This Saturday I'll be on a panel at Left Forum titled "Racism and Resistance in the Immigration Debate," with former FAIR communications director Isabel Macdonald, Monica Novoa of Drop the I-Word, Sonia Guinansaca of the New York State Youth Leadership Council and Esther Kaplan of the Nation Institute, moderated by my former Paper Tiger colleague Denisse Andrade. Below is the description. I'll be talking about my recent article, "Time to 'Drop and Leave' Loaded Language," among other things. If you're in the New York area, stop by for what should be a very interesting conversation. Racist, dehumanizing terms such as [...]
While defending Rep. Peter King's (R.-N.Y.) congressional hearings on domestic Muslim extremism, Bill O'Reilly (3/9/11) scoffed at the notion that the biggest domestic terror threats in the U.S. come from the "radical right" and not from homegrown Muslims. After playing a clip of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Mark Potok making that argument, O'Reilly responded: Are you kidding me? The radical right? The last terror act assigned to them was the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995. In reality, acts of political violence connected to the far right are a regular occurrence. To make his claim, O'Reilly even had to overlook [...]
Today the New York Times reports that an arrest has been made in connection with an attempted bombing at the Martin Luther King Day parade in Spokane, Washington. As we pointed out here, the case has generated relatively little media coverage–in contrast to attempted domestic terrorism attacks (or even alleged plots) connected to Muslims. The suspect is Kevin Harpham–as the Times points out, he is linked to a white supremacist group: Law enforcement officials would not say whether Mr. Harpham had links to extremist groups. But the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks such groups, said that its research showed [...]
One of the big problems with recentcoverage of immigration was the portrayal of the state of Arizona as a remarkably violent place due to the flood of unauthorized immigrants.It was a stew of misinformation, and one of the most prevalent claims was that Phoenix was The Kidnapping Capital of the Country (and No. 2 inthe entire world). That story always looked a little shaky, as this ThinkProgress review pointed out (7/9/10). Now it looks like there could be more problems. A brief item in the New York Times today (3/4/11) reported that Phoenix's public safety managerwas suspended while an audit [...]
The owner of the Washington Redskins football team, Dan Snyder, is suing the local City Paper for publishing an unflattering cover image of him–namely, a photo doctored to include devil horns. That imagewasaccompanied by an article about Snyder'sbusiness practices. Rob Capriccioso of Indian Country Today points out (2/1/11) thatthe suit alleges the cover art is "the type of imagery used historically, including in Nazi Germany, to dehumanize and vilify the Jewish people." And, well…. The claim comes as ironic to many observers since Native Americans have for over a decade been suing Snyder for his use of the Redskins name [...]
As we approach the Monday holiday, we're hearinga Pentagon lawyer suggest that Martin Luther King would support the war in Afghanistan. That makes it an ideal time torecall a 1995 column by FAIR founder Jeff Cohen and longtime associate Norman Solomon (Media Beat, 1/4/95). The full column appearsbelow, and is archived here. The Martin Luther King You Don't See on TV by Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon It's become a TV ritual: Every year in mid-January, around the time of Martin Luther King's birthday, we get perfunctory network news reports about "the slain civil rights leader." The remarkable thing about [...]
The Scott sisters (Gladys and Jamie) were serving doublelife sentences in a Mississippi state prison over the supposed role they played in an armed robbery that amounted to $11. At the end of 2010 their sentences were suspended by Governor Haley Barbour, provided that Jamie receive a kidney donation from her sister. The sisters' ordeal, as columnist Richard Prince wrote back in November,came tonationalattention thanks largely to a November 2008 piece in the Black Commentator by Nancy Lockhart, which then spread throughout black-oriented blogs andtalk radio, as well as the alternative media (Prince cites a piece by James Ridgewayof Mother [...]
On Friday, Fox News anchor Trace Gallagher took a study that says there are 100,000 fewer Hispanics in Arizona than there were before the debate over the state's disputed anti-immigrant law, and reported it as 100,000 fewer "illegals." By conflating Hispanics with "illegals," Gallagher inadvertently illustrates the case made by opponents of the law.
I clicked on the Washington Post website on Sunday and saw this: We Overreact to Prejudice Instead of Airing It Out By Kathleen Parker Only someone who's pondered Barack Obama's "fullbloodedness" and Elena Kagan's distance from "mainstream" America (hint: She's Jewish, and from New York!) can do this. Parker also wrote a memorable column about Barack Obama being too "girly," then explained in a follow-up that, unlike African-Americans,she has the "luxury of seeing people without the lens of race." Kathleen Parker is indeed an expert in "airing out" prejudice.
Monday's front-page New York Times piece, "'Culture of Poverty,' Long an Academic Slur, Makes a Comeback," is about how it's okay again for scholars to talk about the "culture of poverty" and to study "cultural" aspects of the subject. It's a trend reporter Patricia Cohen suggests vindicates Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who popularized the term in the mid-'60s when he infamously wrote that much of black America was caught up in a "tangle of pathology" resulting from "the weakness of the [black] family structure," which he called "the principal source of most of the aberrant, inadequate or antisocial behavior that did [...]
Isabel Macdonald, a former FAIR staff member, published an article in the Nation (10/7/10) revealing that undocumented workers had been landscaping Lou Dobbs' Florida home and looking after his daughter's show horses. As a hardline commentator on the issue of "illegal immigrant workers," one would think Dobbs would be a little embarrassed about this discovery. When Dobbs and Macdonald appeared on MSNBC's Last Word (10/7/10) yesterday to debate the issue, Macdonald pointed out that "Lou Dobbs, who has made himself an emblem of this get-tough approach to immigration…had been exploiting undocumented labor." Dobbs attempted to sidestep the issue by claiming [...]
Martin Peretz, owner/editor of the New Republic, has come under fire recently for his anti-Muslim comments–leading to protests at Harvard, where Peretz is scheduled to be honored with an endowed chair in social studies named for him. Peretz's bigotry has been well-known for years–and is not confined to Muslims or Arabs, though those may be the most frequent targets of his prejudice. Here's a remark made by Peretz at a forum on black/Jewish relations in 1994 (New York Newsday, 3/28/94; Washington Post, 3/28/94; cited in Extra!, 3-4/96): So many people in the black population are afflicted by deficiencies, and I [...]
In the New York Times today (9/20/10), Michael Shear writes: But as the first full week of the 2010 general election season opens across the country on Monday, Washington is scheduled once again to debate immigration and gay men, lesbians and bisexuals in the military, two deeply divisive social issues that threaten to polarize the conversation on the campaign trail. Repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is widely supported by the public. Public opinion on immigration policy is somewhat more complex; this story is referring tothelegislation known as the DREAM Act,which would provide a path to citizenship for students who have [...]