Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hegemony as 'Common Sense'

Has the Whole World Gone Mad?
First SB1070, and now this:

James' tagline is 'common sense,' which is code for 'hegemony' and a dominant rhetoric that validates subjugation. By James' rationale, it only makes sense to institutionalize ideology that privileges ignorance and make English the only legal language. Chingow!

Update (5/6):
Every time I look at my blog and see this video, I feel like I'm haven't devoted as much energy as I should to be critical of it. So, instead of writing more academic discourse that highlights the racialized messages embedded in the 'common sense' message, I figured I'd make use of the visual and audio juxtaposition that blogs provide.
Compare and Contrast

Power Lines

Inspiration for Collaboration
Dr. Aimee Carrillo Rowe spoke at a Feminist Action Research in Rhetoric (FARR) event, hosted by Dr. Adela Licona's Bodies of Knowledge seminar, which is organized around looking at bodies as gendered and racialized social identities, as well as the examination of the historical formations of these identities. The literature creates moments of disruption that allow us to focus on dominant assumptions and who is given authority to create and hold knowledge. In Dr. Carrillo Rowe’s “Whose America”? The Politics of Rhetoric and Space in the Formation of U.S. Nationalism,” I was surprised and saddened by how fitting this piece was in the shadow of the recent immigration legislation SB1070 here in Arizona.

Carrillo Rowe criticizes the issues raised by SB 1070 and "the state’s protection of citizens and the deeply embedded racist and imperialistic assumptions that undergird U.S. citizenship.” Carrillo Rowe's scholarship with Licona reminds us though how identity shifts across geographic space, encouraging us to be productive participants in this shift. I promise to write more about Carrillo Rowe's talk from her book Power Lines: On the Subject of Feminist Alliances.

Click Here to go to the Preface

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cheech, what do we do?

Reality Mirroring Art
With the passing of SB1070, I genuinely hope that this politicized issue is only that: a political ploy to get McCain and Brewer reelected by the conservative majority. Immigration is a much more complex issue that requires reform beyond turning Arizona into a police state. I am glad to see Obama has criticized the immigration bill that will potentially ruin many lives for political gain of few.
Which leads me to film Born in East L.A., in which Cheech Marin plays a Mexican American wrongfully deported to Mexico because he is unable to provide a green card during an INS raid. In this scene, we see that SB 1070's provision to provide documentation hasn't previously proven to have a track record as a panacea for immigration reform.

Undocumented laborers, like everyone following the flow of capital, will respond with innovations to work the system in much the same way that global companies pursue higher profit margins by switching to countries with cheaper labor forces, with no regard for human rights violations. Arizona's economy is in the tank and the conservatives in power know that if they support any anti-immigration issue, they'll get the votes they need. It's the unfortunate reality of politics and power using fear to motivate the majority without concern for what happens to communities.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Electro Movimiento

On-line Coalitions
No, I don't mean the Calle 13 song when I say "Electro Movimiento." I wanted to compliment all of the on-line movements against SB1070, including those on Facebook like
1 MILLION Strong AGAINST the Arizona Immigration Law SB1070 and The People Against SB 1070 Also, organizations like ¡Alto Arizona! have had an on-line presence, which has helped to spread awareness, and hopefully address the bill as a step backwards in Civil Rights

As with any discussion of race, many non-minority or racially marked persons have difficulty speaking about this bill because their standpoints do not allow them to live the experience of a racially marked person. For this reason, there is a lot of discussion of legal rhetoric in order for supporters of SB1070 to play the rhetorical shell-game of, 'we're not talking about race, we're talking about a legal issue.' It would be helpful for people who do not see it as a racial profiling issue to acknowledge that this is not something they have experienced in their realities, and might therefore respect the opinions of those who have, and fear for its institutionalization within the spirit of this law, if not in the letter.

