Sunday, October 31, 2010


After going in depth and doing some research, I’ve decided to change my topic from Acting Up Against Aids to the Los Angeles Riots. The 1992 Los Angeles Riots, 1992 Los Angeles Civil Unrest and Rodney King Uprising, were sparked on April 29, 1992, when a jury acquitted four Los Angeles Police Department officers accused in the videotaped beating of black motorist Rodney King following a high-speed pursuit. Thousands of people in the Los Angeles area rioted over the six days following the verdict. Widespread looting, assault, arson and murder occurred, and property damages topped roughly US$1 billion. In all, 53 people died during the riots and thousands more were injured. The following are links that I found useful information about this conversational riot in Los Angeles 1992.
Ø This link is a city search essay document relating to this riot and other riots about police brutality in the past.
Ø This links gives me detail to detail proof and information regarding Rodney King incidents that led to the Los Angeles riots.
Ø This link described the events and occurrences that happen after the riots and Rodney King’s case.
Ø,28804,1614117_1614084_1614831,00.html- This link is a special Time magazine edition fifteen years after the Rodney King 1992 riots in Los Angeles. This links talks about the aftermath and disturbance during the riots in Los Angeles.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Extra Credit

 This article excerpted from the New York Times written by Maggie Jones, was very strong and a moving piece of work. This article mostly refers to four college females who attend U.C.L.A that are immigrants in better terms “undocumented”. These young ladies are making a movement in term with the law that was passed in 2001 called the “The Dream Act”. The Dream Act which would create a pathway to legal residency for immigrants who arrived in this country as children, have been in the United States for at least five years and have graduated from a U.S. high school or obtained a G.E.D. To gain status, they would have to finish
two years of college or military service. Supporters argue that the legislation benefits ambitious, academically successful students who will go on to professional careers. Without the Dream Act, many of those same young people will be stuck, much like their parents, in the underground economy. This article mainly forces on one particular young lady, Leslie whose 22 years old and come from Mexico, The author tells us about her day to day struggles being an illegal college student who work three jobs and have to help her mother financially whenever she can. Leslie has hopes and aspirations of attending graduate school after graduation, unfortunately that may not be a possible for Leslie in the near future. Due to her status has an immigrant she wouldn’t be able to afford grad school or get a decent job due to this, which is sad for someone who obtains a Bachelor’s degree to be belittled at a job cleaning houses, working at fast food restaurants or baby sitting jobs.  Furthermore, the author also addresses a few rallies and protest immigrants particularly young females whose in college under this bill are fighting for. One particular incident was on May 17, five activists walked into John McCain’s office, dressed in matching royal blue graduation gowns and caps. (McCain was in Washington.)They sat down in the reception area under an American flag, and for more than six hours they refused to leave, calling for McCain to support the Dream Act and the bill’s passage. Around 6 p.m., Tucson police officers arrested everyone in the group except Unzueta, who had agreed to serve as the group’s spokeswoman. The activists spent that night at the Pima County jail, before Carrillo, Mateo and Abdollahi were transferred to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement processing facility. Carrillo’s heart sank when she and Mateo were led into a windowless, concrete room with cement benches and a heavy metal door that shut behind them. Over the next several hours, Carrillo said, immigration officials repeatedly told her and Mateo that they would be sent to an immigration detention center, a fate undocumented immigrants assiduously try to avoid.  Before reading this article, I wasn’t aware about these laws and The Dream Act policy at all.  After reading this article, I’m more aware of these laws and what immigrants especially college bound and educated students have to go through to be legal immigrants.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Internalized Racism

