Quick Like a Bunny – the I’m sick of Airports Quickies

  • Jennifer Hudson
  • McCain supporter gone crazy
  • Palin gone rogue
  • McCain supporter says “good” to being called a racist
  • women of color students gone … or black faculty? what black faculty?

Hudson – By now, everyone has heard that former American Idol contestant, Oscar winner, and current holder of the #1 song on the R& B charts, Jennifer Hudson, lost her mother and brother on Friday. They were both shot to death in a home registered to her sister’s estranged husband, William Balfour. Balfour was believed to be in a DSV relationship with Julia Hudson, who had recently begun talking divorce. Police had hoped that when they found Balfour, they would also find Julia’s missing 7 year old, Julian King, Hudson’s nephew. Unfortunately, Balfour was neither with the child nor willing to discuss his whereabouts when he was arrested on Saturday. If you have seen Julian please contact Chicago Police Department. An image released by Julia is below:

Both Julia and her ex-husband, Julian King’s father, spoke outside their church on saturday asking for the safe return of Julian. The child was believed to be in his gradmother’s care when she and her son were allegedly shot by Balfour. This is another image of Julian that has been circulating in the press; as you can see his weight is different in these two photos so please be looking out for a child in both weight ranges.

McCain Supporter – Mid-week last week, the story of Ashley Todd, a Pittsburgh area Mccain campaign volunteer, began to circulate on conservative blogs. 20 year old Todd claimed she had been robbed at an ATM and then when the assailant saw her getting into her car with the McCain bumper sticker, he severely assaulted her and carved a “B” into her cheek. She described him as “big and black.” While the conservative blogosphere lit up with discussions about how violent “those people” are and how “blacks needed to be stopped” (quotes whose origins I refuse to link to), McCain himself called Todd and apologized for her ordeal. But for some, the story already stank, as they noted that the photo of Todd post attack, which would have been damning for the Obama campaign, was being withheld by police. Still others, used to the “big black guy did it” defense were not only wary but ready for the racist backlash whether there was such an assailant or not.

People began to question why someone would:

  1. wait around after a mugging to see what car their victim got in to
  2. carve a “B” when most of the logos, campaign info, etc. would lead one to believe it would be an “O” not a “B,”
  3. AND if she was mugged at an ATM why was there no bank footage?

Soon Todd was changing her story, saying the attack was outside the McCain campaign headquarters on her way to the ATM.

McCain’s people called her family to offer condolecenses and readied to make the story a rallying cry. Across the blogosphere the less and less shocking allegiance to racism of McCain supporters had already made it one, as they erased the violent beating of an Obama supporter, the verbal assault of a black cameraman, and the chants of “kill him” and “she deserved it” said about a rape victim mentioned outside a rally, claiming that Obama supporters and black people were “dangerous,” “violent,” and that they had “better learn their place” while McCain supporters had “never” and “would never attack anyone.” Except, they did.

Then, someone got a hold of the photo. Turns out the “B” on Todd’s face was backward and that it was likely carved with a dull object like a ball point pen. Unlike the people attacked by McCain supporters, most caught on tape, Todd had faked it. Now the talk is of her mental health issues and stress under dwindling McCain numbers. She is being depicted by the conservatives as a misguided loyalist who took on too much responsibility for her pre-existing mental health conditions to handle. Much like they claimed the woman who drowned her own children and blamed it on a black man could not be held responsible for her racism because of her post-pardum. (While mental health issues were certainly a factor, lots of people with mental health issues never make racist claims.)

No one is taking responsibility for how willing McCain supporters were to believe a story that had holes all through it from the beginning, or how willing they were to mobilize racialized discourse to support her, all b/c she said her assailant was “big and black” and abused her in the name of a black man with political aspirations. Sound like some other era we know of? McCain can continue to resent such comparisons but until those comparisons are invalid he is out of luck. The far reaching consequences of his current campaign tactics dot the papers and the internet far too often for his “woe is me” to ring of anything but guilt.

Palin Gone Rogue – According to a yahoo news report this a.m. Palin supporters within the McCain camp are saying the Governor has “gone rogue.” Both she and her supporters are rumored to believe that McCain’s people have mishandled her image, costing her credibility and support nationally and in Alaska. They are also said to believe that Mccain intends to blame her should they lose the bid for the white House next month. As a result, Palin is making a concerted effort to interact with the press at rallies and on local radio stations off script and despite visible attempts by “Palin handlers” to keep her away. She has also made it a point to speak out on conservative issues the McCain camp has remained silent on and is said to be planning to continue to criticize McCain campaign decisions with which she disagrees, perhaps even more so now because some body will be blamed if this ticket tanks.

