To the people who wrote this article;
If you intend to post an article such as this, you better get all of the facts. Concerning the statement," thousands of animals are crowded together into tiny crates" I am employed by a smaller corporate farm which raises more pigs per nursery than PSF, and they are not what you would call crowded, unless you think that 1 pig per 8x12 ft. pen is sufficient. Also Corporate farms put most of the pork in the supermarkets. And If you eat pork, you non-directly support Corporate Farms. PSF, does not directly affect the market. They do not sell their pigs on the market and they don't directly buy their pigs from market. So if you want to bitch and moan, and complain, you better get all the facts before you start going off on Corporate farms.
- someone who actually has a clue as to what's really happening.
It may be too late to save the small family hog farmers
without protection from corporate monoplies.
January, 1999 Editorial I sent to the paper.
About ten years ago ,within a 5 mile radius of me, there were over 30 farmers who raised pigs. About 1/2 of those were farrow to finish, which according to the experts is where the money is. Today there are only five, and only one is farrow to finish. We had five different buyers that I could call to sell my hogs the same day . Now there are only two. A few years ago I thought very hard about putting up new hog buildings. I knew I could raise twice as many hogs with half as much work with new facilities. I was one of the lucky ones who decided not to go into debt, and keep working with my old buildings. My buildings are paid for,so I am just going to sell my sows and possibly never farrow again. I am 48 years old and have been around hogs all my life. I feel I can compete with anyone else raising quality pigs. I don't need the work without the profit, and I can't make a profit if I don't have a competitive cash market. Some people have told me I need to be using the futures market to take away the highs and the lows. I can manage around most of the lows ,and if I can't get the highs, I will just be breaking even. If a person breaks even long enough ,he will go broke. I think the futures should be used to support the cash market, not the other way around. There has been talk of a program to forgive loans or make low interest loans available to pork producers. That won't do me any good. Why should I and others like me be penalized because we decided not to go into debt? There has also been talk of giving cash for hogs that were sold. Again, I would be penalized for selling my sows and not producing. Without a fair and open cash market I think it is too late to save the small family hog farms. With the loss of these hogs goes some of the diversity that has kept many farms afloat. Concentration needs to be put on stabilizing the cash market. There is no reason why a hog could be worth $10 on Monday, and by Friday either have no market at all or double in value to $20. If hogs go the way of poultry, we will have a stable market ; but we will lose much of our power for rural economic development. We will also lose a lot of knowledge and dedication to a job well done. Then can Beef be far behind? There are already fewer places to sell beef than pork. My Great Uncle Earl once told me corporate farms would never catch on, nor would communism. We, as owner-operators, took more pride in what we produced than someone working for a company or a state. I believe he was right. Unless we are allowed to operate in a niche market, all owner operators will eventually lose. I don't need, or want, a guaranteed price for the commodities we raise. All I ask is a fair price and an oppotunity to make a profit. It may be too late to save the small family hog farmers without protection from corporate monoplies.Other commodity producers (grain included)also need to be protected from corporate intergration ,and take over, even from so called producer owned co-ops competition.
If you have an opinion or idea please let your congressmen or representative know.
I'm sorry to say that your many articles on "Affirmative Action" are mistaken. Yes, of course, it advances minorities ahead of whites. But it does so mostly by discriminating against whites. Since, two wrongs will never equal one right, it stands to reason that discrimination against any person for any reason cannot be justified, unless we give it a great sounding name (like affirmative action) and we say it achieves a popular goal (equality) and we talk about everything except one thing [the white person who was just discriminated against]. Having been victimized on three occasions with the Massachusetts civil service system; I know of what I speak.
Hope you accept this criticism in the proper spirit. You did ask for feed-back. I found you site very interesting, and I value both your opinion and your right to it. (but, you should also honor my right to my opinion)
I'm liberal, anti-Rush, anti-corporate polluters and labor exploiters, anti-discrimination and anti-racism, etc. but honestly in the past couple of years I've begun to change my mind on affirmative action in higher education. I believe the answer has to be in better preparing the primary and secondary education. I do not believe that removing affirmative action (as was done here in Texas) will re-segregate the university. Possibly in the short term, but I have confidence that african-american and hispanic students who want to get in can meet the challenge and get admitted. I know a lot of smart white kids who slacked in college and decided that opting for work in hip cafes and restaurants was a purer way to go than chasing the money-career life of their parents; many social dissenters wear under-achievement like a badge (I know, I am/was one of them). Guess what! That makes more room for success-oriented students of color who are willing to hit the books and build that resume. I don't think most students (white included) know how people get into selective universities. I started practicing the SAT in 8th grade. You don't have to pay a thousand dollars for the Princeton Review. Just go to the book store in the mall and there is a whole shelf of SAT prep books. "White" 11th graders do not know the meaning of the words "lugubrious" "tumescent" and "hoary" simply by being "white." Their parents do not use these words in conversation. Students who ace the verbal section STUDIED FOR IT. Then you have to sign up for all honors classes in high school. Then you have to study 3-5 hours every night to make sure you have straight A's. And you have to do outside reading of fiction or the New York Times(for college essays). (Inner city schools should be assigning the NY Times cover to cover as requireddaily reading). I have met students who went to bad high schools and didn't study much, but came to college and studied like mad to catch up. They come out okay, too. The point is that although the American "myth" of hard work--> "success" has sometimes been deceptive or illusory, it has also been very true for many people. Once we as a culture start saying all success is just cronyism, bias, and who-you-know, we have given up.
Over the last 5 years I have heard shocking stories on the news about teenskilling teens, parents, teachers,etc. There has to be a way that we can give our kids alternative ways to deal with their feelings. Here are some of my ideas:
- Each school should set up a confidential hotline that children can call and talk to a mature adult about their feelings, peer pressure, sex and violent urges.
- Each school should set up a mandatory class that every child must take all four years of High School, that teaches them how to deal with peer pressure, drugs, how to manage their anger. I understand that some kids would not willing participate in discussions, but they may still benefit from listening.
I think that the new over-the-counter home drug test should be used and parents should be educated on ways to approach their children about taking the tests. We don't want our children to hate us, but we do want to see them alive.
I would be very interested in helping pursue my ideas, if anyone is interested in what I have said.
For the sake of our kids,
While the U.S. is experiencing the most prosperous of times
since the post World War II era,
PR's (Puerto Rico's) economy is stagnating.
