Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Trump campaign microtargeted Black Americans disproportionally 'to deter' them from voting in 2016 election

Desperate to win, it's abundantly clear that Donald Trump will stop at nothing. The strategy in 2016 to deter them from voting apparently worked to some degree.

Being warned is to be forearmed. 

-Angela Valenzuela


Trump campaign microtargeted Black Americans disproportionally 'to deter' them from voting in 2016 election, Channel 4 reports

By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN Politics 9.29.2020

(CNN) In 2016, Donald Trump's campaign targeted 3.5 million Black Americans with negative ads about Hillary Clinton to try and deter them from voting in the last presidential election, according to a new report from the UK's Channel 4 News.

Using a database collected in part by the company Cambridge Analytica, the Trump digital campaign team marked voters in key swing states as "deterrence," or voters they wish to remain at home on Election Day, with African Americans making up a disproportionate amount of those voters, Channel 4 News reported Monday.
CNN has not seen the data obtained by Channel 4 News and cannot verify the findings.
Channel 4 journalist Krishnan Guru-Murthy on Tuesday said while it's "impossible to measure" the impact the alleged deterrence campaign had on the targeted voters, it "revealed the motivations behind what the Trump campaign was trying to do."
"They were trying to deter people from voting, because they knew they couldn't win them over," Guru-Murthy told CNN International's Becky Anderson on Tuesday.
Although there were many reasons Clinton didn't win in 2016, a key factor was that she did not energize enough Black, Latino and younger voters to show up to the polls and win her the White House. She lost traditionally blue-leaning states like Wisconsin, where Clinton was thought to be favored and did not visit the state as the Democratic nominee. Exit polls from 2016 showed a strong distaste for both Trump and Clinton, but voters who expressed negative feelings for both candidates broke in Trump's favor.
Black voters made up 12% of the electorate in 2016 and 89% voted for Clinton over Trump, according to exit polls. According to the Pew Research Center, the black voter turnout rate declined for the first time in 20 years in a presidential election in 2016.
The Trump campaign responded to a CNN inquiry about the Channel 4 report, calling it "fake news" and insisting that Trump "has built a relationship of trust with African American voters" by creating new opportunities and implementing criminal justice reform.
They did not respond to specific questions about the database, which had information on 200 million American voters, according to Channel 4 News.
According to Channel 4, the Trump digital campaign targeted the "deterrence" voters with Facebook ads attacking Clinton, including a video that resurfaced the Democratic nominee's past "super predator" comments. The Trump campaign's tactic of "microtargeting" as described by the Channel 4 News report is legal, and used by other campaigns, political strategy firms and interest groups.
Cambridge Analytica, which shut down operations in 2018, reportedly acquired information on nearly 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge.
Christopher Wylie, a former Cambridge Analytica employee who blew the whistle on its alleged misuse of Facebook data, testified before Congress in 2018 that the company offered services to discourage voting from targeted sections of the American population.
In comments to CNN after the hearing, Wylie alleged that Black Americans were particular targets of Cambridge Analytica's "voter disengagement tactics," which he said were used to "discourage or demobilize certain types of people from voting," and that campaigns and political action committees requested voter suppression from Cambridge Analytica.
Brad Parscale, the Trump campaign's digital director in 2016, told Bloomberg in October 2016 that the campaign was making posts that "only the people we want to see it, see it." The outlet reported that the goal of those posts was "to depress Clinton's vote total. 'We know because we've modeled this,' says the official. 'It will dramatically affect her ability to turn these people out.'"
Parscale later told PBS's "Frontline" in November 2018, "I would say I'm nearly 100 percent sure we did not run any campaigns that targeted ... African Americans, which people think is crazy."
    Facebook is facing renewed scrutiny during the 2020 election after its role in the 2016 cycle, including as a tool for Russian meddling in the US election and to spread misinformation.
    "Since 2016, elections have changed and so has Facebook -- what happened with Cambridge Analytica couldn't happen today," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement provided to CNN. "We have 35,000 people working to ensure the integrity of our platform, created a political ads library, and have protected more than 200 elections worldwide. We also have rules prohibiting voter suppression and are running the largest voter information campaign in American history."

    Op-Ed: Trump’s ‘historic bloc,’ like fascist movements, unifies groups with opposing interests

    Excellent political theory and analysis of why conservative Latinos support Trump by Dr. Alfonso Gonzales Toribio, professor of Ethnic Studies and director of the Latin American Studies Program at UC Riverside. To this, I would add their own lack of understanding of history that Trump exploits as follows:

    "The point of the MAGA slogan is to bury history with its deep class and racial disparities and to conceal the crises of our time: savage inequality, climate change, pandemics and racial conflict."

    His approach is seductive to those that have internalized racism—meaning that they have adopted the dominant, pejorative image of their group—and that, as a consequence, need someone to blame. 

    -Angela Valenzuela



    #SayNoToFascism #Fascism

    Op-Ed: Trump’s ‘historic bloc,’ like fascist movements, unifies groups with opposing interests

    How is it that working-class whites and a significant number of Latinos could support Donald Trump, a self-aggrandizing billionaire with nothing in common with them and little understanding of their lives?

    The Italian political theorist and leader Antonio Gramsci asked a similar question about the appeal of fascism among the working class. Why was it that fascism, a project that favored the capitalist class, could have so much support among working-class people, who by the conventional wisdom of the time were expected to side with the left? This was the fundamental question that Gramsci contemplated in his famed prison notebooks, written from his cell after his arrest by the Italian fascist government in 1926.

