Unlearning Racism: Lecture from Bettina Aptheker

Below is a link to a lecture by Bettina Aptheker, professor at University of California-Santa Cruz.  The lecture is long (over an hour) but it’s a holiday weekend and I figure people have some time on their hands.

The lecture’s worth listening to for a variety of reasons.  For the truly geeky sociologists among us (myself included), there are a couple of stories about Aptheker’s connections to W.E.B. DuBois and Angela Davis near the front that are gems. Readers interested in more of those gems may want to read Aptheker’s recent memoir, Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up Red, Fought for Free Speech, and Became a Feminist Rebel (Seal Press, 2006).  Aptheker’s lecture is also a good primer for a lot of the concepts we discuss here.   And, finally, I like the fact that this lecture from within the ‘ivory tower’ can be liberated online – a little bit of hacking the academy, if you will.

The producers of the video podcast have disabled the embedding feature (which would allow me to post the video here), so I just have to post it at this link (it takes a minute to load, so be patient).  Updated: Lots of people have been reporting trouble with that link so here’s another link to try:


Happy long weekend!

Radio Racism: Why Do Whites Ignore Canadian “Illegals”?

An article in the May 27th issue of the Columbus Dispatch features a story about a recent promotion sponsored by local radio station WTVN-AM (610).

Reacting against Columbus’ Mayor’s suspension of city travel to Arizona, the promotion offered an all-expenses-paid trip to Phoenix “where Americans are proud and illegals are scared.” In addition, the winner would have the opportunity to “spend a weekend chasing [illegal] aliens . . .”

The station said that this promotion was the most popular it had ever had: more than 5,000 people entered.

Several pro-immigrant groups denounced the promotion’s “attack on the immigrant community” and asked the station to apologize. Mike Elliott, the station’s program director, said that he would not apologize and dismissed claims that the promotion showed racial bias.

He elaborated: “It comes down to the word illegal for me. It’s not a race thing. It’s a legal thing. If you’re breaking the law, it doesn’t matter where you’re from.”

Funny you should mention race, Mike. Would a similar promotion about the many Canadian illegals in the US stimulate such a massive response?

Would your station promote a trip where the winner would be able to chase Canadian illegals as if they were animals?