Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Extra Credit

Extra credit

            In the NY times article “Letters, coming out illegal” Leslie is an undocumented American dependant on US Society who is struggling through activism to attain rights of citizenship through the “Dream Act” legislation. The dream act is a law that enables undocumented Americans benefits to gain residency and financial benefits to those who have a GED or high school diploma and are currently students in advanced education.
Leslie is A Student from UCLA who expresses the struggles of the many undocumented students. In one form supporting her plight by activism Leslie chooses to wear a sweater labeled “Imp Undocumented” while on the university campus. The intention is to gain attention to those in the community of her cause. Leslie also attends campus rallies for activism to spread the dream act as many other like her, who are mainly female, also attend universities while being denied many benefits because of their illegal status. Despite living almost all their lives in the US, these undocumented Americans cannot have driver licenses, financial aid or any other forms of public assistance food stamps and public housing.
Many undocumented students have the fear of the state laws that work against them; they can easily be deported against their will despite living almost all of their lives in the U.S. to a country they left when they were children. In support of the struggles of undocumented students Leslie an others in an organizination called IDEAS provide sanctuary by offering places with housing and food as well as advisement or counseling, As many undocumented students fears of arrests prevents most and (almost all males) from attempting to protest it is a great hindrance to the plight in activism to gain support to pass the dream act.
The struggle of undocumented immigrants involves supporting the dream act bill.  The organizations, have an organization with resources and experienced activists information and databases on web sites, support groups hold rallies. The support and activism for the dream act bill in backing politicians increases the attention to the plight of the undocumented Americans. One tactic very influential in the civil rights era was the sit in.
 In one case a sit-in at Dream Act opposition politician john McCain gained nationwide and international notoriety. On the anniversary of Brown Vs the board of Ed, Five dream act student supporters dressed in graduation gowns while sitting under US flags sat in his office for at least 5 hours until they were all arrested. However in this case the immigration procedures of deportation towards theses activists were postponed most likely due to consequences, which would probably increase the controversy of injustices of their struggles, which was obviously the intention of the sit-in. Activists also campaign for Obama in his support to efforts in helping pass the dream act. The growing influence of expanding grassroots movements such as ideas and dream alliance (dream act support group) provide an effective foundation to support the injustices and obstacles faced by undocumented Americans.
 First hand experiences in understanding the seriousness of this issue is with a friend of mine who came to the United States from Peru when he was 5 years old. As an adult at 28 he finally got his citizenship and decided to travel to Peru; his experience was much like mine of being in a totally foreign land with distant relatives and speaking horrible Spanish and knowing basically nothing else about the country. I cant imagine how he would survive if he was deported or even worse where cases include parents of US born citizens being deported without their children. These cases are an injustice and great double standard because of the lack of common sense towards humanity and their civil rights as dictated in the U.S. constitution where all are supposed to be considered equal (somethinng like that).


The Black panthers had 10 points,

the Young lords had 13 pts,
but, I Wor Kuen has 12 pts!


Monday, November 29, 2010

post # 6

            The Black Arts Movement improved in reinventing a consciousness in contemporary African American art forms after the Civil Right’s Movement that included influences in challenging mainstream societal norms and pride in African American culture.
The impression of Alice Walker’s writing presents the argument that the artistic quality of African American women under a repressive slave society was often overlooked. As exploited women or as Alice Walker describes them, “The mule of society” the women under slavery were had enforced upon them abusive conditions of subservience including having to endure manual labor, rapes, laws restricting their freedom and prohibition from education. Despite the repressive conditions in society their vigilance in enduring these extreme conditions they carried out responsibilities to tend to their children and help provide for their families. The quality of their works show how the under these restrictions women were still able to produce various forms of talent and art with their stories, singing, patterns in quilts, poems and impressive garden arrangements.
Writing of the black Arts Movement included short works ”Black Art” by Le Roi Jones and Revolution!. The poem Revolution! Seems to express a motivation to show the consequential change of a type of communal collective sacrifice of solidarity with it’s frequent usage of the words, we and our, throughout the poem. Perhaps is it a revolution against the social order of that community in fighting any threats of answering one with a strong threatening collective response from the description of all the language that refer to fighting and sacrifice.
Black Arts by Le Roi Jones also has strong language. In my opinion it also relates with revolution but in a tone closer towards the changing art forms of poetry. The theme of the poem reflects the experience of the urban community in perhaps Harlem. A strong impression is noticed from the openness of the language of racism, societal ills and violence. In its closing section a racial message promoting black culture in poetry brings what I feel relates the tone of the strong language combined with the hardcore experience to express a form of strong poetry developed from the circumstances of that community.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Public art post