It seems to me that the descension in their ranks has everything to do with McCain’s “forgotten” sexism:

  • his choosing an unvetted woman because he thought women voters would vote with their ovaries and not their brains
  • his belief that he could silence and control a woman who is known for being outspoken and forceful based on nothing more than what one must assume is her gender
  • his condescending handling of her with the press in which she must be perched on her pedastel away from the press unlike any male candidate for the same position (or Ferrarro when she was the first major party VP candidate on the democrat’s side for that matter)
  • his childish belief that a wardrobe worth almost twice the cost of “Joe the Plumer’s” house and more than the average undergrad’s college loan debt would make all us gals ooh and oh at Palin like she really was “Caribou Barbie,”

have all been sexist moves. Worse they have cheapened Palin’s political presence and career, sending her touted approval rating into the ground.

Does that make her any less incompetent to handle foreign affairs and most domestc affairs, or guilty of unethical leadership, bullying, and decisions that run counter to civil, victim’s, and women’s rights? … Umm, no.

However, none of her incompetence excuses McCain’s sexism.

If the yahoo article is to be believed it looks like she is the one who is going to survive this horrendously racialized, xenophobic, and increasingly policy light campaign which demeans both women and poc, and ultimately all N. Americans.

How exactly are you the party of the people when you endanger the lives of a whole segment of the people with racist rhetoric that has translated again and again into violence and threat? How do you claim to represent women when the woman sitting shot gun feels like she is being handled like a porcelain doll? How do you claim to represent the people, especially in a time of recession, when you spend more than most of the people make in a year on 3 months worth of clothes? If I were Palin, I would leave the ticket myself, washing my hands of the stink before it sticks. (Cartoon1: Lukovich AJC 2008, cartoon 2: darkow Columbia Daily Tribune 2008)

McCain Supporter Racism Ok – A McCain supporter, whose property backs up to Territorial Highway, has placed a large sign up against the well traveled highway (but still on his property) that reads:

Got White Guilt? Vote Osama Hussein Biden

When questioned about the sign, Powers repeated key talking points from the latest misleading McCain campaign – that Obama is a terrorist and/ or supports terrorism b/c he “hangs out with Ayres,” his middle name is Hussein so that is another “obvious link,” and Biden is his runningmate. When asked by local reporters on broadcast news if he was concerned that “people thought his sign was racist” or “thought [he] was racist” he responded with “good. let ‘em think that.” Regularly since the “palling around with terrorists” comment a new incident occurs with a McCain supporter that is blatantly racist or xenophobic and when they are called on it, they all fall back on the same talking points from the McCain campaign. How is it that there is anyone left who can honestly claim there is no connection between the tactics Palin and McCain have chosen to use and the increasing public bigotry and potential for violence against black people, Arabs, and Muslims in this country?

WoC students – I cannot tell you the specifics of why I titled this last quickie “WoC students gone” because of ethics. I do however commit to blogging more often and more critically about mentorship of students and juniors of color, about ethical recruitment and treatment of scholars both interviewed and hired, and about how to succeed without internalizing the master’s tools. When you destroy women of color’s faith in themselves as viable intellectuals whether they are students, new faculty, or potential members of either group, you are the evil. When you deny your culpability or project it on to others while claiming to be the helpmate, you are the sickest kind of evil. It may seem as though such behavior is often rewarded in academe, but as I said to those brave and brilliant women, it is a small world and people know. As a student, it is not your job to make it right, it is the job of faculty and admin and in a dysfunctional environment, they know often know how and where to start. Your job is to show up, be prepared, be strong, find and embrace your voice(s), and when it comes time to recruit new students or faculty or program build, ask questions, keep documents, pay attention. When something does not seem right, especially if it follows an established pattern, it probably isn’t. When that pattern includes the appearance of wrongdoing against black faculty or faculty of color in general, again in a way that follows a pattern of diminishment, the levels of unacceptability must be addressed but should not derail you from the work you are there to do. Faculty of color should recognize these patterns and their consequences more readily than students of color, and they should recognize the consequences on the faces of their faculty and their potential faculty. If they don’t, and they become aware of it after the fact, there really should be some discussion of what kind of milieu is making them ineffective and how they will fix it before they put anyone else through the ringer. (Note, I said “should” not “is” or “will be.”) Somethings can be made right and when they aren’t there is no excuse.