Well said! I remember reading "Down these mean streets" while attending elementary school in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I am a NYC native now living in my ancestral homeland. Recent events like the sale of the Telephone Company which was a symbol of national pride and the ongoing, never ending status debate has created an atmosphere of uncertainty and helplessness. While the U.S. is experiencing the most prosperous of times since the post World War II era, PR's (Puerto Rico's) economy is stagnating. The repeal of section 936, has resulted in the loss of many manufacturing jobs. The 13.5 % unemployment rate (official #, but probably higher) and under-employment create a stressful, volatile social environment. The exploitation of the workers who are increasingly minimum wage jobs with little or no benefits, the high incidence of crime and the increasing difficulty of the middle class to maintain a decent lifestyle has created the conditions for an imminent Diaspora of the kind seen during the 30's 40's and 50's; providing cheap immigrant labor for the ever voracious expanding U.S. economic juggernaut. All this seemingly orchestrated by the powers that be in order to perpetuate dependence and obedience. The recent ads running in Washington newspapers and placed by a Puerto Rican political organization stress the "fact" that P.R. is getting a $ 9 billion/year "free ride". This type of propaganda reinforces the negative stereotypes and demonstrate the willingness of powerful groups to achieve their goals regardless of the harm they cause our people. Much of the $9 billion is accounted for by "transfer payments": social security, food stamps and other entitlements. It is not a handout. These programs are available to all U.S. citizens and are not Welfare. The U.S. couldn't care less about us. Their only interests lay in economic exploitation and our strategic value as well as the suppression of nationalist elements. They will never see us as first class Americans; therefore we need leaders who can negotiate and extract as much as possible from Washington by stressing our value to them instead of pressing for statehood at any cost. Our present leaders have not learned from history; the Dominican republic early on in this century also requested statehood on two occasions. They were of course turned down because of cultural differences and the language barrier. It is also in America's interest to have a third-world country in its sphere of influence where they can invest, exploit and intervene militarily whenever they see fit, all neatly justified by the Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny. Lip service is given to the possibility of P.R. statehood by U.S. politicians, including former president Bush. But as recent Congressional hearings reveal, the U.S. has no intention whatsoever of incorporating us into the federation. Plebiscites or not, the final word comes from Congress and there is no incentive for bringing us into the union. If a plebiscite were to result in a victory for statehood, Congress would have to ratify, and that is highly unlikely. All this political maneuvering is analogous to providing parades in countries that are rife with economic and social problems in order to deflect public perception from the harsh realities.
Nothing works in our "enchanted isle" and political patronage is the order of the day. Poverty is kept out of sight or swept under the rug. There is no social safety net. The rich and privileged take advantage of the humility and low self-esteem that has been instilled in us for 500 years. People just don't strive for anything anymore. The hospital and educational systems are in disarray. Life expectancy is down from 76 a decade ago to 65 today due mainly to stress. People simply throw their arms up in the air, shrug and say: "No hay mas na", o "La calle esta dura". I'm personally fed up with the lack of opportunity and the mediocrity. Many urbanizaciones have become prisons by having "access control"; ostensibly to keep undesirables out, but they also isolate us in a sterile, non-communitarian, "every family" for itself environment. And this is supposed to be the good life?
In hindsight, I truly wish I had stayed in the U.S. and assimilated completely and then changed my name. It's sad to say but when it comes down to it it's "suave qui peut". I'm just an ordinary Joe and life is short. I'm not a hero or a politician and I'm not wealthy. I'm sick and tired of this society but at the same time the search for identity, roots and the quest for acceptance has led me to the island. I came Here I'm called "El Gringo" and have found nothing but rejection, possibly worse than what I experienced in the U.S. being that it comes from my own people. If I have to choose between discrimination and being poor with no opportunities in P.R. Vs. discrimination, being poor but having opportunities in the U.S., I'll choose the latter. Sad, Isn't it ? Seems the more things change, the more they remain the same. There's something in our character that does not let us break out of established behavioral and attitudinal patterns. I attribute this to colonialism, genetics, the oppressive heat and what is called "collective consciousness". A feeling of "No se puede", "Somos muy chiquitos", "Somos inferiores", "Somos mestizos", "Ay bendito" and the memory of the bad old days of hunger, hopelessness, helplessness and misery haunt our daily lives and color our existence and our outlook.
We can't wallow in self-pity and expect respect. It's better to die on one's feet than live on one's knees.
We need leaders of integrity, vision and intelligence to show us the way, because as it stands we are a nation divided by the constant competition for resources, consumerism and the allegiance to political parties because of our dependence on them for patronage.
Our nation is experiencing difficulties, all I can do is "poner mi granito de arena" and leave it to others more capable to steer us in the proper heading. It's a monumental task and I pray to God that we do not degenerate into another D.R. or Haiti. It can happen as suddenly as we were transformed in less than a generation by Operation Bootstrap. Our defining moment will soon occur. Let's hope for the best.
I understand that Martin Luther King Jr. wanted to see a day that his children could be judged by their character rather than the color of their skin. This desire is being killed because character does not count. Thank you Mr. Clinton for killing it by stabbing it in the back. If things do not change the day that any ones children can be judged by their character is not going to happen.
Sad to see a dream being killed,
BLUE DRESS BLUES
"Devil with the blue dress, blue dress, blue dress."
Normally I don't write topical columns. I disdain writing about current affairs (no pun intended). I like for my essays to have a timeless quality to them. I want my writing to be just as relevant fifty years from now. However I must weigh in on the Clinton-Lewinsky mess.
I shall write about this scandal from a unique perspective. I have no political axe to grind. My goal is neither to defend nor to defame the president. I shall write about what this controversy is doing to America. I shall write about Monica's blue dress as a metaphor for America.
Monica's infamous blue cocktail dress was not purchased at an exclusive Versace or Gucci boutique but at a ubiquitous Gap store. There are no doubt hundreds if not thousands of blue dresses just like Monica's (minus the unseemly stain of course) that were purchased by fresh faced young girls for a school dance or a big date. Monica's blue dress speaks of the vitality of America. We mass produce everything from cars and computers to blue cocktail dresses. Even though the poor we have among us the vast majority of Americans are able to indulge in the great American materialistic dream. Monica's dress a perfect symbol for America. A proud and wealthy America! Oh, but take acloser look and you will see an ugly blot on her dress.
The United States of America is materially prosperous but spiritually poor. We have a vast middle class with plenty of disposable income and plenty of leisure time. As a nation we could be using our wealth and energy to tackle the problems of Aids, poverty and racial discrimination. Instead our great democracy is obsessed with sex and scandal. Our elected representatives are deliberating day and night over the great and overriding issue of our day. What is this monumental issue? Is it the search for peace in the Middle East? Is it the world wide financial crisis? No, the great issue that has them in a lather is what exactly constitutes sexual relations.
