Daily Blog Round-up: 5/31/07

  • Racialicious
    reports on the current lack of minority representation on TV shows,
    especially in light of the recent Emmy nominations.  The achievements of people of color on TV have rarely been recognized by the Emmys (seven winners since 1986), and there continues to be only a
    marginal percentage of actors, writers, and senior-level producers in
    the TV industry.    TV coverage may not seem like
    the most important racial injustice to fight, yet
    seeing one’s own group represented in mainstream America (or not) can have a profound impact on how we view race in America.  When certain groups are rarely depicted in
    prominent TV shows and popular culture, the producers are sending a
    message of how America should look, ignoring the diversity that
    strengthens this country.  This imbalance in media  is even more apparent on major cable and network news.  Media Matters
    conducted a study calculating the ethnicities of the guests on four
    prominent Sunday talk shows.  Not surprisingly, they found a major bias in favor of white guests
    versus any other minority constituency analyzed.  What does that say about whose opinion counts as an authority in our society?
  • Racialicious
    also reports on the wave in lawsuits filed around the country by
    low-paid workers, especially immigrants in large cosmopolitan cities
    like New York City.  These successes exemplify the potential gains of
    immigrants and other low-wage workers when united.  While some may try to pit immigrants against African Americans and low wage workers, by joining forces to tackle our common problems, we can make greater headway and all rise together.
  • The Real Cost of Prisons Weblog
    reports on the problems of the criminal justice system, using the
    situation in Massachusetts where having a Criminal Offender Record
    Information file can limit one’s occupational opportunities, housing
    offers and loan grants, even if the charges were later dropped or the
    person was found not guilty.  Even when modernizing the criminal
    justice system, governments need to consider the implications of a
    criminal record and provide educational and vocational resources to
    give the person the opportunity to change.

Daily Blog Round-up

  • ACS blog reports on the 5-4 majority decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber, a case involving sex discrimination in the workplace.  While the gender wage gap has narrowed in the last 30 years, this decision only makes further advances more difficult.  The State of Opportunity in America (pdf) cites that in 2003, a women’s average wage was still only 81% of a man’s average wage.  By continuing to put such roadblocks in the path of possible equal opportunity employers, women and minority groups will have a much harder time fighting for equality in the workforce.
  • Prometheus 6 reports on Color of Change’s continuous efforts to unite the rising black blogosphere and the progressive netroots to combat the Congressional Black Caucus’s democratic debates on Fox News.  Color of Change is pioneering new forms of online activism for racial justice advocates.  Show your support by checking out their site.
  • DMI reports on senators' reactions to the recent immigration proposal (The Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act (pdf)) and to the NY Times/CBS poll showing a strong majority of American support for providing a path to citizenship for undocumented workers.  DMI discusses the senators' apparent disconnect with this majority, detailing two different amendments to the bill (introduced by Senators Vitter and Coleman), which would have created roadblocks to a compassionate pathway to citizenship that recognizes the contributions immigrants make to our country. 

NAACP Legal Defense Fund Starts to Blog

NAACPLDF has started to blog.  Check out one of their first posts, covering the school integration cases now before the Supreme Court:

If successful, the suits filed in Meredith v. Jefferson City Board of Education and Parents Involved in Community Schools v. the Seattle School District
will severely hamper the ability of schools to diversify their student
body. The result will be a world that looks disturbingly similar to the
one that the Brown legal team was born into, one where democracy stops
at the threshold of the classroom and the Constitution is a set of
neglected principles.


Struggling to Get From Many to One

Alan's Jenkin's latest piece at Tom Paine is live:

Over 100 million people of color now live in the United States, the U.S. Census Bureau reported
last week, one-third of our population and a new milestone in our
nation’s diversity. Two important decisions currently facing our
federal government will help determine whether that diversity continues
to be one of America’s great strengths or is met with division and
denial.

Any day now, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide whether
voluntary school integration efforts by the communities of Louisville,
Kentucky and Seattle, Washington violate the Constitution. At the same
time, Congress is debating immigration reform legislation that will
determine how we treat the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants
in America, as well as future generations of legal immigrants. In each
case, government leaders should choose a future in which we move
forward together toward community and shared prosperity.

Read More.


We're Hiring!

The Opportunity Agenda is seeking a Development Associate with a primary, though not exclusive, focus on building foundation support.

The Development Associate will work with the
Director of Development and Executive Director to develop and implement
a range of fundraising activities with an emphasis on foundations and
grantwriting. Candidates should have a minimum of 2-3 years experience
with a proven record in a fundraising position and preferably, prior
exposure working for a social justice organization. B.A. is required,
M.A. welcome. We are looking for a candidate who is intellectually
curious, self-directed, and flexible.

