Sunday, May 23, 2010

Civil Rights Era Post : SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinated Committee)

I have chosen the photo of Bob Moses, Diane Nash and the Reverend James Lawson who were leaders on the SNCC. It really speaks to me because when I see their faces I see the strength of their souls and the courage of their hearts when I listen to their testimonies. The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee emerged from the student sit-ins that erupted on February 1, 1960 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Although just four students launched these sit-ins, within two months thousands of students across the south were engaged in similar protests against racial segregation. In 1961, a handful of these activists committed to full time work in the southern civil rights struggle; some of them postponing their college plans. SNCC became an organization of grassroots organizers.Historians characterize SNCC as the movement’s “cutting edge”. Its “field secretaries” worked in the most dangerous parts of the south seeking to both cultivate and reinforce local leadership. Its uncompromising style of non-violent direct action confronted racial injustice throughout the South and contributed to the elimination of racial segregation.
With “One Man, One Vote” voter registration campaigns SNCC paved the way for a new generation of black elected officials across the south. It is this work that laid the foundation for the election of America’s first African-American President, Barack Obama.
I agree with Barack Obama when he says:"African American history is fundamentally different from the story that many minority groups go through in other countries.” Because black people have been undermined so low that they were considered things with no value or soul because of their skin color. They been through the struggle of first being recognized as Americans, too; then the inequality and abuse towards their community, and discrimination through the years to come because their nonviolent fighting is still going on. Obama states:"The black freedom struggle defines the American experience. It is a struggle that has applied prolonged moral and political pressure to the promises of the Constitution and America’s self-conception." This is true in the sense that African Americans have reached justice in America through the recognition of their civil rights before society.

Post #8: Peer Response/ Theory (Blogs: Aris and Ysomoano))

"Why Johnny can't Dissent" by Thomas frank

In this reading the author raises to question many familiar terms like capitalism, corporate, consumerism, advertising, management,and culture associated with business and marketing from before the 1950's into the present day. The notions about each and everyone of these terms mentioned above have changed so much, maybe because from the birth of the Information Age that has changed the way people live today. Businessman are more concerned about what's happening in the world rather than just what's happening in America. They are embracing diversity, empowerment and " Thinking outside the box.", but engaging themselves into the world of the oppressors. This is because many of these businessmen follow the wrong structures of the corporate world. An example of this picture is global warming which is equal to destruction of nature by the human hand.The rain forests of the tropical jungles are disappearing little by little as well as the many glaciers in the world and the ozone layer is getting thinner. Al, this because of air pollution, sea pollution, and the undiscriminated cut down of many trees that re the lungs of the earth. These multinational companies which are usually affiliated with bigger corporations put their profits before the life of a human being.
Thomas Frank proposes a" counter cultural idea" against the way in which American life works around consumerism and the many factors involved with the corporate world. As he says:"The structure and thinking of American business have changed enormously in the years since our popular conceptions of its problems and abuse were formulated." He knows that there is something wrong with the way business and marketing more specifically are handled. The supply and the demand have become the main concerns in our different world.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Post #7: Research & Sources

Text: "Puerto Rican Obituary" by Pedro Pietri.
Act: The Young Lords Party 13 point Program and Platform.

I am interested in these topics because it portrays not only the injustice and sufferings of not only Puerto Rican people but the whole immigrant community that comes to the U.S.A. looking for the American dream; and what they find is racism, inequality and oppression. Trough the view of the Young Lords Party Program and the works of artists like Pedro Pietri, people can see the real truth about the importance of the immigrant community in the United States and how they are underestimated in many ways. Pedro Pietri also wrote"Invisible Poetry" (1979), "Traffic" (1980), "Plays" (1982), "Traffic Violations" (1983), and "The Masses are Asses" (1988).