The stain on Monica's dress represents our fascination with the seamier side of life. The average American will pick up the The National Enquirer instead of The New York Times and he will watch Jerry Springer instead of Sixty Minutes.
We are all responsible for that blemish on Monica's dress. It may be the president's DNA on her dress but we have wasted too much time discussing this sad and unseemly spectacle. We should metaphorically speaking take the dress to the cleaners or better yet throw it in the garbage. Let the Congress deal with this distasteful matter and let us move on to better and more important matters.
We need to put our priorities in order. It's no secret that if Monica's humble cocktail dress was put up for Auction it would bring in at least a million dollars. Oh, but you indignantly counter "I would never pay a million dollars for that filthy blue dress." Maybe so, but would you pay twenty dollars for a book that Monica wrote about her affair with Clinton? Would you pay a dollar for a tabloid with Monica on the cover? Would you watch her if she appeared on a talk show?
Let us wash our hands of this scandal. Not in the Pontius Pilate sense of shirking away from an unpleasant task. By all means we should let our elected representatives know how we feel about this situation but then let us quickly move on and expend our time and energy dealing with the truly great issues of our day.
© 1998 Robert Paul Reyes email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org
RE: mega hog farms, my sincere sympathies to those brave and committed soulsopposing the invasion by these corporate factory farms. To these activists who are desperately searching for assistance, tips, suggestions, etc., as wellas other sympathetic souls eager to help, I have one simple idea: CUT THE ECONOMIC LEGS OUT FROM UNDER THE CORPORATE POLLUTERS----- GO VEGETARIAN.
It's simple: the mega hog farms are being built because there is a market for the product. If the hog farms are pushed out of one community, they will simply look to build in another community. Eventually (with so many stressed local economies), they will find a community to accept them. BUT, if there is no/reduced demand for their product, then there will be NO REASON TO BUILD anything----anywhere. Skeptical of this method's impact? Veal consumption has fallen 70% in last 20 years, beef consumption 30% in last 20 years.
This does not mean that active opposition should stop. But it makes no sense to attack the cancer with shotguns if we ignore the underlying cause of the cancer. Fight with shotguns as well as with your fork and your purchasing dollar. This is the only way to effectively combat the problem on a nationwide basis and protect all communities from this plague, not merely those lucky enuf to have a well-organized hog-farm opposition.
(And we improve our personal health too-----and we can feed many more of the world's hungry when we stop wasting precious food resources (70-80% of all US grain) which is currently fed to livestock. Eat more beans, we can feed more human be'ins. )
For additional info, recipes, eating/nutrition tips: email to Veganmer@aol.com
A response to In Motion Magazine's interview with Roberto Martinez
Immigration and Human Rights on the U.S. / Mexico Border
As a native of Los Angeles for 50 years, I can tell you what illegal imigration has done to the quality of life in Southern California, and it is very very bad. I live in El Monte, CA, a suburb of Los Angeles tht is so corrupt with Mexican Mafia/drug cartel that it is not safe to walk down the street, weekly murders go unsolved, as well as unreported and the political system is that of Tijuana. The culture in Tijuana is cheap, little girls are prostituted as early as 12 and the sexual preditors of Tijuana now lurk the streets my teenage daughter has to walk to school on. No, the quality of life has gone way down.
I might add that the reason there is no border control at the Canadian border is because Canadians DO NOT WANT to come down into the snake pit. "Looking for a better quality of life" is not supposed to mean, come on up and TAKE what does not belong, insist that the language be changed to accomodate the intruder and expect free medical, food and money that no other legal citizen can get. Illegal immigrants did not sacrifice their brothers, fathers, sons, nephews in wars to protect and preserve what legal citizens paid for through the losses of loved ones. God help Americans' civil rights because they do not have any in Mexico as illegal immigrants expect here. There is a serious misunderstanding by those such as MALDA that individual rights and freedoms are only if they do not intrude upon another's equal rights and freedoms, as well as a perception that they are "above the laws" that others must obey just because they are an illegal. If an American goes to Mexico and is murdered and robbed, his killer is praised as a "hero". Oh yes, there is an intent by illegal immigrants to come on up, do the dirty, take the money and sneak on back down across the border, because they now have "dual citizenship" for the purpose of taking American money to Mexico.
If an illegal does in fact come up to work, then American benefits, free medical, food, rent, money are not necessary, if that is in fact their intent. It is not...they have been coming across the border for 30 years for the purpose of getting what they can which much of the time is not a job. Their combined purpose is to take California and anything they can get. But, the rest of the states wnat to give it to them and no longer include California, at least So. CA as a state of the union, eliminating the perpetual increase of taxes to all others, as well as federal funds and grants, including those to the state - ha, self defeating at best.
Incidentally, the comment that growers would go broke if they had to pay legals to work, is a crock...I worked for growers in the orchards of Washington state who paid above minimum wage, taxes and prospered very well. Illegals have brought wages for everyone down and the cost of living sky high because they are passing through and don't mind living 15-20 per household, with as many incomes. What do you expect when there is an "invasion" of those who want to take what you have...you fight to protect what is yours and if that means military on the border, so be it.
Must congratulate you on your selection of topics. However, articles which cite animal research as credible science further erode humanity's diminishing relationship with Nature, and moreover, lend credence to the laughable suggestion that animal research results provide relevant information to apply to the human condition. Animal research, after all, provided (and continues to provide) the "credible evidence" to gov't regulators that DES and other toxic pharmaceuticals were/are "safe" for humans. Altho I realize your author is not responsible for the research study, reporting its results without very strong disclaimers (that animal research does not provide reliable data to apply to humans) is a mistake. Ultimately, such reports further perpetuates society's misplaced trust of the Cut-Burn-Poison Syndicate---while the true answers, for the most part, lie outside the Syndicate's conceptual framework---and therefore, outside their realm of possible therapies to be brought to market....
Just a thought to consider for future issues..... But overall, excellent reporting....
This letter is for Dr. Pedro Noguera. I am in 9th grade and I don't know whether I should defend affirmitive action or go against it because of all the good arguments I have seen on-line like: Affirmitive action is Equal opportunity not equal results. But I think affirmitve action is commiting prejudism against whites. So will you PLEASE give me some good arguments why you think it is fair (or not fair). I wish to see the subject as a whole instead of part pro and part con.
