Category Archives: Mass Communication

But That Was Then, This Is Now : Part 3 A Little Property History

plantation houseThis is the third post in a series that started because of a white person’s question on Facebook: What have whites ever done to blacks —  after slavery — to keep them from succeeding? Don’t they have exactly the same opportunities as we?

Read the introduction to the series here.

(For this post I rely heavily on Ned and Constance Sublette’s eye-opeing book: The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave-Breeding Industry.)

In America, one of the main ways to build assets is through home ownership. In the previous post I already laid out the many ways government on every level, together with the housing industry, kept African Americans segregated from whites, how they kept them out of middle-class neighborhoods and how they refused to give them mortgages. A century of segregated neighborhoods, racially restrictive covenants and redlining have left African Americans far behind where home ownership is concerned.

If we’re going to talk about real estate, though, to really understand the scope of the injustice done to African Americans, we need to go back to the very beginning of white land use in America. Continue reading

Trump’s Telephone Tangle, Untied

Fox and Friends interview Trump 4-26-2018

Image: mediamatters.org

In an interview, the interviewers generally ask questions and the interviewee answers as best he can. Here’s an analysis of Trump’s interview with Fox and friends this morning.

I listened to it, and then I listened to it again, writing down the questions and only anything, any combinations of words, that formed direct answers. I did need to paraphrase here and there. Then I timed my reading the questions and the actual answers: just a little over two minutes. The interview lasted thirty minutes, so obviously he said a whole lot more, but the rest of it was  just a lot of static and deflection and stream-of-consciousness filler. Continue reading

From Facebook to Flipboard: How I Avoid the Information Bubble

flipboard logo

Image: commons.wikipedia.org

So, Facebook is in the doghouse for letting Cambridge Analytica steal information from some fifty million people. This information may then have been used to manipulate voters in the 2016 presidential election. It’s not clear at this point to what degree that has happened, but this is what’s supposedly possible: Facebook has so much information on you, from all the little quizzes you take and from all the things you read and share and “like”, that when an analytics company gets its hands on that info, it can form a pretty detailed psychographic profile of you. Continue reading

American Eugenics and the Holocaust

images

Image: labdish.cshl.edu

I came across an article yesterday on Timeline.com: “The Nazi Breeding and Infanticide Program You Probably Never Knew About”. The article describes the Nazi breeding program that involved encouraging and forcing “pure Aryan” women to get pregnant from “pure Aryan” men and taking the babies to be educated by the SS, as well as the active euthanasia of “impure” babies.

There is a reason you may never have known about this. Continue reading

Zwarte Piet : Putting Him Into Perspective, Again!

zwarte piet again

Image: cnn.com

So let me get this straight:

Sinterklaas can still be Sinterklaas.
He and his Pieten can still arrive in Amsterdam on the steamboat.
They can still have all the processions through cities and towns.
People can still come out to welcome them.
Kids can still wave at Sinterklaas and give the Pieten their drawings.
The Pieten can still wear the same costumes.
They can still hand out candy.
Everyone can still eat pepernoten,
and taai-taai,
and marzipan,
and kruidnoten,
and suikerbeesten,
and amandelstaven,
and chocolate letters,
and speculaas poppen
and drink hot chocolate.
Everyone can still sing Sinterklaas songs.
You can still have Book Piet, Organizer Piet, Grumpy Piet and what have you Piet (a relatively new phenomenon).
Everyone can still buy Sinterklaas and Piet dolls at Xenos (also relatively new).
Kids and adults can still place their shoes at home on Sinterklaas Eve.
Kids and adults can even place their shoes at school, at work, on the street and in the bars (again, new).
People can still exchange gifts.
Children can still make surprises.
A good time can still be had by all.

The only thing that would change is the color of Piet’s face and hair.
And this is how you react?

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(Welcome to the Netherlands, where all cultures are accepted except our own.)

Have you all lost your mother-loving minds?

My original series on the whole Zwarte Piet issue starts here.

When I was a Kid : Showing my Age

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When I was a kid my mother was against school uniforms.

When I was a kid we emigrated to Australia in a BOAC plane that had to stop three times to refuel.

When I was a kid my parents rented a television for one night. They watched a movie that had something to do with a leaking submarine. Continue reading

Propaganda’s for Chumps

trump shooting on 5th ave.

Image: Snopes.com

“I love the poorly educated,” said Trump when he won the primary election in Nevada. He consistently lies about everything factual, but as far as his character and attitudes are concerned, he’s also consistently an open book. I’m sure he does love the poorly educated, in that he can make them believe anything, that they will let him get away with anything. “I could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” That right there tells you what he thinks of his voters. They’re schmucks, useful idiots. Continue reading