The best time of the year.

How cool is this tumblr blog thing? http://ronartist.tumblr.com/ He likes drawing and basketball! The Joakim Noah ones are fun as heck. So listen, Saturday is the first day of the rest of my life because the NBA Playoffs are beginning. I know some people don’t care. It’s actually very hard for me to understand that some people choose not to witness the artistry and greatness and suspense that is about to be unleashed over the next several weeks, all culminating in one glorious final between the Mavericks and the Bulls, but hey that’s what capitalism is all about. So I just wanted to say like a little prayer or something and hold everyone’s hand while we acknowledge and give thanks to basketball and all the people who are super good at it and provide such unbelievable entertainment. Thank you basketball heads all around the world. I love you like a lot. But not quite in the bell hooks sense of the word. More on that later.

Goosebumps from a CGI commercial? Seriously me?

Chip Review #1

It’s a bit foolish to start with the best of the best. It’s like eating ecstasy before you ever smoke a joint. I never did ecstasy but I always heard it ruins sex. No dude simultaneous orgasms in the movies did that. It’s like going to your first basketball game and getting the $2000 VIP tickets and having bottomless champagne and hanging out in Jay Zs bar and be 10 yards away from the beautiful basketball men before you ever sit in the nosebleeds. So I stand mistaken having my first chip review be of a chocolate bar with potato chips inside that motherfucker! Where do you go from there? How do you top that wedding in your mouth? I am a crisp kettle cooked potato chip walking down the aisle. I am Jack’s Inflamed Sense of Deliciousness. So don’t expect too much if anything from any other chip review I may or may not do. And if white supremacist capitalist patriarchy created this combo well then I turn my black flag in for old glory. I mean do you think they’d come up with this shit in communist Cuba? Where’s their inspiration? For reals though this shit cost $6 at REI so you’re better off saving it for a special occasion. Like right after you smoke a joint.

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ugh when are they gonna make colorblind TV! CBTV now!

I don’t think this hater has ever heard the expression- you get what you get and you don’t get upset. I haven’t watched the new episode yet because I haven’t had the chance. If it weren’t for an economy based on forced labor exploitation I’d spend all morning reading about dragons and swords and then all day watching TV about it and then all night dreaming about riding horses through the woods killing cancer with my bow and arrow. Unfortunately, we’re not there yet. And by we I mean u and me and everyone we know. Look at Daenerys though. Isn’t her hair so pretty even amidst all that brown people? Okay I guess I’m just mad because thusly I’ve been happily consuming this show and ignoring the standard white savior, POC savage narrative. Thanks a lot mixed-race film graduate, Shane Thomas.

Daenerys Targaryen is back to “save the coloureds” Tour de #GameofThrones 2014

Final Scene in Season 3 of Game of Thrones

While not placing it in the pantheon of truly great television, I’ve been a fan of Game of Thrones since the show debuted in 2011. I normally like my drama pessimistic, with a hard edge, and even downright cruel on occasion. I like even more that a show in the fantasy realm cares as much about its tonal execution, as it does costumes and wacky names.

And yet, I’ve never been able to relax in the presence of the programme, never allowed myself to be fully swept up in the world of Westeros. The reason why? This is best encapsulated by the conclusion of Season 3 – which Sky were so helpful to remind us of during their promotion for the upcoming Season 4.

The character of Daenerys Targaryen is emblematic of ”Game of Thrones” continuous problem with race. Beyond the emetic “white saviour“ scene to close Season 3, we are first introduced to her during a forced marriage to Khal Drogo of the Dothraki people (who are non-white). At the wedding, the Dothraki are painted as little more than savages, with the men literally killing each other to force themselves on the women; hypersexual and hyperviolent, two big racist boxes are ticked.

– From “Daenerys Targaryen Is Back To ‘Save The Coloureds’ Tour De #GameOfThrones 2014,” by Shane Thomas

Ignore the little peter pan white dude. Play ain’t racist.

This article is inspiring and validating. But it’s kinda like reading Game of Thrones because I really enjoy reading it but I have to imagine that the characters aren’t all white Nordic type dudes. I love that book series even more when I imagine that Cersei is Filipina and Bran is Blatino. Anyways, that’s how it goes in the the WSCP world. I wanna build me one of those playgrounds in the hood I live in in my imagination. All colorful and community minded and we don’t let cops in. There’s no lawns because they’re all sustainable gardens. Actually cars can’t get in at all because the beach is coming up between the cracks. And you live there and you live there. There’s a BBQ at the basketball court that has the lights on late nights. Its kinda like that Rye Rye video Sunshine but more revolutionary. Sucks that alternative education and access to adventure playgrounds is pretty much a white privilege. Unless you go to to The Free School! Represent!