Black is Beautiful
Internalized racism still exists in today’s society. Many people throughout the world experiences internalized racism one way or another. When Malcolm X, was growing up in the thirties many African Americans subconsciously absorb the notion that “having a lighter skin complexion and having white features was always better than having darker skin complexion with afro centric features.  Malcolm X experienced internalized racism at a very young age from his parents and society. Malcolm X shared many stories throughout his autobiography about incidents he encountered from being light skinned. Malcolm X even depicted himself and said “I was among the million of Negroes who were insane enough to feel that it was some kind of status symbol to be light-complexioned- that one was fortunate to be born thus. I learned to hate every drop of that white rapist’s blood that was in me”. That statement alone tells us of Malcolm X character and the fact that he hated being light skinned in every way possible and also had that same ideology that every other African American holds to this day.
Malcolm X father Reverend Earl Little, was a strong African American man who had strong values and believes and was under the influence of Marcus Garvey (who was an Jamaican Activist) and was one of his followers for his organization U.N.I.A (Universal Negro Improvement Association), who was raising the banner of black-race purity and exhorting the Negro masses to return to their ancestral African homeland. Yet, Mr. Little with his strong beliefs absorbs this mentality. He was belligerent to his the rest of his children but favored Malcolm because of his light complexion. Malcolm was never scolded by his dad and used to accompany his father to his U.N.I.A meetings. And to add insult to injury, Mr. Little married a very fair skin lady who was bi-racial and could pass for a white lady. One can tell by the descriptions I portrayed of Mr. Little the kind of man he was, I wouldn’t necessarily call him a hypocrite of his own preaching’s about the black power movement. Another way Malcolm, encountered internalized racism due to his light complexion was from his mother, it seems in a way his mother held some kind of resentment towards him because of his complexion. She treated the rest of her children who were darker than Malcolm better and gave Malcolm more hell for being light skinned. She used to tell him “Let the sun shine on you so you can get some color.” It’s very ironic how Malcolm’s mother was light skin herself and has some resentment towards Malcolm, because of his complexion. Most likely, because her father was a white rapist and hated every inch of her father, probably that’s one reason why his mother treated him the worst out of her all her children. The message Malcolm X, was trying to address to his readers you can’t judge a book by its cover. For a perfect example, his father a powerful strong follower was brainwashed by this ideology about having a lighter skin complexion is better than being dark skinned.
In my personal opinion, people still have this ideology about being light skinned and having white features. Decades upon decades many African American women mainly dark skin women wanted to be lighter and weren’t satisfied with themselves because of this. Many of them use bleaching cream and make-up to make them appear lighter than they are. Also using straightening products, such as relaxers and flat irons to make them look like they have straight soft hair and not nappy course like hair. This ideology was brainwashed in societies mind from the beginning of time, but I do also believe that the media plays a major role with this belief has well. Many models on videos and magazines are usually light-skinned with soft beautiful long hair. And many females’ even little girls have low self-esteem about them and can’t accept themselves for who they are. I really do believe it’s sad to see African American women go out their way to be something or someone their not.  I believe black is beautiful, the darker and softer your complexion is makes you more beautiful and exotic. In today’s society, we have strong African American females such as Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelo and Condoleezza  Rice to name a few who embrace and love the fact their African American with afro centric features. Below I have a poem that really stood out to me.

A Black Woman, Nothing Else
There used to be a time when
I was ashamed of my skin.
I received tormenting jokes
from all of my friends.

Of course it wasn't done
to make me feel this way
But being black gave me much dismay.
"African, charcoal, Black Baby",
I would hear

But no one even noticed or knew
that I had silent tears.
Those names became nicknames and
I'd hear them everyday at school
‘Cause when I was young and growing up
I'd play by my peers rules.

One day when I was still young
my father left us all
and married a white woman
who beckoned his every call.

I was really ashamed of my skin then,
I thought it was very bad,
I thought the white woman had something
which I could never have.

But one day when I was still young
I met a black lady darker than I was,
she cherished and boasted that her
Color was a gift from above.

She told me that I was beautiful -
Something no one had ever done.
She said, "your skin is
So black and smooth-

Which shows the perfecting of the sun".
She said, "To match the pretty black skin
Your teeth are white as snow
And I'm sure that you will show them
Everywhere that you go".
Everyday she would tell me this
And her words began to spread.
They came from other people
I never even met.
The words of my friends changed to,
"Let me feel your face
And let me see you grin"-
For sister, you are beautiful-
Be proud of the color of your skin.

Now, I'm not ashamed of my skin
Though obstacles it may bring.
I proclaim to the world that I am
A Black Woman, the element of spring.

I blossom with happiness
And pride within myself
For I am A Black Woman
And I wish to be nothing else.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

"ACTing UP against AIDS"

ACTing UP against AIDS

While researching on different areas of political work of art and artistic/ cultural act of protest to write about for my final research assignment, I’ve decided to write about the protest movement ACTing UP against AIDS. Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). AIDS is now a pandemic. In 2007, it was estimated that 33.2 million people lived with the disease worldwide, and that AIDS killed an estimated 2.1 million people, including 330,000 children. ACTing UP against AIDS protest was formed in New York City in March 1987, by a group of diverse, nonpartisan group of individuals united in anger and committed to direct action to end the AIDS Crisis. I feel very strongly about ACTing UP against AIDS protest and movement and what it stands for. AIDS was a fairly new disease in the late eighties, and never had a voice to stop the epidemic disease from spreading. ACTing UP against AIDS was that voice that society needed to send the message across about the prevention, dangers and effects of AIDS. In the late eighties, many people weren’t educated about the effects and dangers of AIDS.  ACTing UP against AIDS is a powerful group of individuals that stands for something strong and meaningful. Everyone should be educated about preventing AIDS, and try to make an effort to stop this incurable disease from spreading and ruining innocent people lives.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