A confused student.
Pedro Noguera responds:
Dear Confused Student: The best reason for supporting affirmative action is to recognize that it still hasn't accomplished what it set out to do. Affirmative Action was enacted into law by Republicans - Richard Nixon and his Labor Secretary George Schultz. These conservatives recognized that in a society that had actively practiced discrimination against non-whites, especially blacks, for hundreds of years, that just making discrimination illegal would not be good enough. You had to require employers and admissions officers to admit people of color because left on their own they would discriminate. The first question to be answered is what proof do we have that this is no longer the case?
The second issue is that Affirmative Action was created to ensure that minorities had access to professionals (i.e doctors, lawyers, teachers,etc.) since trained professionals provide services to populations in need. Some progress has been made in this regard, but there is still a great shortage particularly for teachers.
Finally, until we get serious about creating equality in K-12 education, and eliminate the inequities in funding, such that suburban schools that serve white middle class students no longer receive so much more money and resources than inner city and rural schools, then how can we claim that a level playing field exist?
Affirmative action is a imperfect solution to a society still confronted by deep racial inequality. If you have better ideas for addressing that problem I'd love to hear them. Best of luck. - Pedro Noguera
Affirmative Action Blues
it's time to enforce the law in the schools and on the job
As a "defeated" precinct worker against proposition 209 in California, I would like to offer some words of encouragement to those who feel the need to continue to advocate and work for racial and social justice. Equal opportunity has never been available to working people of this country. The facts of American history always expose our myths, if one is detached enough from the need for myth to think critically. Three contemporary facts about opportunity remain true to our history: 1. The ever increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of a tiny corporate elite, 2. The drastic shrinking of a comfortable and secure working class with any real hope of mobility, and 3. The inexorable expansion of dead-end poverty, both within the USA and globally. What these facts indicate in terms of trends for employment and education is a worsening climate of cut-throat competition. Until recently, competition among white males has been mitigated by racist and sexist exclusion. Civil rights legislation has undermined that privilege, but hasn't come close to eliminating it. Laws on the books require enforcement, and the white male dominated governments of our states and nation tend to drag their feet and look after their own. Affirmative action is law enforcement, and the people who fight for affirmative action are the enforcers. Indicators suggest that times are going to get tougher before they get better, for us in the lower economic groups. We need jobs, and we need education, and the only way to get what we need in a atmosphere diminishing opportunity, is to fight for it. We won in congress in 1964.
Now it's time to enforce the law in the schools and on the job.
Just wanted to make certain that other groups involved in the 'hog wars' are aware that the Supreme Court of Iowa struck down a 15 year old 'nuisance protection' provision that has been envoked to protect the large scale confinment feeding operations. They stated that they were quite aware of the political and economic fallout that would result, but the law was 'flagrantly' unconstitutional. this was all based upon property rights and 'takings' issues. Strike one for our side. Ruling was issued about Sept. 22, 1998, and was cause for celebration in our state!!!
I would like to hear from anyone who has knowledge or experience of serious respiratory disease from exposure to toxic air pollution from hog farms. I have a family member who has been diagnosed with 30% loss of lung function from pulmonary fibrosis caused by the dust, molds, ammonia, methane, and most importantly the endotoxins released from an overcrowded, badly run hog operation. This person has lived only 50 to 100 feet from an open penned, stinking hog site for the last 25 years. The farmer has never been willing to concede to and answer my relatives complaints. This is more serious than most of us researching the subject would know. Information about permanent lung disease from chronic exposure to these airborne toxins is not readily available. The research is difinitive and is available from a small group of scientists. This research has been performed on swine workers though, not residents who have unwitingly and unwillingly been exposed and poisened. The production of endotoxins from swine farms is important. The endotoxin is the very toxic outer membrane of a gram-negative bacteria and hogs produce prodigious amounts in manure and decaying matter. Combined with the dust and mold and general filthiness of hogs, this is potentially lethal to exposed humans.
I will use what viable information you send to help my relative seek justice and I will gladly lend my experience and resources to anyonesuffering similarly.
I have always wanted to ask this question, and this seems the perfect forum in which to do so. Before I ask it, I'd like to say that I believe AA should have been left in place at least as long as it took for the proverbial educational "playing field" to be made level. Schools in, say, Orinda, Walnut Creek, etc. have more financial resources with which to provide more services, materials, etc. to their students. Why is this so? Because the property values in those areas are outrageously overblown. Substantially higher property values translate into higher property taxes and more money for the schools in those areas.
My question is, has anyone ever looked into restructuring the systemwhereby monies are distributed to school districts? Why can't all property tax monies be thrown into one pot and then divided up equally between school districts? Instead of giving more to the schools that are in areas that have higher property values and less to those that don't, why not give each school district an equal amount proportional to the number of schools in the district? Each school in California would get the same amount.
Wouldn't that at least begin to solve the problem of financial inequality between schools? What would it take to make that kind of restructuring a possiblility or reality?
It just seems that until we take real, practical measures to create equal financial resourses for each school in the state, we cannot expect students from "poor" schools to get the level of preparation they need for entrance into more elite universities/colleges (even though there are a multitude of excellent teachers I know trying very hard to provide excellent educations with limited resources in classrooms in the inner-city). And until that type of equality is achieved (along with all sorts of other equalities), then AA should be left intact. As I see AA, it is a reactionary measure to balance the problem of unequal earlier and high school education. Why not take proactive measures and make California schools as equal as is humanly possible by restructuring the money distribution system?
Lawrence Hall of Science
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-5200
I find the use of Navajo land for uranium mining deplorable. Of course, the government says it's "For their benefit", but whose benefit is it, really? How can having your land, your heritage destroyed, be for "your benefit"? Money can buy a lot of things, but money cannot buy back your past.
The mere fact that the U.S. is trying to justify its actions sickens me as an American. I find it distressing, knowing the kind of society we live in today, when injustices occur all too often, and they are always justified by a screwed excuse.
America is the land of the free, but it always does seem open to the highest bidder, doesn't it?
Egameni likALLAH Onomusa Onesihawu - Zulu
In The Name of ALLAH The Beneficent The Merciful - Brit
Regarding the interview with Jesse, We of SOA hope that he is aware of the fact that WALL STREET was BUILT on the hallowed ground where HUNDREDS of AFRIKAN slaves who built the original infra-structure of New York, and the story (OURSTORY or his-story) of the terrible treatment of our ancestors in these Amerikkka's was COVERED OVER and HIDDEN and LIED ABOUT (like so much else.. )
Yes in April of 1991, when the U.S. GSA commissioned the building of a new federal office building at Wall St and Broadway, when they began excavation, they began uncovering the graves of up to a hundred Afrikans, leaving almost three hundred others in tact after protest from Black (Afrikan) people from around the world.
