Race / Ethnic Issues

Whatever the Skin Color, Inside Are Black Lungs

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the National Latino Council on Alcohol and Tobacco Prevention, and Floridians for Youth Tobacco Education warn that the tobacco industry is increasingly targeting Latino children.


Toxic Sludge, Soda and Beer Are All Good for You!

After a survey found that only 10 percent of respondents rated PepsiCo as a company that was "concerned with my health," the soft drink company is launching "a new advertising campaign for its 'Smart Spot' products." Pepsi rates more than 200 of its products as healthier, "Smart Spot" foods, including diet soda and baked potato chips. Pepsi will also launch a pilot project, called "Perfect Storm," later this year, "in a major U.S.


The Wave of the Future: From Tragedy to Far-Reaching Policy, in Less Than a Month

"Maybe something good can come from this hurricane," Senator Lindsey Graham (R - S.C.) told FOX News Sunday's Chris Wallace on September 18th.

Graham and Wallace were discussing the "torrent of federal spending" on relief and reconstruction projects in the Gulf coast states devastated by Hurricane Katrina that is "just exploding the deficit" (both Wallace's phrases). The Senator was advocating for budget cuts to balance the disaster spending, which is expected to total as much as $200 billion.

Katrina Coverage Brown-Out

"Mainstream media and most liberal-minded Americans are blaming the Bush administration's failure to manage Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath on racism, that word that has been itching under our skin for decades. The focus is on 'racism,' though, with a very specific, definition: white versus black. This analysis is good as far as it goes -- unless, of course, your skin is brown," Marissa Kantor reports on TheRevealer.org.


Jim Crow Propaganda


Jim Crow
The term "Jim Crow" was originally taken from a character performed in blackface by Thomas Rice, a pre-Civil War white actor who dressed in rags to portray a shabbily dressed, rural black man.

Last week I was invited to give a talk about free speech at Ferris State University in Michigan. Much to my pleasure, I discovered that one of the professors at Ferris is an old colleague, Dennis Ruzicka, who was a fellow reporter 20 years ago when we both worked for a small-town, daily newspaper in Wisconsin.


After the talk, Dennis showed me around the campus. One of our most fascinating stops was the "Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia" that has been assembled by sociology professor David Pilgrim. The Jim Crow Museum contains more than 2,000 racist artifacts, dating from pre-Civil War days to the present: cartoons, Sambo masks, Coon toys, Picaninny ashtrays, Ku Klux Klan literature, postcards with Black children portrayed as "alligator bait."

"All racial groups have been caricatured in this country, but none have been caricatured as often or in as many ways as have black Americans," Pilgrim writes. "Blacks have been portrayed in popular culture as pitiable exotics, cannibalistic savages, hypersexual deviants, childlike buffoons, obedient servants, self-loathing victims, and menaces to society. These anti-black depictions were routinely manifested in or on material objects: ashtrays, drinking glasses, banks, games, fishing lures, detergent boxes, and other everyday items. These objects, with racist representations, both reflected and shaped attitudes towards African Americans. Robbin Henderson, director of the Berkeley Art Center, said, 'derogatory imagery enables people to absorb stereotypes; which in turn allows them to ignore and condone injustice, discrimination, segregation, and racism.' She was right. Racist imagery is propaganda and that propaganda was used to support Jim Crow laws and customs."

Missing: News Coverage of Communities of Color

"A survey released in July by the Radio-Television News Directors Association and Ball State University found that about 21 percent of journalists working in local TV were minorities, virtually unchanged from the year before. ... A study released in June by the John and James L. Knight Foundation found that 73 percent of the nation's 200 largest newspapers employ fewer minorities than they did at some year between 1990 and 2004," writes Eric Deggans. "Why does this matter?


The CORE of Biotech PR

U.S. agribusiness giant Monsanto recently announced it was raising its earnings expectations. "Monsanto's genetically engineered seed sales are booming - a 20 per cent increase last quarter - and the company expects the growth to continue as it expands outside the U.S.," AP reported. One reason may be Monsanto's extensive use of PR.


Xenophobic Purple People Meters

U.S. Republican pollster Frank Luntz traveled to Britain, "to examine the mood of the voters." According to 30 "swing voters" using "people meters," George Bush may be Tony Blair's biggest liability. Luntz wrote, "We showed them the first few moments of the recent White House press conference where President Bush and Mr.



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