A conversation that needs to be discussed is the One Cent tax to try and save Arizona schools from having to proceed with massive layoffs.
For more information on Prop 100

Update: Video of an anti-SB1070 Rally in Tucson

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Literacy is Cultural

My Digital Literacy Narrative

So I've been checking back on the Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives, and I found that mine has been posted. It's like 14 mins long--didn't realize I did so much talking--but watching it, I remember why I posted on this earlier. The DALN project at Ohio State is an interesting project for all of the different ways that it can provide examples for Literacy Narratives in digital form; although, as someone who's participated and contributed to the archive, I really feel like it was just an amazing opportunity to speak about literacy in an intimate way--yes, technology and new media can allow for intimate, mediated experiences that might not have been possible if it were not for the presence and potential permanence that new media objects offer.

If you're interested in seeing me rattle on for 14 mins about the impact of culture on my literacy, click on the link, and then click on the view/open link of the page.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Speak Against Draconian Rights Violations

From yahoo:

"Arizona Illegal-Immigrant Law Draws Strong Opposition

The toughest anti-illegal-immigrant measure in a generation passed the Arizona legislature this week. If signed, as expected, by Republican governor Jan Brewer, the law will give local police sweeping new powers in regard to undocumented workers. Currently, immigration offenses are violations of federal, not state, law, and local police officers only can inquire about a person's immigration status if that person is suspected of another crime. Under SB1070, however, Arizona police will have the right to stop anyone on "reasonable suspicion" that they may be an illegal immigrant and can arrest them if they are not carrying a valid driver's license or identity papers." (source Yahoo News)

Write Gov. Jan Brewer and Tell Her What You Think about this Terrible Use of Tax Money

Jan Brewer's contact information (photos from Jan Brewer's Photo Gallery)
The full mailing address is:
The Honorable Jan Brewer
Governor of Arizona
1700 West Washington
Phoenix, Arizona 85007

Telephone (602) 542-4331
Toll Free 1-(800) 253-0883
Fax (602) 542-1381

Or click on the link to fill out a form e-mail (what I did)

Brewer is responding to the conservative scare-tactics that try to make the people of Arizona worry about hard-working undocumented laborers; instead, the people of Arizona should be worrying about the massive school district layoffs.

If you're not sure how to voice your outrage, feel free to mention some of these points:

  • Arizona's budget crisis has state resources stretched thin, making the stress on state law enforcement even greater
  • Many undocumented people work for substandard living, providing services to many small and larger local businesses in Arizona, contributing to Social Security funds that they will never cash in on, and paying retail taxes for all of their purchases in this country.
  • this law is a misappropriation of state funds that will only serve to weaken an already stressed economy.
  • Instead of putting this money into harassing hard-working people in our country, this money would be put to better use, reinvesting into the educational system of our state that has been hit with many school district firings.
  • With an emphasis on education in our state, we might better strengthen our state infrastructure, making it a more attractive option for businesses to bring revenue and job-creating industry.
  • Border patrol fulfill a certain need, one of which being the enforcement of illegal drug smuggling

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Be Healthy

It's especially hard this time of year with papers to write and grade, but perhaps a better reason to be reminded of healthy practices...
(Reposted from a message from Dr. Cintli)

Running or walking April 24

"Please let me know if you will be running on April 24 at 6:30 a.m. from A Mountain to El RIo Neighborhood Center -- in support of the Ultimate Food Fight. A Walk will also take place from Joaquin Murrietta at 7 a.m. to El RIo Neighborhood Center. (picture from UA News)

My students have made some awesome T-Shirts for April 24. This is to bring awareness to the obesity, diabetes & heart disease (including cancer) crises among the Mexican-Indigenous communities in. Southern Arizona. If you believe you might want a T-Shirt, please let me know. Because we need to raise a few funds, we will be selling the T-Shirts for $25 each.

You can see a mock-up of the T-shirt in the story (it's an excellent story) re The Ultimate Food Fight at UA NEWS at:
Also, please see attached flyers (In Spanish or English). Please post, forward, or create an event on Facebook, etc...

If you would like to contribute or participate in any way, please do so and if you have a question, please write/call.

Again, if you believe you may run or walk -- which will send out a powerful message -- please let me know so those planning can make appropriate accomodations. If all goes right, this will become an annual event as these crises are not going away. My students have learned that while they are here to stay, the diseases and health conditions can be prevented by good healthy eating and that we don't need to sacrifice taste for health & nutrition."