                                              "Chasing New Dreams"

         Although nowhere near my neighborhood, this artwork titled "Chasing new dreams" is located at a supermarket (Foodbazaar) parking lot in Corona where I always shop for my groceries. There is political signficance portrayed that include images of Che guevarra and Martin luther King Jr as well as an image of a laborer holding up a hammer perhaps representing the working class. To me, this piece reflects perhaps the community ethnically and class. With the community being of a majority African American and Latino, the Figures represented in the piece also strongly represented struggles of the same background. Martin Luther King Jr. struggled for the exercise of constitutional rights for African Americans and all colored as did Che Guevarra for a better society for Latino Americans of all races and other ethnicities with socialism around the world. A strong point in relation to ideals of the piece also portray a working class represented by the picture of the person with a hammer; a significant emblem historically representing socialism.
         The portraits have a significant political message in the images from where thier locations are placed and seem to reflect thier regional origins on the world map. MLK is right on top of the "south" where the Civil Rights movement was concentrated. Che's portrait is right next to Latin America and Africa where he campaigned for Socialism in Cuba, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru and Congo, Angola in Africa and more. Socialism, originating from Germany with karl Marx shows a portrait with the sickle and hammer of the Russian and the Communist revolutions with thier origins near Europe.
          Other images on Chasing New Dreams include a compass that relates to the map in the artwork with two big images of inelegible complicated looking artistic scripts in orange and blue. These scripts are the artists' tag names called "pieces", of which I have no clue to whose names they are, I just know they are names. These pieces are the sort of artisitic form of thier names which very common with graffiti artists; They basically like to write names all over the place, many times looking like irritable scribble or like in this case, a fancy artform developed from the inner city youth culture. I personally believe graffiti it developed in social enviroments like high schools classrooms where kids would scribble thier names everywhere on school desks with pencils and markers for notoriety which then spread to the streets as they eventually got fancier and needed a bigger canvas and audience, but most importantly used spray paint; the main ingredient as is the case in Chasing New Dreams.
          This artwork ties the ethnicities of the figures with the working class as the community itself here in Corona which is comprimsed mostly of working class families. There are many Latino and African American's of working class seen in the busy urban congested atmosphere thourghout this neighborhood. The title "Chasing New Dreams" also seems to represent a motivation of a working class struggle in the community to survive and suceed in achieving the "American Dream". I can personally relate to the theme of the artwork as my family also had to struggle in the working class of "America" to suceed; my parents came from Ecuador in 69', moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn worked thier butts off for many years until they achieved thier goals; my father eventually aquired his Bachelor's in Civil Engineering from City college and my mother's Psycology from York. I too soon hope to reach my goals as well, although I'm sure I probably dont work my ass off as much as they did. 
         Whats brings me to Foodbazaar was my liking of Ecuadorian food I grew up with not available in my neighborhood (Middle Village). My mother used to cook all this stuff that people probably would'nt touch like Cowfeet soup, and Mondongo (tripe), but I guess you can call it an aquired taste. I have been shopping here for many years because of the convienience of the parking lot and many Latino American products available, besides the pretty good prices and mostly because of the fact that this place is open 24 hours a day. I first noticed the piece and thought of it as just some grafitti, but then I noticed a Che looking image, took a closer look and then realised it had more significance than just Grafitti. I still can't read the tag names of the artists so i dont know who made it, but it looks nice and I appreciate it more because if its political significance with its ethnic associations and class struggle in the community.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Post #5