More details here.


Diversity on Sunday Shows

Following up on our previous post about the lack of diversity on cable news programs, Media Matters has conducted another study, this time analyzing the guests on the four major Sunday news programs: Meet the Press, This Week, Face the Nation and Fox News Sunday.  The results revealed an alarming lack of gender and ethnic diversity among the guests:

sundiv-20070511-gender  sundiv-20070511-eth

Media Matters has more.


Opportunity in Images: Take Two

Earlier this year, we teamed up with students in the Masters in Media Studies program at the New School University here in New York.  As part of a media production class, we became the "client" and the students became graphic designers, tasked with creating images representing the core values of community, equality, and human rights apply to one of three initiatives: Immigration reform, health care equity, and the 2008 election.

Here's a sample of some of the great work they produced.  These images are creative commons licensed (Attribution), and the name of the designer can be found in the description.  We encourage everyone to Remix and Reuse them in your own work.  You can find the full set of images here.

Fernanda-OAGraphic-Larger OA_Buttons_2008Elections_ OA1 OA_Healthcare_1_notext_Braudaway

This is the second time we've worked with students at the New School on creating images illustrative of our Opportunity FrameYou can find past work here.


Framing the Debate

in

I wanted to highlight a few new additions to the growing literature on framing progressive values and policies.

Real Clear Politics is running an interesting article that analyzes the work of George Lakoff and Michael Tomasky.  Lakoff, of course, if famous for his framing book "Don't Think of an Elephant," and Tomasky, editor of the American Prospect, has pitched his own progressive frame around the idea of the Common Good.

The failure of Tomasky is that, like Lakoff, he seems to believe that
the problems facing Democrats can be fixed with only a rhetorical
shift. "If only we progressive had a Frank Luntz to wordsmith for us,"
they would seem to say. But the Democrats' problem is far deeper; it is
not that they fumble for words, but rather that they have lost their
voice.

Also check out this new book by Jeffrey Feldmen of Frameshop: Framing the Debate.


Finding Redemption in Popular Culture

In his bi-weekly column over at Tom Paine, Alan Jenkins finds the value of redemption, and lessons we can all learn about forgiveness and justice, in his analysis of Spider Man 3.


Diversity in the Blogosphere and Digital Divides

There are some fascinating discussions about diversity in the blogosphere happening on MyDD, one of the top ten "progressive blogs," and a site that usually focuses on polling and strategy to the exclusion of all else.

It started with a post by the site's managing editor, Chris Bowers: A Quick Note on Diversity in the Blogosphere, wherein he suggested that the blogosphere was a niche, and that while diversity in the progressive movement was important, diversity in the blogosphere was not an inherent good or even necessary.

Needless to say, that caused a ruckus.  Through two other posts - More on Diversity: Blogging is a Niche and  Diversity in the Blogosphere: Practical Difficulties, Bowers clarified his point and the conversation become much more specific - focusing on barriers to entry, particular blog hiring/recruiting practices and the value of certain types of activism within the movement.

It culminated with this post by Jenifer Fernandez Ancona on Building Multiracial Coalitions, which Bowers promoted from the Diaries to the front page of the site (and where The Opportunity Agenda gets some love in the comments - thanks Jenifer!). 

The whole discussion is fascinating and well worth a read, especially as the "blackosphere" grows and learns how to work with the already established progressive blogs (aka the "whitosphere").

It also offers an opportunity for us to point out the wiki we set up to help groups find and catalogue blogs that focus on racial justice issues, immigration issues and human rights issues - all frequently ignored by the "mainstream" blogs.  You can find the wiki here.  The password is "justice."

On a related note, the Pew Internet and American Life Project  has a new survey out (pdf), and Andre Golis at TPM Cafe has a good read on the results and what they mean for the Digital Divide in America:

the usage gap is growing because while the speed of adoption at the
top is quick and interest is broad, many have either no access or no
interest.

It would be a tragic irony if the technology that offered the
greatest possibilities for destroying inequality actually expanded it,
or was simply prevented from realizing its potential by preexisting
economic, educational and social inequalities.

Destroying the digital divides that exist is a prerequisite for
realizing the most radically democratic and egalitarian dreams for the
possibilities of networking technology. The first step--empowering an
educated and socially engaged class of people to have new forms of
discussion and collaboration-- was easy. The second, third and fourth
steps will be much harder, and will require people putting their elbow
grease where their rhetoric is.

Another must read on the digitial divide today is this must-read interview with Arnold Chandler of Policy Link, who talks about the divide not only in terms of access, but of usage patterns and skill level.


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