Finally the remains that were uncovered were moved to HOWARD University where they have been to date, and after study of the remains, it has been learned where these slaves came from, how they were literally worked TO DEATH from childhood, and the afflictions and diseases they suffered from.
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION was opposed and sold out from the beginning, and now it's enemies have won over public opinion.
SOA WANT nothing to do with it. WE WANT ONLY JUSTICE and NO WHITE PERSON will EVER give that to BLACK people, because they are IGNORANT of the deeds of their fathers (some of our own people are also as ignorant)
For more info on this story, PBS did a lengthy documentary on it - for a copy
- send a generous donation to SOA. For info on how to do that -
See the SONS OF AFRIKA PROGRAM AND POSITION AT:
I go to Tijuana every month and I thank my lucky stars that the U.S.. took over California. Mr. Martinez sounds like a bitter teenager. Open your eyes and stop being so bitter. Yes!!! These things did happen and as a Chicano myself I have felt the bite of prejudice but you must move on and think rational. I very much think the bitterness clouds your judgement. What next, will you blame the U.S. for the crooked police departments of Mexico? At least in the U.S. there is some justice. At least in the U.S. you have internal affair departments to weed out crooked cops. There are hundreds of homeless people and little kids running around half naked and hungry, but the government does nothing.
Should'nt these children be in school getting an education? Why not protest the Mexican Consulate to reform there system or is much easier to question a government you know wont cut your throat if you say something contrary to it? Also if you go to tijuana you will see an ecological disaster in the making. No storm drain system. No health code enforcment. No sewage system- raw sewage just runs to the ocean. Just as you say human rights issues are international are not ecological issues also? Where is the Mexican government effort to resolve these issues? Instead of blaming the U.S. for all of Mexicos problems look at how good you have it here in the states.
Dear Readers: This page has managed to offer an interesting discussion on Affirmative Action. The reason why people should be against it is for one simple reason:
It is morally wrong.
It does not matter what percentage of people with certain physical features do what, in that sense. Although, if one does more in-depth research, one finds that invidious discrimination in both the workplace and higher education are virtually nil. Once factors like age, previous education, experience, and social behaviors are filtered out through regression, blacks earn 101% as much as whites do. While occasional incidents of racial discrimination or harrassment do exist (i.e. Texaco), they are far from the norm.
The trick, then, if one wishes to help self-identified "minorities" is not simply to give people handouts, but rather to view them as individuals and help develop their skills through education and the instilling of positive social values. Another inconsistency with the theory that discrimination plays a large part in the difference between black and white incomes (about 30% of white incomes, I believe) is that blacks of West Indian descent do extremely well in this country. They are physically indistinguishable from other blacks but tend to come from stronger families which value hard work and education. Thus, they outearn Anglo-Saxons by a considerable amount. (By the way, this information comes from a book by the black intellectual Thomas Sowell, Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality?). This could not happen if discrimination presented a serious obstacle, as it would have fifty years ago.
Finally, a damning argument against racial preferences involves the fact that we deal with individuals, not groups. Morally, the complexion of a German gives him no special rights vis a vis a Mexican or an African. The reverse is also true. As individuals, it is downright heinous to punish someone for the crimes committed by someone else. Those people who cite "hundreds of years of privelege" must remember that I was born in 1978. I'm 20, not 200. To rob Peter to pay Paul to punish John's crime is ridiculous. Peter may have the same skin color as John but they are different people. Instead of obsessing over percentages, advocates of affirmative action should shift toward promoting a colorblind attitude. In other words, they should support the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
Christopher P. Reicher,
Conservative Council (Northwestern University).
Just a short note. I've read a lot of the arguments for and against affirmative action. I am a white women, and I see examples of racism every day. Before I would join the ranks of those against affirmative action, I would need to hear an effective arguement that 1) it doesn't work 2) that it is inherently racist in itself. 3) that racism no longer exisists. Now I've heard the first two arguements, none I felt we're very effective. I've heard arguements against by educated people of color, congressmen, church leaders etc. I repeat, none were very effective. Racism is alive and well in a thousand forms. I believe it is one of the most destructive challenges our society faces today. Denying the need for affirmative action, to me, denies the need to challenge, and overcome, racism.
Do not take to heading of my letter the wrong way. I campletely believe the article that was written, I just find it absolutely deplorable that someone could do that to young girls. It is not the place of science to determine if we will have hard times finding boyfriends or careers. I am 15 years old and I'm 5' 11" and I love it! I have a wonderful boyfriend and I was voted most likely to become president in my 8th grade class! What if a doctor had decided I couldn't lead a "normal" (what ever that is) life and tried to alter me in some way? I love being tall! I wouldn't change it for anything! As far a "not getting a job", the taller you are the faster you get promoted in corporate america, that's a fact. These scientists are trying to take that place of God. All the sci-fi movies and X-files episodes that we laugh at have come true in this instance. If this is allowed to continue, what will stop it from spreading. If the parents don't like the color eyes their daughter has, change them. If the doctors say the boy's nose is too large, change it. If something cannot be changed, the child will lead a terrible life and shouldn't be allowed to live because of the awful life it would lead anyway; end the unnessary pain. If this doesn't sould so bad to you, would you volunteer to have this done to you? Would you volunteer to have your life, everything about you, and your ability to function properly in the world determined by a doctor when you were just concevied?
To Dr. Pedro Noguera:
I am a currently doing a school project on affirmative action. One of my classmates logged on to your web site and passed on your e-mail address to me, so that I may contact you and seek your knowledge and input. I don't know the website and figured I wouldn't be able to get to it as I don't have America On-line.
However, I did read your paper, "A Popular Movement for Social Justice", and found it to be very intriguing. I found your essay to be interesting and persuasive, but wondered if you could offer more reason for why affirmative action should be "defended". In particular I would be greatful to see some statistics having to do with Berkeley or other universities; having to do with the decrease in racial diversity since the passage of Prop. 209, or the acceptance rate of minorities with and without affirmative aciton, or the same statistics applied to the acceptance of females in universities.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
Dr. Noguera responds:
Nicole: Since Berkeley ended affirmative action there has been a 50% decrease in the number of Black and Latino students who will enroll in the freshman class next Fall. Put another way, nearly one third of the Black students admitted will be scholarship athletes, which means a running back from an innercity high school has a better chance of being admitted to Berkeley than the validictorian. This literally happened at a school in LA.