Quote of the Week from a Blog Reader

I am wrapping up my travels in the land of P which means live blogging is back in effect starting now. I was at an impromptu retreat with 6 amazing woc professors representing the entire academic lifecycle this side of the PhD: a brand new junior scholar, some “I survived my first and second years,” some endowed chairs of all things everywhere, and some with one toe happily dipping in the retirement pool and me smack dab in the middle. It was the exact right place to be at this moment – when faith gets shaken, the call to mentor from marginalized students is starting to cap my academic email bandwidth (which by the way, why is it not unlimited?), and my hopes and dreams, that always spike this time of year, dance with my disappointments and dread across the landscape of my memories and my waking thoughts about this life in academe. I wish I could give each of those brilliant women a “shout out” but, ours is secret club in the good and blessed way. where we meet and dream together for the strength and peace of the spirit and the doing of the tasks at hand. We have no plans for shaping the world in our image or forcing out the unbelievers who are just as convinced that we are the problem. Instead, we are trying

  • to listen
  • to remember
  • to strengthen
  • to grow.

For endless screed (whose blog has been down for 6 months?! but still has an ejournal and a website) I can give a special shout out for putting the whole thing together. b/c when I asked, she said, making that head cocked to one side face of hers, “dude, I don’t care.” It was good to see her in her home town, her little kid energy is infectious. All of the young ones have that energizer bunny thing going on that makes me wonder if I missed the day they passed out batteries.


I am happy to report that despite the fact that google outed her as an “author of this blog” this past Fall without either of our knowledge/consent, grrrrrr, for those TWO archived pieces here on the Chavez Street controversy and gentrification, she is willing to write a few pieces here again, this time with credit. 😀 When I said, “what about what people said to you when they thought you were me,” she sucked her teeth and said “At least I know who your friends are.” Yep, me too. Ain’t blogging grand. (And this my friends is why I don’t tell you my real name, that and the fact that I don’t represent my uni, organizations to which I belong or for which I volunteer, or am the chair,  at the spot. Reality is, as much as it has hurt my soul to discover, some people are never so honest about what they really think about your politics, or about how they treat people they think have little to no influence, until they think you aren’t in the room.)

So it is in that spirit, that I bring you this week’s Best Quote, it comes from an old comment Selmas made in the Say Hey section. (Some of my feistier colleagues at the retreat are going to be disappointed that I did not use the Puro Pedo quote about women in ethnic studies that had us all rolling on the floor, but think about it, this one fits.)

Selmas was talking about why woc bloggers are important and about how blogging has provided a forum for women of color to not only speak but contribute publicly to the production of feminist knowledge that the publishing industry, departments, and other institutions often deny us or erase. The quote is technically from Alice Walker:

“Anything We Love Can Be Saved.”

This myopic moment has been brought to you by the letter P and the number 6 and a bunch of powerful and amazing women I am proud to know.




  • coffee shop
  • before photo from so curls gallery. image unattributed.
  • untitled. flickr. awcc photostream.


Chican@ Blowout Anniversary

Sadly, in my list of quickies, I forgot to mention the 40th Anniversary of the Chican@ Blowout/Walkout, which was Feb. 7, 2008. Thousands of highschool students walked out of their East LA classrooms 40 years ago to demand education equality and justice for Chican@s. Their struggle ignited generations, paved the way for many to enter some of the most exclusive colleges in California and elsewhere, started the push for Chican@ Studies and the growth of Chican@ faculty. Some of the most radical people I have had the privilege to work with or get to know in academe came out of the consciousness raising and social justice efforts that began with the blowouts.

Not only is this event important to academics but it was a critical moment in the intellectual and political history of our nation. It also marked the move into addressing education widely and radically on the part of pre-existing Chican@ activists and youth leaders. Like the Longest Walk, which is going on now, I hope these cornerstones in our radical social justice history reinvigorate our nation and show that despite what we have been told, there are seriously committed and intelligent youth working toward change in N. America.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic:

  • HBO did a film about it that my students hated calledposterchicanstudies Walkout – it has its flaws but it is a good primer for people who don’t know anything about the events to get them excited about learning a more accurate version of the story. (And WS folks, it centers on a female protagonist.)

  • UCSB will be having a conference to commemorate the Blowout with Sal Castro, one of the movement’s founders as keynote speaker. more here.
  • you may also want to attend UCSB’s sponsored talk by Mario Garcia entitled “Pedagogy of Chicano Power” which will discuss the Mexican American Youth Leadership Conference and the movement that resulted. The conference was the precursor to the blowouts. (talk: Wed. Feb. 13 noon UCSB IHC Conference room)