"Mississppi GODDAM"

            Eunice Kathleen Waymon better know as Nina Simone was born on February 21, 1933 in Tyron, North Carolina. She was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger and civil rights activist. During the time of the civil rights movement, many artists throughout the country from Bob Dylan to Nina Simone wrote many songs to express their feelings towards the civil rights movement.
             Mississippi GODDAM” was the first song out of
many that Nina Simone openly addresses the racial inequality that was going on in the United States. The song was written and performed by Nina Simone and was debuted on her album Nina Simone in Concert, which was performed in Carnegie Hall in 1964. Mississippi GODDAM” was her own personal reaction of the murder of Medgar Evers and the killing of four black children in Birmingham, Alabama. The song demonstrates its political focus early on with its refrain “Alabama’s got me so upset, Tennessee’s made me lost my rest, and everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam”. In the song she rails on the common argument at the time that civil rights activists and African Americans should “go slow” and make changes in the United States incrementally: “Keep on sayin’ “go slow” … to do things gradually would bring more tragedy. Why don’t you see it? Why don’t you feel it? I don’t know, I don’t know. You don’t have to live next to me, just give me my equality!” Nina Simone performed the song in front of 40,000 people at the end of one of the Selma to Montgomery marches when she and other black activists, including Sammy Davis Jr., James Baldwin and Harry Belafonte crossed police lines.
             Mississippi GODDAM” has a lot of sentimental reasoning’s behind it, has I read through the lyrics and tried to envision Nina Simone writing and performing a powerful song like this; I wonder what was going through her mind? Was she really sick and tired of all the violence and the abuse against African Americans? Even though, I wasn’t fortunate enough to meet Nina Simone personally and ask her any of these questions, throughout my research has the semester progresses, I will learn more about the life of Nina Simone through her music, quotes, interviews and her auto-biography “I put a spell on you”. Nina Simone and her music may be a possible project; I will enjoy working on for my final research assignment.
            My personal reflection of “Mississippi GODDAM” was very emotional. Being an African American, it really hurts me to see what my people had to go through in order for me to be where I’m at today. Fortunately, I never had to witness any racial inequality or racial segregation throughout my life time. It really breaks my heart about the four little black girls who were all under the age of fifteen that were killed at
16th street
Baptist church that was raided by the Klu Klux Klan. The civil rights movement was about 5 decades ago and many of the activists aren’t alive today to witness the great victory of their hard work and dedication by having the first black president Barack Obama in office.

Ø      Wikipedia – Mississippi Goddam-
Ø      Wikipedia- Nina_Simone- wiki/Nina­_Simone

Nina Simone

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"Why music was important to the Civil Rights movement"

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 identify music has a key force in shaping, spreading, and sustaining the movement’s culture and through culture its politics. Singing proved to have wide appeal across class, regional, generational, gender and other lines of difference. Important names such as Ella Baker, Reverend King, Septima Clark and Miles Horton all played important rolls in mobilizing and organizing. Mobilizing focused on getting lots of bodies into the street for marches and large-scale demonstrations. Such actions had great dramatic value, and they were often a way to ensure media coverage of the movement. While organizing focused on the slower but deeper task of bringing out the leadership potential in all people, and on building group-centered, as opposed to individual, leadership in communities that would do the ongoing work of changing people and institutions. Freedom songs lay especially in their capacity to take the liberation messages latent in the black preaching tradition and make them available to ordinary people.  Music plays a major role in today’s society whether it’s for entertainment or for media image. Elections 2008, many artists especially in the African American culture with rap and r&b music were promoting Barack Obama for presidency or convincing people to register to vote if they haven’t already. Many artists made songs for Barack Obama becoming president or using Obama’s catch phrase “Yes We Can” in their songs or either putting his name in one of their verses. Or Sean Combs (P.Diddy), using his catch phrase “Vote or Die.” Sean Combs was trying to convincing young adults from ages 18 – 22years old to register and vote for the first time especially being the first time a black man was elected for the Democratic Party. Needless to say, Barack Obama won presidency on November 4, 2008. I wouldn’t necessarily put all the praise on rap and r&b artists in promoting Barack Obama on becoming president, but it held a major part during the elections. It made younger adults such as me; know the importance of voting or being registered to vote.