There is little doubt now that the end of affirmative action at UC Berkeley and UCLA will result in a return to segregation in higher ed at these institutions. Given that they are publi universities, I find this situation unacceptable.
Thanks for your interest.
One synonym for violence is frenzy
Greetings ! Dr. Noguera's study is very interesting. I commend everyone who is trying to understand and solve the problem of violence among the youth of our nation. It is worthy to note that according to the dictionary violence isn't necessarily the result of anger. One synonym for violence is frenzy. Frenzy is defined as a state of violent mental agitation or WILD EXCITMENT. In my research I am discovering that there are more and more incidents of vandalism, assault, and the like where youth are gathered to "celebrate" a victory of perhaps their football team, etc. It appears as though it starts w/ as few as 5 or 6 and in a very short time a large crowd of even 1,000 has joined in and they all go "wild" . None are angry but all are overcome w/ something of a mob mentality of hyper-excitment where the more vandalism or assault one takes part in the more "excited" that one becomes. It is like a new "high" has been discovered. If this is indeed the birthing of a new and hideous addiction we are witnessing it would behoove us to gather help from every avenue available to us, including the spiritual. God does have the answer to this situation, please join me in praying for that answer and in taking action that will make a difference.
Sincerely, Rev. Sandra Blewett
North Pole, Alaska
All we talk about is how to punish our kids for being bad, or using weapons to solve their problems. I'm sure I'm not the only one that sees how our children are being treated at school, from teachers as well as fellow students. Harrassment has become such a huge problem at school. Children are constantly being threatened and abused physically. As adults there are ways we can deal with this stuff. As children being forced to go to school with the same teachers/peers day in day out, year after year there seems to be no escape. The pressure at school is understood and underestimated. I really see where if I were a child with all the adults saying "You have to deal with it", I think I would lose it, too. If we could go back to treating each other with respect and politeness, enforced especially at schools, this world would truly change. I really am angry at our school systems, but I really don't know how to begin changing it.
Unfortunately, the speech is all too true.
I would like to point out; however, that women have been denied the benefits which the author lists as available to whites in general. We, women, were denied mortgages, credit,admission to graduate schools, and all of the other benefits that he says white Americans receive. I know this from my own personal experience of having to fight to receive the education I wanted. It is just in the past 25 years that women have been given access to the material and educational resources of this country. The author should use white males instead of the term white.
The majority of the poor both in this country and around the world are women and children.
The end goal of a system like affirmative action may well be an honorable one -- giving everyone a level playing field. However, the system that we have established in our society segregates us, angers us, hurts us, and leaves us with feelings of discrimination, regardless of our color or gender. Everyone's equal opportunity has to start with grade school, not college. We can't all be equal in birth -- some have better parents than others, and no one wants to start accusing people of being too good of parents and telling them to stop so that the children whose parents are drug addicts will be more equal. The opportunities for our future are in books and in arithmetic and biology and physics. Our grade schools should be havens, and our children should learn the great idea this country was founded on -- equality and justice for all. By giving preferences to people, you take away their motivation. They start to feel something is owed to them by the rest of society, when in fact that is not the case. We all have the same stories and the same books, the same libraries. Education is the window to the future and the opportunities with which that future is ripe. If you do not take advantage of the education, there is no one to blame but yourself. If you do not make an effort to learn and to work hard, realizing everyone at some point is made fun of and belittled, realizing we are all in one boat on this planet, then there is no reason for society to bend over backwards. There was a good reason for affirmative action when it began: education opportunities were not equal. They are much closer to being so now, and if you do not like the school where you are, you can work to change it, you can teach your children yourself in the evenings, talk to them, expose them to ideas, you can move to a different district with a better school. There were never before so many options for equal education. Books are free at the library. To make it in this world you cannot feel sorry for yourself, you cannot whine, you cannot ask others to pity you, and you must believe in yourself, take some initiative, pay attention, and work hard, being responsible for the person you want to become. I don't want to spend my life wondering if I got a promotion becuase I'm an excellent employee or because I'm female. As long as affirmative action is there, I will never know, and neither will you regardless of who you are or where you come from. AA takes away the value of what we accomplish on our own by allowing us as individuals, and others around us, to question whether we win by our hard work or whether we are handed that which we decry the system for handing to others too easily. AA has got to go.
Paul Rockwell & Dave Malcolm: Thank you for providing me with some great insights and arguments to use in my Business Ethics class Affirmative Action debate (I'm on the "pro" side).
But mostly thanks for being the rare white males on the side of justice.
Give your fellow Angry White Guys For Affirmative Action my thanks as well.
I loved the poem "I Remember". It has that certain elegance that I strive to create and it has the beauty of the poem that only few recieve.
A. H. 16
I enjoyed Ken Inugai-Yamada's poem.
Here in Tokyo, we will have cherry blossom soon.
Affirmative action was a policy created by the government in the 1980's to increase the number of minorities in employment, education, business, government and other areas. To be classified as a minority you would have to be non-white, a women or be disabled. Affirmative action is intended to benefit groups that are thought to have suffered from discrimination.
I think that Affirmative Action is great because it helps many people from different races get a job and go to a better school, but there are something's that bothers me about it. Affirmative Action was thought to be a method of eliminating discrimination but it turns out that it is doing the opposite because it uses the discrimination of whites to benefit the minorities. It is not right at all to discriminate against any race to make something fair. I think the government should have thought more about Affirmative action before they introduced it. Most whites are discouraged about it because it is not fair to them that the government had to apply this method of discrimination against them. The hiring process has never been fair but Affirmative action has made it fairer, but it is not fair to the people who don't qualify as a minority.
The government is trying to fight bad discrimination by supporting good discrimination which is not right because the government shouldn't have no rights supporting any kind of discrimination at all especially to resolve something by discriminating the other race. It promotes the hiring of less skilled workers because employers have to choose from the best available employee from the minorities, instead of having the possibilities to choose the best available employee. Employers have to first consider minorities than secondly consider whites. Affirmative action makes whites second class, instead of being treated fairly as other people.
In Texas, universities receive many applications, the minority applications are reviewed by a special subcommittee, and the cutoff scores are set lower. If you are white you have to have at least 3.56 grade point average with a S.A.T score higher than 164 to get into a university, if you were black you had to have a 3.30 gpa with a test score of 158 and a 3.24 gpa with a 157 test score if you were Mexican.
