Category Archives: Racism

Shithole = Weaponized Communications

Once again, we are scratching our heads in what seems like a perpetual state of bewilderment. “How low can he go?” We continue to ask. A couple of days ago during a meeting in which the President rejected a bipartisan deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, he described certain nations as “shithole countries.” The resulting worldwide reaction to Trumps’s language and sentiment is universal outrage. We already know we are in a new and different age with Trump, but what does this mean to us in daily life? What we will now accept in common discourse? To help us understand the question and search for answers we turn to Life Elsewhere contributor, Dr. Jennifer Mercieca, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Texas A & M University. The learned professor offers her well-considered opinions, always with an engaging twinkle of humor. Maybe he is not actually used to being listened to, so maybe he doesn’t understand as President he has a real impact on the world,” Says Dr. Mercieca, adding, “Trump has weaponized communications!”

The reports of Trump’s inflammatory comments at the meeting about peoples from what he calls, “poor and troubled countries”, prompted Norman B to revisit a compelling conversation he had with Dr. Rogy Masri of Doctors Without Borders. The dedicated Canadian doctor speaks from a makeshift medical facility, attending refugees in Tripoli. Do the unfortunate people Dr. Masri tries so hard to help, fit into Trump’s description of countries they may hail from?Rogy’s moving account of infants ravaged by rat bites, scabies and worse may one day if they manage to survive, remember the President of the United States showed his take on compassion by calling their homes, shitholes!

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The photo of a young Syrian refugee by Michael Goldfarb

Show #255

Sir Mix-A-Lot. Stephen Witt. Ashley MacIsaac

He tells it as he sees it. From big butts to racism, the one and only Sir Mix-A-Lot does not mince his words. One of popular culture’s preeminent observers and a popular guest on Life ElsewhereSir Mix-A-Lot  is back to air his thoughts on the latest headlines, including the Confederate flag, the Charleston church massacre, President Obama on WTF with Marc Maron and Taylor Swift vs. AppleSir Mix-A-Lot pays careful attention to what’s happening culturally but his views are not always what you might expect from the man who penned the definitive ode to large bottoms.

Also in the program, Stephen Witt talks about his new book, How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy. This is the enthralling story of the birth of mp3’s, streaming music, the music piracy revolution and the mysterious man who almost singlehandedly took down the music industry. Coincidently, Taylor Swift‘s complaint against Apple happened as Stephen Witt‘s book is published. His book explains in delicious detail how if it were not for German audio engineer Karlheinz Brandenburg’s 1995 invention for compressing audio files, (later to be know as mp3s), streaming audio as we know it may never have appeared.

This week’s Hit That Never Was features Ashley MacIsaac, a Canadian fiddler, singer and songwriter from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. MacIsaac has had a controversial journey, not least of all by announcing he was gay back in the early 90’s when that just wasn’t done for aspiring musical acts…think about how times have changed. From his 2003 self-titled album, we’ll hear Lay Me Down.

Life Elsewhere airs Sunday, June 28 at 12 noon ET on The Source WMNF HD3 and Monday, June 29 at 5.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio

White Isolation And Lack Of Engagement

As yet another young black man dies at the hands of the police and civil unrest ensues, noted musician and activist, Dan Zanes says “White isolation and lack of engagement should be addressed”Zanes, was a member of the Del Fuegos from the beginning to the end of the eighties. In 1994, he released a solo CD, Cool Down Time, shortly after which he moved to Brooklyn, New York with his family, where he then released Rocket Ship Beach which became an immediate hit with families around America. Dan is passionate about his opinions, and cautions, “We all need to stop pointing fingers, we need to learn about each other. Perhaps racism will be diagnosed as sickness, just as alcoholism was in the 30’s” Make sure you don’t miss the next edition of Life Elsewhere with Dan Zanes and a different perspective on racism and bigotry in America 2015.

Life Elsewhere, airs Sunday, May 3, 12 noon ET, at The Source WMNF HD3 and Monday, May 4, 5.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio

Answering The Inconvenient Questions

The sound montage above was created just after the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case was announced. The anger and outrage over what many believed to unadulterated racism in the case, was countered by commentators who would have you believe that because President, Barack Obama comes from a bi-racial family then racism is non-existent. We live in a “post racial society”, they proclaim. Yet, since the Zimmerman/Martin case, the word racism has been inescapable. Almost every other news story has the word racism in the headline.

Fanni Green & Gary Lemons 3.12.15Next on Life Elsewhere, we’ll ask the inconvenient questions: Why does racism exist? Is ignorance the same as racism? Is the non-stop disrespect of Barack Obama unabashed racism? Can there be a future without racism? To help us answer these questions and more, two distinguished experts on the subject of racism will join the program, Fanni Green, Associate Professor of Theatre, Acting and Voice and Professor Gary Lemons, author of Black Male Outsider: Teaching As a Pro-Feminist Man, A Memoir.

Also in the program, Norman B will select and play, five exceptional pieces of music about and on racism from Billie HolidayBig Bill BroonzySam CookeKen Boothe and The Special AKA.  

Life Elsewhere airs Sundays, at 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  and Mondays, at 5.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio

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Racism In America 2015

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As the 50th anniversary of Selma is commemorated, a video is posted showing members of the University of Oklahoma’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon gleefully engaged in a racist chant on a bus. Just a few days later, the chief of the Ferguson Police Department resigned, continuing a wave of high-profile exits following a scathing Department of Justice report on the city’s courts and police department. Nationwide scrutiny has been focused on the small Missouri city, since white police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed black teen Michael Brown. A Missouri grand jury declined to indict Wilson in November. These are just two of an alarming list of racist incidents making headline-news during the last 12 months.

Why does racism exist? Is ignorance the same as racism? Is the non-stop disrespect of Barack Obama unabashed racism? Can there be a future without racism? Next on Life Elsewhere we ask these and more inconvenient questions about Racism In America 2015, with special guests, Professor Gary Lemons, author of Black Male Outsider: Teaching As a Pro-Feminist Man, A Memoir and Fanni Green, Associate Professor of Theatre, Acting and Voice.

Life Elsewhere airs Sundays, at 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  and Mondays, at 5.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio

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Photograph of James & Jerrod by Norman B © 2011