            Although southern African Americans of the civil right era suffered great social and economical repression, those in the "free" north suffered just as much socio-economic injustice as well. in James Baldwins essay economic failure of the African Amercian community was describes throughout, describing hopelessness of job/economic failure in Harlem.. Here many African Americans were subject to a society dominated by white owned corporations whom had little to offer except for the minority of those lucky to be employed in what baldwin describes as the "White man's world". Most of the rest of the Harlem community was unemployed or more likely "unqualified" and Dependent on a social welfare system that decided the fate of many. Within these communities survival for many African Americans depended on housing, food stamps, and other form of public assistance and for some, it was the only form of survival.
            Job opprtunities according to Malcom's story reveal growing up in Lansing explains that being a janitor was considered for blacks to be a occupation of very high presitge. Having to look forward to a respectable profession of "elite" status limited to being a showshine boy or a waiter sounds really pathetic and depressing, but that was possibly the best for economic opporuniities shared within the whole community for African Americans. I believe while Malcom's father was alive, the familiy enjoy a degree of independance from the hopeless economic future of most african americans in the community. He descirbes his family as not having to pray or shout for the "Pie in the sky" as Malcom's family had a property where they were able to raise chickens, rabbits, greens and who knows what else. In my belief this would not work as sucessfully in the northern cities as not many african americans would have access to gardens, especially those in public housing. Perhaps a communal approach to changing the mentality of african American could've been effective in uniting the community to make progress in many of the societal aspects needed to improve this scenario. Legal issues, community organization, and social/education programs can motivate people in the direction of progress. Im assuming together the community can accomplish more, along without the interference of outside influences like COINTELPRO and who knows what else.
             Malcom X's autobigraphy reveals strong negative social negative aspect; that of racial self-degredation, which is of light skined prefernce among African Americans fueling what I consider "internal racism". A good example is of Malcom's father having a special preference towards him because of his lighter skin color, and a strict abusive relation towrds his darker siblings. This mentality perhaps stems because of the racial sterotypes instilled into many subjected African Americans' by a system that for centuries systematically rejected them for being dark skinned or just being of African origin. Of the many drawbacks instilled upon generations of African Americans it may be in my opinon, these many different related socially negative pratices that may have held back the progress of communities until the rise of Black power movement. This era influenced progress in the community boosting pride in one's natural genetics, history, and culture in the United States of African americans.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Post assignment #3

        Eudora Welty's "Where is the Voice Coming From?" was a short fictional story based on the murder of NAACP official Medgar Evers by racist and white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith. Welty used her skill as a novelist and short fiction author in the creation of this work to contribute to the demonstration of public outcry shorty after Ever's murder. Welty's purpose in creating a narrative from the persepective of the killer was to show how spiteful, racist, ignorant, and homicidal the state of mind of Byron De La Beckwith played out during Ever's murder. Being of local Mississippi state background, It is most likely that Wetly's depiction of La Beckwith's character portrayed reality to very close accuracy; I would'nt be suprised if the killer really did use such vocabulary and speak in such manners during his/thier plot to murder Ever's. Welty's story was published in the "The New Yorker" and most likely was an atttempt to reach all audiences as well as working class/middle class Americans in the north and nationwide. I believe Welty's story effectively catches the imagination of it's readers and expresses a true injustice of mississippi society. Sadly however the authority of governance and politics in mississippi prove justice is uttlery almost worthless as even after this violent crime of a prominent leader, allowed Beckwith to boast of his deeds, and not pay for his crimes, with only to be convicted of murder more than 30 years later. Perhaps it is because the south will still attempt to hold on to confederate identities/dreams for as long as possible, including the ideal of racism and white supremacy; A motivation to hold on to a defeated pride stemming from the Civil War? I doubt with current changes from the 50's and 60's of demographic trends of increase and empowerment of the black population in mississippi, that the remaining white supremacists' abuse of authority(in politics) with go unanswered like before, and would perhaps result looking more like the L.A. riots rather than a bunch of kids walking into paddy wagons waving flags around.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Racist oppression in Texas leading to "Mutiny" or race riot.

  Hello professor tanenbaum. Here are a few links to articles about the mutiny I asked about in class. I did some research and came up with these articles, three on the mutiny or "Houston Riot" and another which is based upon a similar massacre in Mississippi. The Blogger article is pretty good so i posted it on this message.

Houston massacre:



Camp van dorn, Mississippi:


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Race Riot in Houston

How many of you knew that on August 23, 1917, a race riot erupted in Houston, TX?
During World War I, the War Department (now the Department of Defense) set up Camp Logan in what is today Memorial Park. The assignment to guard the construction of the camp was given to the 3rd Battalion of the 24th Infantry, an all-black regiment. These men were experienced soldiers who had seen combat. Unfortunately when they arrived in Houston they were viewed with hostility by the white population. Since Jim Crow was the rule of the day, the soldiers would find themselves discriminated against when they would come into the city on a pass. They were insulted by white citizens, they were forced to stand in the rear of street cars despite many empty seats in the 'whites only' section. A sheriff's deputy went as far to arrest a soldier for sitting in the whites only section. Another soldier was arrested for interfering with the arrest of a black woman by Houston Police. A Corporal, Charles Baltimore, inquired to a Houston Officer why his men were being arrested. For his inquiry, he got pistol whipped by the officer who even shot at the fleeing corporal as he fled. He ran into a shed where he was arrested, but eventually released.
Meanwhile, back at the camp, resentment at their treatment along with the false rumors that Corporal Baltimore had been killed and a white mob was marching upon the camp for a fight planted the seeds for a murderous rampage. A number of black soldiers then stole weapons and ammunition and under the leadership of Sgt. Vida Henry marched into the city of Houston, shooting at citizens and police. White citizens who stepped out of their homes to see what the commotion was were shot in cold blood. The soldiers also stumbled upon white police officers and shot them too. In the 2 hour riot, 5 Houston police officers along with 11 citizens (all white) were killed. Four of the soldiers, including Sgt. Henry were killed (2 of them accidentally by the rioters themselves). Officers Ira Raney and Rufus Daniels' bodies were hacked with the soldiers' bayonets after they were shot.
In the tribunal afterward, 110 soldiers were convicted on a variety of charges, 29 were given the death penalty, however only 19 were actually hung. The area of the slaughter that day is now along Center and Roy streets and San Felipe street. For a more detailed account of that day, go here.

For a history of Houston Police Officers killed in the line of duty going back to 1860, click here.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

BREADANDROSES: Responses to blog posts.

BREADANDROSES: Responses to blog posts #1 and #2.

Blog Post #2, question 2.

What is Reed's argument about why music was so important to the Civil Rights movement? What are some of the specific roles it played in the movement? How does this relate or compare to your own experiences of the role of music in everyday life, or the relation of music to politics?

          Reed explains in detail the purpose and effects of the strong influence of music during the Civil Rights movement. The role of music had many uses and purposes according to Reed, but in my opinion from the reading it was developed by the afro-american community to counter the oppresion of the racist society. In one form I believe that upon enduring centuries of slavery a culture of resistance developed where one of the many practices(against slavery) developed which included the use of music as a powerful tool. This was a strong factor in countering the torment of suffering slavery. Perhaps orginally used to communicate in code, but also to motivate, uplift the spirits of the many who had relatively few other options to counter face or oppose thier oppresors. As detailed in the chapter " Singing Civil rights", The Chirstian religion was a very dominant force in organizing, developing and leading the Civil Rights movement and upon reaching the 1950's the role of singing effectively evolved and was in use as a tool for the movement. Youth movements as well as older conservative movements for "Freedom" applied the use of music to overcome fear, express solidarity and communicate a message. most notable during protests, the communal chanting and singing of thier message reflects much of what can be seen in media to this day; almost anyone who watches a documentary on the Civil Rights movement can recognise a gathering most associated with singing songs of peace, freedom, and racial equality.
         I believe music is a powerful force in humanity because it influences behavior. Whether your a mother singing a lluaby to sleeping child or a boxer listening to the rocky theme before a fight, the power of music will always have a role and use in everyday life. Today you can hear politicians attempt to win a following by using music as a tool; in thier political campaigns they choose the audience and a favorable song to address the setting, trying to create some kind of commonality with thier target, as if they really represent them and share simlarities, I only know that my favorite presidents are dead presidents in my wallet.

Blog post #1, question 1. 

In his essay "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain," poet Langston Hughes talks about the challenges faced by Black artists. What does he see as the main challenges? Then look at the selection of poems from the Harlem Renassaince from your packet. What connections do you see between Hughes' essays and these poems?
            Langston Hughes mentions in his essay a "mountain" that represents challenges for black artists. In this passage Langston hughes describes in hiw own words what the challenge represents. "...the mountain standing in the way of any true Negro art in America—this urge within the race toward whiteness, the desire to pour racial individuality into the mold of American standardization, and to be as little Negro and as much American as possible." During this era in the 1920's the Jim Crow laws were influential in the south and nationwide/worldwide racism was very abundant and openly expressed as well, hence in my prespective Langston hughes very much openly expresses this social reality in his works; where dominant societies were influenced by racist white ethnocentrsim. In reality for black artist during the 20's I believe mainstream america at the time was a very challenging place for a non-white to be accepted. Even presently, dominant status quo of white society still provides a challenge for non-whites in many aspects economically and socially, as is commonly seen throughout the United States despite the racial and ethnic demograhic changes taking place. For example, there are very few racially/ethnically integrated communities existing as opposed to seeing the common racially/ethnically separated communities, proving intergration is a long way off. I dont believe a large mainstream utopian society is possible in my lifetime, but the idea is nice.


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