The Overprotected Kid

A preoccupation with safety has stripped childhood of independence, risk taking, and discovery—without making it safer. A new kind of playground points to a better solution.


Sherman on Ali

http://www.thenation.com/blog/179183/richard-sherman-defends-his-dirt

Richard Sherman Defends His Dirt

by Dave Zirin

The NFL traffics in rank hypocrisy often without consequence. Profess concern about head injuries, while demanding an eighteen-game season? Decry racial slurs while profiting off of a team called the Redskins? Say you are role models while ignoring domestic violence? Profit from publicly funded stadiums while maintaining nonprofit status? This is Roger Goodell’s shield and you can smell the rot from outer space.

Stepping into this ethical vacuum we have Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. Sherman is more than a breath of fresh air. He’s oxygen in a moral corpse.

After spending Super Bowl week compelling the media to recognize what they are actually saying when they call young black athletes “thugs,” Sherman called out a different hypocrisy. Even better, he did it for a friend.

The NFL world roiled last week when Philadelphia Eagles star wide receiver DeSean Jackson was abruptly released. News then leaked that a reason was that Jackson had “gang ties.” It is unclear whether this was whispered by the Eagles to justify the cost-cutting move, but there was definitely a whiff of something that did not sit right. The cutting of Jackson and subsequent leaking of the “gang ties” accusation also happened after Eagles re-signed their N-bomb dropping wide receiver Riley Cooper.

In normal NFL times, acts of hypocrisy such as this go unchecked. But DeSean Jackson grew up in South Central Los Angeles with Richard Sherman. In Sherman’s words, “we come from the same dirt” and he felt compelled to write a response to all the rumors.

Sherman’s piece in Sports Illustrated about DeSean Jackson should be read in its entirety but here is the core of his argument. He writes:

I’m not going to tell you that DeSean Jackson isn’t in a gang, because I can’t say unequivocally that he isn’t…. I can only tell you that I believe him to be a good person, and if you think, say or write otherwise without knowing the man, you’re in the wrong. And if it’s true the Eagles terminated his contract in part because they grew afraid of his alleged ‘gang ties,’ then they did something worse…. But go ahead and judge DeSean for the company he keeps. While you’re at it, judge me, too, because I still live in Los Angeles, and my family does, too. We didn’t run from where we grew up.

He then commented directly on Riley Cooper writing:

“This offseason [the Eagles] re-signed a player who was caught on video screaming, ‘I will fight every n— here.’ He was representing the Philadelphia Eagles when he said it, because, of course, everything we do is reflective of the organization. But what did they do to Riley Cooper, who, if he’s not a racist, at least has ‘ties’ to racist activity? They fined him and sent him to counseling. No suspension necessary for Cooper and no punishment from the NFL, despite its new interest in policing our use of the N-word on the field. Riley instead got a few days off from training camp and a nice contract in the offseason, too.”

Altogether it is a remarkable statement about the double standards of race and class that stain the league. It stands as a rebuke to the relentless, unending stigmas young black men endure based upon not only how they look but where they are from.

Sherman’s article also speaks to an NFL that alternates between protecting or demonizing its own players, depending upon the financial imperatives of the moment. (The Washington football team, in need of a receiver, wasted no time in scooping Jackson up.)

As for Richard Sherman, he is something we have not seen in a long time: an athlete who is perilous to his own paymasters. What makes him dangerous is that he is both untouchable as an athlete and merciless as a critic.

I think I started thinking Richard Sherman was truly special when a reporter compared him to Muhammed Ali and he would not hear it.

He said, “It’s very humbling to be compared to Muhammad Ali because…he had to really stand his ground and almost go to jail because he wanted to stand up for what he believed in. So I think his situation was a lot more brave and a lot more serious than my situation is now, obviously, and he had to deal with a lot more scrutiny and just headache and criticism.”

Richard Sherman is now officially risking more than just “headache and criticism.” We have had more than a few athletes over the last thirty years who refused to “know their place.” But we’ve had few who also knew their history. That’s what makes Richard Sherman so dangerous to the NFL and that’s also what makes him so valuable to the rest of us. By defending his dirt, Sherman shows how much the league acts in a manner that can only be described as dirty.

