Monday, March 26, 2007

wetback mountain

Although I normally don't like Carlos Mencia's material much, this sketch cracked me up when I saw it on tv a few days ago. (It also features Mario Lopez formerly of Saved by the Bell) It brings up a real question: in some contexts (especially corporate America) is it safer to identify strongly as Latino (or Black or Muslim) or identify as gay or bisexual? I've been in some "progressive" places where I've even sensed that some otherwise mainstream individuals choose to use a very broad definition of "bisexual" (i.e. everyone is a little bisexual) just to be able to claim some sort of non-mainstream (queer) identity. So while there seems to be some postive social cache to being queer in some situations, in these same environments (especially in the current political climate) folks can still feel pretty safe making slurs against Muslims... and in other ways, the voices of difference end up getting silenced as well. The lesson is that there are different kinds and sizes of "closets" for different folks.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

shssh! don't tell americans how we treat enemy combatants

The future of freedom foundation: Shssh! Don’t Tell Americans How We Treat “Enemy Combatants” by Jacob G. Hornberger deals with Jose Padilla's approaching trial and the governments efforts to downplay what it did to Padilla while he was in custody as an "enemy combatant".

Planet Grenada and Jose Padilla

black immigrants: the invisible model minority

Inside Bay Area: Black immigrants, the invisible model minority expands on a topic we've touched on recently in: universities enrolling more black immigrants

Monday, March 19, 2007

reclaiming jewish traditions in mexico

New American Media: Reclaiming Jewish Traditions in Mexico

For more on Jews in Latin America, see also:
adio kerida
chavez and anti-semitism

guantanamo, dred scott and the amistad

Common Dreams: Guantánamo, Dred Scott and the Amistad by Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith

the segregated blogosphere

Colorlines: The Segregated Blogosphere by Celina De Leon

eleggua group

Afro-Venezuelan Musicians Connect the Diaspora by Khalil Abdullah talks about the music of Eleggua Group and how it is making bridges across the African diaspora.

bridging the black/immigrant divide

Black Electorate: Bridging the Black/Immigrant Divide by Alan Jenkins

santeria leader fights euless ban on animal sacrifices

Black Electorate: Santeria leader Fights Euless Ban On Animal Sacrifice by Michael Grabell deals with an old problem; how do members of a religious minority practice their faith in the face of resistance from a more "conventional" environment? In this case the minority faith is Santeria. I've heard of this issue of animal sacrifice coming up before in Florida where there is obviously a large Cuban-American population. (see Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah) But this article gives the first example I know of similar tensions occuring in Texas.

see also:
"you can't keep me out of my own house"

growing muslim community brings new traditions to the neightborhood

the politics of naming: genocide, civil war and insurgency

Black Electorate: The Politics of Naming: Genocide, Civil War and Insurgency by Mahmood Mamdani deal with the differences in how Iraq and Darfur are perceived:
The similarities between Iraq and Darfur are remarkable. The estimate of the number of civilians killed over the past three years is roughly similar. The killers are mostly paramilitaries, closely linked to the official military, which is said to be their main source of arms. The victims too are by and large identified as members of groups, rather than targeted as individuals. But the violence in the two places is named differently. In Iraq, it is said to be a cycle of insurgency and counter-insurgency; in Darfur, it is called genocide. Why the difference? Who does the naming? Who is being named? What difference does it make?

Mahmood Mamdani is a Herbert Lehman Professor of Government and a professor of anthropology at Columbia University. His most recent book is Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War and the Roots of Terror.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

happy birthday to me

Today is St. Patrick's day... better known in some circles as Lame Excuse for Public Intoxication Day. It also happens to be Planet Grenada's birthday. (Just turned two years old)

first things first
moors, snakes and st. patrick

Friday, March 16, 2007

universities enrolling more black immigrants

The nation's most elite colleges and universities are bolstering their black student populations by enrolling large numbers of immigrants from Africa, the West Indies and Latin America, according to a study published recently in the American Journal of Education.
Washington Post: Top Universities Enrolling More Black Immigrants

Planet Grenada see also:
on being black at a latino march (on "plane" blacks and "boat" blacks)
we are leading the pack (on african/caribbeans in the UK)
barack's black dilemma (on why Obama seems less threatening)

latin american council of churches elects first black president

Christianity Today: Latin American Council of Churches Elects First Black President

