This is a great piece by Héctor Tobar, a Journalism professor at the University of Oregon. By telling a personal story about his growing up in Los Angeles and the effect that had and interweaving some education policy talk, Tobar illustrates the important connection between bilingualism and political power. Policies like the one in effect until recently in California literally silence minority communities.
This is part of the broader picture I’m beginning to see of bilingualism as a type of resistance that is radical in its unifying power and transgressive in its rejection of dominant culture. Of course, in my local situation, in Japan, the power structure is turned upside-down. So, my struggle, strangely enough is teaching my children English against the background of Japanese majority culture and language. But, of course, globally, Western European (White), colonial, English-speaking is the giant. I suppose everywhere you go will have its own unique language situation with various kinds and levels of dominance and resistance being played out. In North America its pretty much English versus all-comers. And this California law is recognition of the diversity of the United States and a victory for what might be called linguistic justice.
Why We Are Protesting in Charlotte
By WILLIAM BARBER II SEPT. 23, 2016
Charlotte, N.C. — Since a police officer shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday afternoon, the ensuing protests have dominated national news. Provocateurs who attacked police officers and looted stores made headlines. Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency, and the National Guard joined police officers in riot gear, making the Queen City look like a war zone.
Speaking on the campaign trail in Pittsburgh on Thursday, Donald J. Trump offered a grave assessment: “Our country looks bad to the world, especially when we are supposed to be the world’s leader. How can we lead when we can’t even control our own cities?” Mr. Trump seems to want Americans to believe, as Representative Robert Pittenger, a Republican whose district includes areas in Charlotte, told the BBC, that black protesters in the city “hate white people because white people are successful and they’re not.”
But Charlotte’s protests are not black people versus white people. They are not black people versus the police. The protesters are black, white and brown people, crying out against police brutality and systemic violence. If we can see them through the tear gas, they show us a way forward to peace with justice.
On Thursday, I joined 50 Charlotte-area clergy members who were on the streets this week. Yes, a few dozen provocateurs did damage property and throw objects at the police, after being provoked by the officers’ tear gas, rubber bullets and military-style maneuvers. But as we saw, thousands more have peacefully demonstrated against the institutional violence in their communities.
That systemic violence, which rarely makes headlines, creates the daily traumatic stress that puts our communities on edge, affecting both those of us who live there and outside observers who often denounce “black-on-black” crime. We cannot have a grown-up conversation about race in America until we acknowledge the violent conditions engendered by government policy and police practice.Anyone who is concerned about violence in Charlotte should note that no one declared a state of emergency when the city’s schools were resegregated, creating a school-to-prison pipeline for thousands of poor African-American children. Few voiced outrage over the damage caused when half a million North Carolinians were denied health insurance because the Legislature refused to expand Medicaid.
When Charlotte’s poor black neighborhoods were afflicted with disproportionate law enforcement during the war on drugs, condemning a whole generation to bad credit and a lack of job opportunities, our elected representatives didn’t call it violence. When immigration officers raid homes and snatch undocumented children from bus stops, they don’t call it violence. But all of these policies and practices do violence to the lives of thousands of Charlotte residents.
As a pastor and an organizer, I do not condone violent protest. But I must join the Charlotte demonstrators in condemning the systemic violence that threatened Mr. Scott’s body long before an officer decided to use lethal force against him. And I must condemn the militarization of Charlotte by the authorities who do not want to address the fundamental concerns of protesters. For black lives to matter in encounters with the police, they must also matter in public policy.
The North Carolina N.A.A.C.P. has called for full transparency in the Scott case, including a Justice Department investigation. There are still many unanswered questions, which is why we demand that the governor release video from body cameras recording the shooting. And we want accountability for officers who did not have their body cameras on when they confronted Mr. Scott while he was waiting for his son to get off the school bus.
Our protests are about more than the Scott case. Every child on that bus — every person in Mr. Scott’s neighborhood — is subject to systemic violence every day, violence that will only increase if Mr. Trump and others continue to exploit the specter of violent protests for political gain.We have seen this before. After the civil rights movement pushed this nation to face its institutionalized racism, we made significant efforts to address inequality through the war on poverty. We did not lose that war because we lacked resources or met insurmountable obstacles. We lost it because Richard M. Nixon’s “Southern strategy” played on white fears about black power by promising to “restore order” without addressing the root causes of unrest.
In the Scriptures, the prophet Jeremiah denounces false prophets for crying “peace, peace when there is no peace.” We cannot condemn the violence of a small minority of protesters without also condemning the overwhelming violence that millions suffer every day.