[Dave Zirin is the author of the forthcoming book “Brazil’s Dance with the Devil” (Haymarket) Receive his column every week by emailing dave@edgeofsports.com. Contact him at edgeofsports@gmail.com.]

We’re teammates remember.

Dear Filipino Organizers Erased by the Cesar Chavez Movement

Bino A. Realuyo 

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Coming to America in the 1920s was no vacation. Filipinos were “American nationals,” the result of recent colonization, and ironically exempted from the exclusionary Immigration Act of 1924 that precluded the influx of immigrants from “Asiatic Barred Zones.” Saved from the tyranny of Spain, young Filipinos like you were swallowed by an America famished for cheap labor. From Alaska and Hawaii to the West Coast, Filipino men became the bent backbones and the calloused hands of the sunburnt fields, paid a few dollars for long hours of work. And America was not in the heart, not yours, as it was the high tide of anti-miscegenation laws that made it criminal for Filipinos to marry white women. By 1965 when the United Farm Workers was founded, many of you had been in the fields for decades, organizing strikes and making your voices heard in the muted plains.

We immigrants mark our historical presence in America by the names of heroes who gave us a voice, an anodyne to invisibility in a country where documented history keeps some and discards others. It took me a long time to fully grasp Filipino-American history. Like you, I’m an immigrant who began my American voyage in silence. My political education had many twists and turns. In my 20s, I spent my Sundays teaching English to Chinese sweatshop workers in Brooklyn, my first exposure to the complex nexus of immigrant workers’ rights and organizing. I would learn that self-empowerment was moot unless spoken in the language of the oppressor. The workers’ inability to communicate exacerbated their plight. Word by word, my adult students learned the language of the negotiating table, slowly gaining power to address their oppressive working conditions. Workers’ Rights as a Second Language: strategically similar to the organizing methodologies employed by farmworkers like you in the ’40s and ’50s.

I didn’t know about you when I started organizing in the ’90s. I had role models, but no Filipino-Americans. In the community organizing world, no one ever mentioned Filipinos next to the apotheosized Cesar Chavez. No Larry Itliong. No Philip Vera Cruz. None of these Filipino men and their Agricultural Worker Organizing Committee that spearheaded the very strike that catapulted Cesar Chavez into American memory and left you in the shadows.

In the words of Philip Vera Cruz:

On September 8, 1965, at the Filipino Hall at 1457 Glenwood St. in Delano, the Filipino members of AWOC held a mass meeting to discuss and decide whether to strike or to accept the reduced wages proposed by the growers. The decision was “to strike” and it became one of the most significant and famous decisions ever made in the entire history of the farmworker struggles in California. It was like an incendiary bomb, exploding out the strike message to the workers in the vineyards, telling them to have sit-ins in the labor camps, and set up picket lines at every grower’s ranch… It was this strike that eventually made the UFW, the farmworkers movement, and Cesar Chavez famous worldwide.

Cesar Chavez has become a holiday, a stamp, a foundation, a national monument and a street and school in Delano. It is not surprising as the Latino community becomes a demographic force in the U.S. that 48 years later, a movie is being shown nationwide about the farmworkers movement, with Cesar Chavez at the romantic helm. Unfortunately, in the Hollywood version of historical dismissal, Filipino farmworkers are once again denied the proper recognition they deserve. In a recent appearance at UCLA, the director Diego Luna told a Chicano studies audience, “We have to send a message to the industry that our stories have to be represented. And with the depth and the complexity they deserve.”

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Indeed, in the age of American ethnic diversity, it is all about representation, all about visibility — a spiritual mission to bring you, our fathers, back in the light. History might have worked in favor of Chavez in the past decades, but many Filipino Americans will do what it takes to put your names in the pages of American movements. A new documentary titled, Delano Manongs, interrogates the erasure of Filipinos from the farmworkers movement and presents the story from the point of view of the leader of the movement himself, Larry Itliong. In 2013, the New Haven Unified School District of Union City, CA renamed Alvarado Middle School Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School. Even a new generation of Filipino Americans on the East coast, the Pilipino American Unity for Progress (Unipro), has made your invisibility part of their discourse.

Sí, se puede: the motto of the farmworkers movement, in Spanish — a language many of you didn’t speak, as if to say the movement was not spoken by your blood. But Cesar Chavez also said that “once social change begins, it cannot be reversed … you cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.” Kaya Natin, we must say, We Can Do This. Kaya Natin: bring back your honor, bring back your light.

Kaya Natin,

Bino A. Realuyo

Follow Bino A. Realuyo on Twitter: www.twitter.com/BinoARealuyo