints and serve marginalized communities, but those folks can't donate money in the amounts that the stations would like to see.

U.S. Muslim Cable TV Channel Aims to Build Bridges- it sounds more positive than it is "Bridges TV" seems to simultaneously be a cable channel pursuing an affluent American Muslim demographic, and a way of building understanding and tolerance among American non-Muslims who might happen to watch the channel's programming. I was hoping it would be aimed more at Muslim's worldwide, but it ain't. Still, I'd be interested in seeing how their news programs cover the issues.

Every Damned Weblog Post Ever- it's funny cuz it's true.

Wikipedia Creators Move Into News- Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, created collectively by thousands of contributors. It's one of those non-profit, decentralized, collective, public projects that show how good the internet can be. Now, the Wikipedia founders are working on a similar project to create a collaborative news portal, with original content. Honestly, it's quite similar to IndyMedia sites (which reminds me, happy 5th birthday, IndyMedia!). I'll admit, I'm a bit skeptical about the Wikinews project, though. IndyMedia sites work because they're local, focused on certain lefty issues, and they're run by activists invested in their beliefs. I'm not sure what would drive Wikinews or how it would hang together.

CBS, NBC ban church ad inviting gays- the United Church of Christ created a TV ad which touts the church's inclusion, even implying that they accept homosexuals into their congregation. Both CBS and NBC are refusing to air the ad. This is not too surprising, as many Americans are uncomfortable about homosexuality, and because TV networks are utter cowards. But CBS' explanation for the ban was odd:

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples...and the fact that the executive branch has recently proposed a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast."

Whoa, what? First of all, the ad does not mention marriage at all. Second, since when do positions opposite of the Executive Branch constitute "unacceptable"? This doesn't sound like "we're not airing this because it's controversial", this sounds like "we're afraid of what the President might say."

Posted by Jake at 10:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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