1.- The Columbia History of Latinos in the United States Since 1960. Ed. David G. Gutierrez. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004. p362-367.¤tPosition=1&contentSet=GALE|CX2536800100&&docId=GALE|CX2536800100&docType=GALE&role=

2.-Journal of Women's History, Spring2001, Vol. 13 Issue 1, p157

3.-"Speaker inspires Syracuse students to take community action." Daily Orange [Syracuse, NY] 28 Sept. 2007. New York State Newspapers. Web. 15 May 2010.,,):FQE%3D(KE,None,11)young+lords$&sgHitCountType=None&inPS=true&sort=DateDescend&searchType=BasicSearchForm&tabID=T004&prodId=SPN.SP01&searchId=R2¤tPosition=1&userGroupName=cuny_laguardia&docId=CJ169239373&docType=IAC

4.-Jennifer 8. Lee, "The Young Lords' Legacy of Puerto Rican Activism", New York Times, City Room blog, Aug. 24 2009.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bonus Post: 5 Pointz

Even though I could not go with the group the day of the field trip I did appreciate good art at 5 Pointz when I went there over the weekend with some friends. I think 5 Pointz is a place where distinctive art can be found. Every single piece shows a personalized or plural touch with a deep message.I did not see that many political art at 5 Pointz, actually I just saw a few pieces with some faces like el Che Guevara and it looks like in this piece that I saw the artist linked this small face with the distorted word of liberty.And I say distorted because when you read, it looks like a hand is covering it.It was really interesting, because now that I think about it; I have seen drawings and graffiti like this at the entrance some subway stations, at some neighborhood walls and at the back of schools in Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights and Junction Boulvevard. Some graffiti looked really extreme because the images were crude and sometimes obscene but there lies a hidden message someone told me once. I think the hidden message in this particular graffiti that I observed, was the oppression that people suffer when they can not express themselves freely. Going to 5Pointz was a particular experience that showed to me that art can be also found around the corner and not only in a gallery.
The name 5Pointz signifies the five boroughs coming together as one but, because of its reputation as an epicenter of the graffiti scene, the industrial complex has actually united aerosol artists from across the world.

Post #6: Topic for Essay #3

I am interested in !Palante, Siempre Palante! The Young Lords film which documents the period from 1969 through the organization's demise in 1976. This will be my political text because we could not see it in its totality in class, and the political act or movement is the Young Lord Party 13 Point Program and Platform.
Context:In the late '60s, conditions for Puerto Ricans in the US reached the boiling point. Faced with racial discrimination, deficient community services, and poor education and job opportunities. Puerto Rican communities began to address these injustices by using direct action. This film focuses on the community of East Harlem, capturing the compassion and militancy of the Young Lords as they implemented their own health, educational, and public assistance programs and fought back against social injustice. An excellent portrayal of inner city organizing in the late 60s.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Post #5: "Arts and Politics"

ENN 191-0920
Prof. Tanenbaun.
Jackelyn G. Cortez.

“Arts and Politics”