The theme of promoting healthy eating habits reminds me of the Dead Prez song "Be Healthy", not like I ever need an excuse to listen to some and M-1.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Online Slideshows: Useful or Tacky

Integrating New Media

Interested in the use of new media for the purposes of information dissemination, I've been taking it upon myself to become more familiar with different mediums (because they are the message?) With the book publication GEAR UP is doing with Tucson schools, I've recently had to become familiar with InDesign to perform some amateur typesetting, but I was also curious about the creation of new media object using existing media objects we already use. I embedded a slideshow of art work incorporating the notion of Nepantilism, which motivated me to upload presentations I've done in the past as a way of creating new media subjects from past objects, made new in a novel medium.

I'm pasting the link because I think the medium for now is more interesting that than the message. However, the large number of advertisements that the host site displays leave me conflicted about whether this particular means of spreading information doesn't unintentionally simultaneously disseminate a dominant capitalist discourse?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

If I Lived in Columbus, OH...

...I Would Attend Frederick Luis Aldama's ReadAloud
(reposted from Hot Off the Press blog)
ReadAloud Special : Latino Comics Program in Thompson Library Room 130
April 13, 2010 4-5 pm
Professor Aldama will be discussing his work by and about Latinos in comics and graphic novels-mainstream and alternative-that appears his book, Your Brain on Latino Comics. He will lecture on mainstream comic book representations of Latino superheroes from the late 1970s till today as well as how Latino author/artists working today use the visual and verbal elements of the comic book medium to affect the cognitive and emotional responses of their readers.Frederick Luis Aldama is Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of English at the Ohio State University where he uses the tools of narratology and research in the cognitive- and neuro- sciences in his teaching and scholarship on Latino and Postcolonial literature, film, and comic books. He is the editor of five collections of essays and author of seven books, including most recently A User’s Guide to Post-colonial and Latino Borderland A User’s Guide to Post-colonial and Latino Borderland Fiction.

I've posted on Aldama's recent book Your Brain on Latino Comics, but most recently I've been looking at his A User's Guide to Postcolonial and Latino Borderland Fiction. Aldama writes that User's Guide is the "third installment in this unofficial trilogy", including Brown on Brown and Postethnic Narrative Criticism. It also just so happens I was looking at a chapter in his 2008 Why the Humanities Matter as a supplemental part of a seminar on literacy and the decline of the humanities--the chapter on "The 'Cultural Studies Turn'" and the emphasis on L.A. gang life in Brown studies gets back to questions of representation, but also points out the link to the fascination of working class youth in revolt by British researchers of culture.

Friday, April 2, 2010

What Gets Sold

Representations in the Media

Following up with my previous post on Spike Lee's talk at the University of Arizona, I wanted to illustrate an interesting point Lee made regarding representation in his film Bamboozled. He commented that he wanted the film to provide an example of not just how African Americans have been portrayed, but also how negative representations of women, Asians, Native Americans and other marginalized groups are perpetuated in the media.

During the Q&A session, someone asked what they called the 'obligatory question' about Lee's criticism of Tyler Perry's films and movies for their perpetuation of some hurtful stereotypes. Lee pointed out that from that interview, people have focused on his negative remarks, even though he complimented how Perry has created his own audience and his business savvy. Lee said that he understands that everyone doesn't have the same tastes, but he also understands that there are overlapping fans who like his work, and those who like Perry and other filmmakers like John Singleton.

This is an issue that Native American writer Sherman Alexie addresses in his essay "I Hated Tonto (Still Do)", in which Alexie writes about enjoying cowboy and Indian movies even though the representations of Native Americans were stereotypical. Alexie writes, ""Well, it's better than nothing."Yes, that became our battle cry."

A theory in Cognitive Sciences explains this phenomenon as the members of the group preferring a negative representation rather than a feeling of invisibility. As the Damon Wayans character in the trailer explains, selling positive representations of marginalized groups in film can be extremely difficult. In his discussion Spike Lee explained how he had to seek alternative funding for Malcolm X, and how he hasn't been able to get other epics about other prominent African Americans green lit to be made.