Because of these methods, minorities that are accepted into Universities this way are less prepared. Blacks and Hispanics are admitted with the worse academic records, on average than most of their white classmates. Statistics say more than half of them tend to drop out of college because they can't handle the work.
Harvard thinks Affirmative action is ridiculous and they don't want anything to do with it. They choose their students not by their race but by there intelligence and Berkeley now is doing the same thing.
In the 1980's a professor came with a logical way of choosing students that require little effort by the staff. Under the rule half the schools students would be admitted purely on their academic skills and index scores. The other half would be judged by essays that they did, volunteer experiences and academic awards.
A solution that the government proposed is to let students go where their natural ability could take them, instead of encouraging them to compete in arenas where they are outclassed. I think Affirmative action is racism, not against the black this time but against the whites. Affirmative action was supposed to stop discrimination but all it is doing is just discriminating against the race to make the other race equal. Maritn Luther King Jr. said that "People should not be judged by the color of the skin but by the contents of their character and Affirmative action is doing the opposite of what he's saying. This method made by the government is far from perfect, until there is a better way of solving discrimination, I think Affirmative action should be eliminated.
Thank you for your article about DES given to "too tall girls" several decades ago. I am one of them.
I have lived for a decade now with the lingering fear that my mother's well-intentioned decision to put me on stop-growth hormones for a year at age 14 will eventually be my undoing, either in the form of cancer or an immune disorder.
My mother's decision grew out of her blind trust in medical breakthroughs, and her fear of my not landing a husband because I was too tall. The irony is that I have been madly in love with my six foot five husband for fifteen years, and even if I had grown to be over six feet as she feared, that wouldn't have been an issue for us.
We all now know that diversity of size, shape, color, abilities and beliefs is what makes the world interesting and rich. But just thirty years ago, women were groomed for one thing, marriage, and conformity was pursued at all costs.
My only hope is that we have learned.
My opinion is that Religion, Politics, and Law are the survival of the human being. Art is an expression of the insight's of one person or more than one person, Or to analyze where we as humans being we can approve or disapprove the three aspects of survival and living, that one 's life is depended upon as areality among the norm.
I think your issue on affirmative action is very useful. Activists should be aware of a new book out on the Prop 209 campaign -- Color Bind, by Lydia Chavez. The book reports from both sides and even though Chavez admits she benefitted from affirmative action as did many of her students, she tries and more or less succeeds at being even handed. Understanding the dynamics of the 209 campaign, a critical crossroads in American history, will be valuable resource in the upcoming "Son of 209" campaigns around the country. Houston learned the lessons of 209 well.
The book, Color Bind, is published by UC Press and is available through http://www.Amazon.com.
i feel it is time to end affirmative action it is a total failure it has split the country it has alienated whites particularly gen_x anyhow i don't understand how it could it be constitional to tell a private company who they are going to hire thats why they call it a private company......i could almost understand government plans since they run on all tax payers dollars but telling someone they must hire people by quotos is nuts .......our industrial base has voted this action with there feet to mexico and asia
i don't need any more proof that its a failure........jeff nelson
my name is christine mcdermott and i read the information you had on your web page about how the sow is kept in crates for too long of periods and how it is hard on them. i agree and i just wanted to let you know not all hog farmers work that way. my future husband lets the sows free in large pens(old finishing house pens) and in an old barn outside until they are ready to farrow. they get there exercise and aren't kept in those crates for four months at a time. after they have pigs they remain in farrowing for three to four weeks and that is it. then they go back into the open areas where they can move around. i just wanted you to know not all pig farmers keep all their sows in crates forever. thankyou christine
Having lived in rural communities all of my life, I have lived near or seen more farming operations than imaginable. I have seen small operations as well as large so called "mega" operations. I feel the focus on these large operations is unfounded in regards to soil and water pollution. The strict agronomic application of waste is carefully watched and monitored to gain the most fertilizer value available to crops such as corn, soybeans, wheat and various grasses. Would you rather have more chemical fertilizers used?
You will also find many more violations of the environmental regulations among smaller producers and even the rural residences whose septic wastes run directly into waterways of the state. How many city and small town lagoons have overflowed or have increased output into waterways over the last several years? Where is the data? Is no one concerned? I live near several large hog operations, 1000 - 5000 head capacities. There is minimal smell generated from these facilities. I also live near a 20 plus year old open feed floor that probably holds 300 head. It curls your nose hairs when you drive by it. There are also many excellent small farming operations around the area. Point being, large does not always equal more smell. The most offensive odors in the area are oil wells. Any publicity on them? None! There are many large and mid sized family livestock operations that fall under your definition of large mega farms. You say you are all for family farms, but the publicity and false accusations are hurting them as well. What is your real agenda? Environmental safety is a concern for everyone. I challege that the majority of the so called mega farms are the largest promotors and most environmentaly sound in the industry.
Over all ...
Over all I think your reporters are bias and closed minded. They are one sided. But that is just my opinion.
I am a high school senior of Cobleskill-Richmondville High School. I am strongly against affirmative action all together. Why should we deny white Americans good jobs and good education, that they in most cases are more than qualified for, so a minority person can take this opportunity. What happened to that beautiful thing called EQUAL OPPORTUNITY that America is supposedly known for? Everyone here is American no matter when your ancestors migrated here. Who are we to deny fellow Americans jobs or education because they are minority or non minority. Why should certain things be more easily accessible to minorities, because they were denied to them in earlier times. 30, 40, 50 years ago is not our problem to deal with it happened, leave it where it is rather than recreate it with affirmative action.
I am a sixteen year old Chicana female and live in Oakland, CA. Although I don't go to public school, I know lots of kids that do. I feel that they aren't at the level of education that lots of the kids at my school are( I go to a catholic school outside of Oak.). This isn't their fault...if people are angry about affirmative action and want to end it, they should put their money where their mouth is and help out in improving the quality of education that kids are getting at public schools. Parents shouldn't have to sacrifice to pay thousands of dollars so their kids to get a decent education. Isn't that the whole point of having public schools? It would be unjust to end affirmative action now. First, there has to be a reform in the public education system, especially in schools in big cities where the majority of the students are "minorities". Right now, too many aren't learning what they need to know to be well prepared to enter college, much less be successful once they're there. Nobody likes discrimination, be it towards minorities or whites. I would feel indignant to know that I was accepted to a college only because of my last name or the color of my skin. When the public high schools in these cities have the same resources as suburban, predominantly white public and private schools, and reach their levels of education, then and only then will it be just to end affirmative action.