Instead, let’s look again at the vast, diverse majority of the protesters. This is what democracy looks like. We cannot let politicians use the protests as an excuse to back reactionary “law and order” measures. Instead, we must march and vote together for policies that will lift up the whole and ensure the justice that makes true peace possible.
Cartoonist Garry Trudeau has been writing about Trump and a possible run for the presidency for nearly 30 years, prompting Trump to call him “a third-rate talent,” “a sleazeball,” “a jerk” and “a total loser.” Trudeau is the creator of the popular comic strip “Doonesbury” and the first cartoonist to win the Pulitzer Prize. In September 1987, Trudeau published a series of comic strips that now seem prophetic. In one strip, reporters ask Trump a series of questions about his political ambitions to run for Congress, and Trump responds, “President, think president.” Trump has remained a frequent character in “Doonesbury” ever since, giving Trudeau a chance to make fun of everything from Trump’s hair to his ego to his rampant use of insults. His cartoons have just been collected in a new book titled “Yuge!: 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump.”
The scurrilous attempt by North Carolina Republicans to suppress the rising power of black voters was struck down on Friday by a federal appeals court that concluded that the state’s voting strictures “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision.”
The decision means that the voting power of black citizens in the important swing state will not be hobbled in November by a repressive 2013 law that the court found was steeped in blatant racism, in violation of the Constitution. “Because of race, the Legislature enacted one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history,” the court ruled.The court, in finding that the law was designed as a deliberate tool to reduce the African-American vote, is the latest to beat back attempts by Republican statehouses to interfere with minority and new voters.
This month, a federal appeals court blocked the voter identification law in Texas, a law that had the effect of disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of people, with a disproportionate impact on black and Latino voters. And a federal court in Wisconsin this month found new voters suffered discrimination under a strict new photo ID law passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature.
Republicans in North Carolina, as in the other states, argued that widespread voter fraud justified the law. However, research studies have shown voter fraud to be statistically minuscule. The North Carolina law had imposed new photo identification requirements on voters and ended procedures favored particularly in black and Democratic political drives, including allowing voter registration on Election Day, and early voting. It also blocked out-of-precinct voting and preregistration of 16- and 17-year-olds.
Significantly, the appeals court noted that the restrictions were enacted by the state within weeks of the Supreme Court ruling that struck down a crucial part of the Voting Rights Act — the requirement that states with histories of racial discrimination obtain preclearance from the federal government for any voting changes. The Legislature moved quickly, the appellate judges found, and first “requested data on the use, by race, of a number of voting practices.” The General Assembly then enacted an “omnibus” bill of restrictions, “all of which disproportionately affected African-Americans,” the court found.
The court also noted that Republican lawmakers were swift to respond “in the immediate aftermath of unprecedented African-American participation” in 2012, which is particularly troubling in state with a history of racially polarized voting. If the voting restrictions had not been struck down, they would have been a sizable hurdle for black voters.
Legal challenges against similar voter-suppression laws in other states are making their way through the federal courts. Any and all these could be crucial in securing a fair and credible election result in November.
For all the lofty rhetoric the nation heard in the last two weeks about democracy at the Republican and Democratic Party conventions, these recent federal court decisions show the grimier reality of politics and the bitter struggle for basic fairness beyond the national spotlight. The black voters of North Carolina have won a major victory and will now have a better chance of making a difference come November.
As Black Lives Matter protests have swept the country in recent weeks, we end today’s show with the story of one dishwasher at Yale University who has decided to take the university’s history of racism into his own hands—or his own broomstick, in this case. Corey Menafee worked for Yale for about eight years. In June, as he was cleaning a dining room in Yale’s residential dorm Calhoun College, Menafee stood on top of a table and used a broomstick to break a stained-glass window depicting enslaved Africans carrying bales of cotton. Menafee said the image is racist and degrading and that he had become sick of seeing it every day. Calhoun College is named after former Vice President John C. Calhoun, one of the most prominent pro-slavery figures in history. For years students have demanded Yale change the building’s name. Yale University police arrested Menafee and charged him with reckless endangerment and felony mischief. But on Wednesday, after Yale students and community members demonstrated in support of Menafee, Yale University announced it has dropped the charges. We speak to Corey Menafee and Craig Steven Wilder, author of the book “Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities.”
In a stunning defeat, the North Carolina House voted down a bill that would have made changes to the Asheville city council. Check out the audio for the House debate around Senate Bill 897. It looks like even some Republicans are waking up and moving away from the reckless, heavy-handed local government meddling that gave us House Bill 2. This could be an important turning point for the NC Legislature. And it’ s a great way to head into Statewide Elections Season. The Democrats are in a great position to pick up some seats this November– and maybe the Governorship too!