Since 1926, with “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” by Langston Hughes, the African American community started to question if: “the word white comes to be unconsciously a symbol of all virtues, that holds for the children beauty, morality, and money.” (Langston Hughes, Page1). Certainly, they did not see that in their future. Because that kind of thought created a resentful generation but also one that through education could fight for the rights of black people. “The Black Arts Movement” by Larry Neal helped black people to find their identity and be proud of it, while “Towards Black Liberation” by Stockely Carmichael urge black people to defend their rights as Americans in order to fight racism and discrimination, and there is no better way than being involved in the affairs of the community in relation to politics. Arts and politics in their own way helped the African American community to be more aware of their position in American society.
“The Black Arts Movement” by Larry Neal is a manifesto that talks about art and the way it should be for African Americans. The author states that art should focus on ethics rather than aesthetics. Because Western society tends to use art more as entertainment praising beauty instead of something useful and inspiring for black people. This movement is against white aesthetics because it supports the idea that the African American community should value their roots, history, and culture. I think that it could be a way in which black people can be united as a whole and become a Black power that can help to change the fate of African Americans. As Larry Neal, says: “The motive behind the Black aesthetic is the destruction of the white thing, the destruction of white ideas, and white ways of looking at the world. The new aesthetic is mostly predicated on an Ethics which ask the question: Whose vision of the world is finally more meaningful, ours or the white oppressors’?”(Larry Neal, 448). He also states that the Black arts and the Black power are directly related because one complements the other in order to make it stronger. I think this is true, because it applies to any kind of art like poetry, music, acting, or sculpture that can help in a way to push a movement into a particular direction like a common goal or when Beltroch Betch says: “Art is not a mirror to reflect reality but a hammer with which to shape it.” This means that art could be useful in many ways like in politics, too because we as citizens have the right to protest before injustice. But the Black Arts movement is against “protest” literature, too. This is because it does not respect the ethics of the Black Arts Movement which is about moral, values, and nationalism. As a movement, it encourages the African American community to create their own “Black aesthetics’” with innovative forms of art, new history, culture and traditions.
“Towards Black Liberation” by Stockely Carmichael is a manifesto about racism and discrimination toward black stereotypes and the fight in order to achieve the integration of black people in America. It is basically against these two issues towards the African American community. They as a minority have to face abuse, violence, oppression and injustice because they live in a white society. This form of totalitarism reinforces individual racism which is the personal violence or hate towards black people and the institutional racism which is the government neglect towards black people. The author, states:” Negroes are defined by two forces, their blackness and their powerlessness. There have been traditionally two communities in America: the white community, which controlled and defined the forms of all institutions within the society, would take and the Negro community, which have been excluded from participation in the power decisions that shaped the society, and has traditionally been dependent upon, and subservient to, the white community.” Here the author accentuates that African Americans have the right to be active members of the American society, and not just observers around a white society. These lines called my attention because they are about getting involved into important issues in order to help the African American community, as well as others, nowadays. They emphasize the importance of participation of black people into their own affairs in order to better their conditions. But the main goal here is “integration” because it would let the African American community to have more opportunities on education, jobs, and in life itself. It would be beneficial for African Americans and whites also, because “ You can integrate communities, but you assimilate individuals”.(Stockely Carmichael, 128) These individuals that once professionals can come back to their communities in order to make it better, educating their people, having more political participation, etc. The author, in this manifesto is responding to an incident that happened in 1964, in Mississipi with L. B. Johnson and Hubert H. Humphrey, because they took advantage of the African American community in order to achieve some political representation. It was a shameful and intolerable situation, because political racism undermined black people in their effort to have some political participation in America.
I think that the “Black Arts Movement” by Larry Neal and “Towards Black Liberation” by Stockely Carmichael would be in favor of “The Black Panther Party, 10 Point Platform” because they all pursue the same goal which is real freedom for black people in America and the power to determine the fate of their community. Even though these two manifestos by Larry Neal and Carmichael focus on the African American community, they have different responses towards it. Larry Neal talks about arts and its function within the black community, considering ethics and black aesthetics as the main regulators of black art. In the other hand, Carmichael talks about the active participation of black people in American politics because it concerns them, too; and the kind of racism African Americans are prey of in the white society. From my point of view, I find “Towards Black Liberation” more persuasive because it calls the attention of the reader, that being or not African American gets caught into the learning of politics in America, and how it works. That is the reason why I would like to follow the purpose of the SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee), because their main goal was the integration of the African American community into the white society and the abolition of racism. And this example could be applied, nowadays for minority groups in America that are still fighting for their rights before American society like blind people, especial not retarded people, gays, lesbians, disabled and many others; because they are supposed to have the same rights as any other citizen of America.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Post # 4: " Revolution"

This is a remarkable poem about courage, strength, and honor. the author is calling to a great movement that will end injustice against black people. He aims for unity among black Americans, so they can fight for the right causes instead of wasting more valuable lives. The author knows that there is a risk to take but it would be worth it. The main goal of the movement will be for white people to be conscious about their actions against black people and the consequences. Then, black Americans will fight until the last breath and even when their bodies wouldn't be alive, their spirits will rise up to go on with the revolution. This is the part that I really enjoyed from the poem ! I think this is an effective work of political arts because it relates the aesthetics and ethics in such a way that gets the reader's attention at once.
"Our deaths shall be noisy and beautiful to the last swing".(Line 3)This is another part of the poem that from my point of view,expresses the ideals of a hero willing to sacrifice his own life as an analogy.I think that "Revolution" represents pure art that combined with politics make a blend of political lyric expressionism.