I may disagree with some of the articles and opinions you guys publish, but I think Gary Griffith's article is important. Sometimes in their zeal to provide their children with "the best," well-to-do parents (wittingly AND unwittingly) do the worst thing possible - escape and avoid. It is not an easy issue - wrestling with your child's future and with the future of race relations in our country, but I hope many parents will sit down with their children, read Gary's article, and at least think about what it could mean to CONTRIBUTE TO (as well as take from) the melting pot of our public schools. Damn right - an education is what you make of it and we better learn how to make something better from our public schools by committing our children and resources to them! Thanks for saying it so well Gary Griffith.
I'm interested in Pedro Noguera's thoughts on zero tolerance policies. What is the impact of this "get tough" strategy and the rationale surrounding it as far as Pedro Noguera would be concerned. How do Dr.Noguera and Albert Shanker's views compare and contrast? There are many pros to zero tolerance in schools, but what of these children/young adults once they are not tolerated???!!!
Pedro Noguera responds
To me, zero tolerance policies are the wrong way to respond to the problem of violence in schools. While I do believe that discipline must be firm and consistent, I am opposed to any approach that is not flexible and does not recognize that there are many mitigating circumstances influencing acts of violence. Research shows that most kids carry weapons for protection.
If we automatically suspend or expel a kid for carrying a weapon in school have we addressed the threat kids face before, during or after school? Instead of focusing on how to keep bad kids out of school, I believe we must focus on why certain school environments seem to foster bad behavior. Truly safe schools don't resemble prisons. They are warm, nurturing places. Keep in mind that prisons are generally not safe places, so it is a bad example to emulate, but that is what I believe we are doing. The answer to the problem of violence in schools lies in changing the nature of the relationships between adults and kids such that the adults begin to have more influence over the kids lives and the polarization that typically exists, us vs. them, is reduced.
- Pedro Noguera, Education Rights column co-editor
I belong to an investment club where I work. We are trying to select companies which treat their employees well and don't harm the environment, etc. If anyone out there can recommend some companies which are actually doing some good, it would be helpful. I have also printed out the article about Monsanto and will be sharing it with the group, because someone suggested investing in Monsanto stock. Thanks for all of the excellent information, especially on farming issues which you don't hear much about in my part of the world.
"By what right do you wage such detestable wars on these people who lived mildly and peacefully in their own lands, where you have consumed infinite numbers of them with unheard-of murders and desolations?"- Father Antonio Montesinos, in a sermon in 1511 - As reported by Bartolamé de las Casas in Historia de las Indias.
We've been saying the same things since the Conquistadores arrived - all to no effect. Its time to take action. Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa started it back in the 1920's and now the Zapatistas are trying to finish it. Its time they had the support of the International Community.
All native groups all over the Americas should have the right to own their own land and have their own political representation. Its not a communist idea as the Americans would like the world to believe, rather it is the very basis of democracy- Human Rights.
This is in response to all those white folk complaining about how discriminatory affirmative action policies are.
1) Be honest with yourself. Look at the world around you. Walk into a jewelry store and notice how the owners don't flinch. Watch the nightly news and imagine what it feels like to be a person of color. Hell, just walk down the street and consider how we treat each other differently based on the color of our skin.
2) Acknowledge how priviliged we are by being white and male in US society. We certainly don't deserve to be running the show...I mean, just look at how we treat our children as a culture. California now spends more on prisoners than students. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
3) Deal with the facts. Affirmative Action does not mean quotas. Quotas are unconstitutional. It does not mean preference. Do you really believe that minorites get PREFERENTIAL treatment in our society. Get real. AA is about forcing companies and instituions to stop giving so many preferences to white men. AA means people of color get a chance to get an interview. It means they can be smiled and nodded at and stabbed in ther back without fear of reprisal. It means that at least someone is watching how you conduct the business of hiring.
4) Most of all, stop being so hypocritical. Put as much energy into arguing against nepotism, athletic scholarships, and unfair "networking" as you do arguing against Affirmative action.
5) Consider the possiblity that diversity is an end worthy of promotion. Given two EQUAL candidates, doesn't it make sense to accept the one who brings a different perspective to the table? Homogeneity is not an ideal environment for progress of any kind. If it were, inbreeding wouldn't be so taboo;-)
A Girl in South Dakota
Dear Whomever will read this,
I just read through the column on AA. I was very pleased with the information I was able to find on it. I have to give an extemp speech in debate class tomorrow and this will help.
Thank you everyone who wrote in,
*A Girl in South Dakota*
I was scrolling down the articles about affirmative action, and I was strucked by the fact almost all the articles included in this area only include one side of the view: pro. Personally I never favor affirmative action. It has a noble cause, but does not work and is not fair to the students who deserved to get in to the school of their choice. I remember my English teacher once said, "It is said how this country has divided itself up into little segments. We always try to divide everything up into separate components. However, the whole is greater than sum of the parts. We should treat the people as a whole, not by their appearance." Unfortunately, affirmative action has just done the opposite. In its goal to help the minorities, it has divided the country up more than before.
To Alice Lovelace (Co-editor of Art Changes: From Where I Stand / In Motion Magazine)
As a pastor I can understand your frustration with what appears to be an attack upon art by some fundamentalist against art. Here in Fort Lauderdale I have started a monthly series which talks about Art, Religion, and Controversy. We have about 10 to 12 artists that come together to talk about various aspects of art and culture and also about art and ethics. This has been a useful experience for everyone since it has helped all of us to begin to understand the dynamics at work in our culture concerning the arts.
I think that because we are in a society that is divided deeply over values that art which expresses the values of someone I disagree with, is going to disturb me. This can create fear and frustration, which can easily turn to anger. We need to understand that we do hold different values and then begin a process of dialogue with each other. We need to really be willing to search for truth with passion and yet with mercy towards each other as we are on that search. We must also learn humility, and seek to understand before we can be understood.
The economic state of the arts has always been difficult. The artist has never had an easy road finding supporters for the creation of art. As we move into the Toffler's "Third Wave" it is likely that there will be a shift from a central form of support to more regional. This will be difficult but is almost necessary since there are few core values that hold us as a nation together but local communities may have such values. It should be noted that historically the church has been a great supporter of the arts and that even today in many larger cities which have mega-churches the church continues to support the arts in music through concert series and other ways. While the church needs to be reminded of its cultural mandate and the need to promote bueaty, nevertheless, there is good historical hope that she will awake to this need and begin again to promote the arts as once she did.
Grateful for Grace.