Thursday, March 15, 2007

with apologies to jesse jackson

Here is the recent "Wheel of Fortune" episode of South Park, With Apologies to Jesse Jackson. The last couple of minutes really sums up some of the small-scale political issues in my life right now. When a white person is criticized for problematic behavior around race, they may sincerely feel bad, but they still have plenty of white privilege and other forms of power to wield which they are capable of ruthlessly exercising in order to feel okay. In this episode we see Randy Marsh (Stan's father) accidentally use the n-word and get taunted as "the nigger guy". But by the end, he (along with Michael Richards and Mark Fuhrman) is able to get legislation passed to ban this hateful language. As the reporter said: From now on, if a person uses the word "nigger," it must be at least seven words away from the word "guy."

Planet Grenada on Michael Richards

Friday, March 09, 2007

tego calderon: latin america needs its own civil rights movement

New York Post: Black Pride: Latin America needs its own Civil Rights Movement by Reggaeton rapper, Tego Calderon

pencak silat

I haven't worked on the Muslim Art of War series in a while so I thought I should share the following online video games.

Pencak Silat
Pencak Silat 2
Pencak Silat Defender

For those that don't know, Silat is a Southeast Asian martial art which is popular in Malaysia and Indonesia (and thus even though it seems to have pre-Islamic roots, a lot of Muslims practice it and bring an Islamic flavor to their understanding of the art.). Personally, I've learned whatever little I know about it from Naqshbandis I've met. I wouldn't claim that the movements in the video games are authentic but to me it is interesting that the games even exist.

Monday, March 05, 2007

upon the ashes of babylon

Here is an entire talk entitled Upon the Ashes of Babylon from a powerful Muslim spoken word artist, Amir Sulaiman. The event was part of Islam Awareness Week 2006 at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, AB, Canada. Amir's words manifest a quiet confidence which I find compelling. He has a way of framing issues which is really cathartic and healthy... it reminds me of how I felt when I read Malcolm's speeches for the first time.

Upon the Ashes of Babylon
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Past Grenada posts on Amir

Saturday, March 03, 2007

verily, there is only one hip-hop umma

Socialism and Democracy: In his article, "Verily, There Is Only One Hip-Hop Umma": Islam, Cultural Protest and Urban Marginality Hisham Aidi wrestles with the full gamut of Grenada- esque themes. Specifically, he looks at how politically conscious Black, Latino and Arab youths are coming together and participating in Islamic and Islamically-tinged forms of hip-hop culture.

dominican tango

On a lighter note, here is a clip of the song For the Last Time, I'm Dominican from the musical episode of Scrubs, performed as a duet between Carla and Turk. Carla Espinosa on Scrubs (played by Judy Reyes) is one of the few Afro-Latina characters currently on television.

y tu abuela donde esta?

You Tube: Here is a performance by Evelyn Brito of Y Tu Abuela Donde Esta?, the paradigmatic poem by Fortunato Vizcarrondo on invisibility and Afro-Latino identity. We've previously discussed the general theme of invisibility on multiple occasions (see "that's wells, not ellison, in case you feel like being cute again.") and I've also referenced Vizcarrondo's work specifically in my own writing (see slave ships south) But it is nice to actually hear and see the work acted out.

Friday, March 02, 2007

the departed

I recently saw The Departed. It wasn't bad, but like many such movies, the excessive hype led to me being disappointed by the film. The acting was good but the ending seemed more messy than necessary.

By the way, I'm starting to reach that age where I realize that pretty much every story has been told before. For example, The Departed was actually a remake of a Hong Kong thriller called Infernal Affairs. I'm actually looking forward to seeing the original film since, based on the little I've read about it so far, the plot is somewhat more elegant and less "messy" than The Departed.

Also, both Deep Cover (Laurence Fishburne and Jeff Goldblum) and No Way Out (Kevin Costner and Gene Hackman) were older films which dealt with similar themes (double-identity and divided loyalties) in ways which I found more compelling. I highly recommend them.

By the way, No Way Out was a remake of an even older film called The Big Clock (based on a novel of the same name). For me, this all connects to some of the issues raised in the dead white males post. If there are only so many stories, it makes sense to ask which is the best example of a given type and form the canon. The tragic love story. The heroic quest. The road trip. The buddy cop film. etc. There are only so many myths... so many archetypes.

Grenada's past:
deep cover