    To describe this dynamic, Gramsci put forward the idea of the “historic bloc,” among other concepts, to explain the unification of a constellation of groups with opposing interests into an apparently seamless front. Such a bloc, he argued, blurs the lines between the state and society and functions to repress dissent in moments of crisis and intense labor and social-movement militancy, like the one we are living in now.

    These blocs congeal by demonizing their enemies foreign and domestic, declare states of emergency and criminalize legitimate social protest in the name of national unity. They can unleash a viciousness among the state security forces and among armed citizens. Such blocs don’t have to be based on truth, facts or coherent arguments.

    Never rational, such authoritarian movements are based on pure emotion and a sort of identity politics of the right, using common-sense ideas about how the world works among the working class to draw them from the left. The bloc depends on an intense identification with a strong-man leader, the romanticizing of violence for resolving conflicts and a selective reading of history and national culture that appeals to groups that find protection by joining the bloc even if in a subordinate position.

    Although the base of the Trumpian bloc is overwhelmingly white and male, 26% of Latinos support Trump over Biden. Many conservative Latinos identify with macho political posturing, pro-2nd Amendment rhetoric, simple law-and-order solutions to complex problems, demonization of the left and disdain for the Black Lives Matter movement.

    This bloc, under the “Make America Great Again” banner, requires its supporters — particularly subordinate groups — to accept a degree of cognitive dissonance in submitting to the emotional appeal to a mythical moment of American greatness. For many of the white working class, that moment is before the rise of the civil rights movement, Latino immigration and multiculturalism, the idea that diverse people should have representation and rights in pluralist society.

    For right-wing Latinos, this means ignoring both the historical and the contemporary injustices inflicted on their community, such as the lynching of Mexicans by the Texas Rangers in the 1920s, the deportation of at least 1 million Mexicans in the 1950s, the separation of children from their parents at the border or the alleged coerced hysterectomies of Latina migrant women in immigration detention centers now.

    The point of the MAGA slogan is to bury history with its deep class and racial disparities and to conceal the crises of our time: savage inequality, climate change, pandemics and racial conflict.

    Racism and xenophobia have historically provided the ideological glue that has kept the white working class supporting the most rabid sectors of the capitalist class and from seeing their fate linked with racial others and immigrants. Even during the current economic disaster, it is easier for many working-class whites to identify with the Trumpian bloc, led by a billionaire rooted in the transnational capital class, than to have a sense of solidarity with Latinos or Black people.

    Historic blocs of the right emerge precisely at that moment when the left is strong and when the right decides to stop playing by the rules of liberal democracy, the system for resolving conflicts through representative government and respect for individual rights.

    These are dangerous times that compel us to recall the fascist bloc that emerged in Italy as a reaction to the Biennio Rosso, the great workers movement of 1919 and 1920, when workers took over factories and continued production in defiance of the owners.

    It emerged in Germany on the heels of the Weimar Republic, a liberal government, in the context of intense labor struggles and one of the strongest communist parties in Western Europe at the time. And in the 1930s, authoritarian blocs in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic led to dictatorships and brutal repression that lasted for much of the 20th century.

    In the name of redeeming a victimized nation, fascist leaders like Mussolini and Hitler created historic blocs that destroyed liberal democratic institutions, outlawed dissent and even murdered their opposition, and channeled the anger of the working class into an ultra-nationalist project at the service of capital. Fascism eventually led to the collapse of democracies in Italy, Germany, Spain and Portugal and the death of 85 million people by the end of World War II.

    These are unprecedented times, with a pandemic raging, millions unemployed, rising hunger and poverty, racial tensions and clashes between police and protesters. The stability of the imperfect American democratic experiment is being threatened by a historic bloc that empowers the president to undermine democratic institutions and promote the use of violence against protesters and dissenters in the name of law and order.

    Trump maybe created new symbols, like his red MAGA hat, and slogans to try to differentiate himself from the fascisms of the 20th century. But Robert O. Paxton, a leading historian of fascism, has noted in his classic book “The Anatomy of Fascism” that “a fascism of the future — perhaps an emergency response to some still unimagined crisis — need not resemble classical fascism perfectly in its outward signs and symbols” to be any less dangerous.

    Alfonso Gonzales Toribio is a political theorist and associate professor of ethnic studies and director of the Latin American Studies Program at UC Riverside. He is the author of “Reform Without Justice: Latino Migrant Politics and the Homeland Security State.”

    Tuesday, September 29, 2020

    The Power of Ethnic Studies to Dismantle Institutionalized Oppression in K-12 Public Education

    Welcome to this seminar sponsored by the LBJ School of Public Affairs featuring Dr. Angela Valenzuela, Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy, Austin Independent School District Ethnic Studies Teacher Mr. Andrew Gonzales, and his two Travis High School students, Marian Nuñez and Aldo Frausto that took place on the evening of September 23, 2020. As the title indicates, it demonstrates the power of Ethnic Studies in K-12 education. 

    I encourage all to register and attend the LBJ 10-Week Seminar that is itself titled, "Dismantling Systemic Racism in Education." 

    Thanks to Eliza Epstein for her editing and sizing of this video.  Special thanks, as well, to Mallory Lineberger and Amanda Melancon at the LBJ School for extending this opportunity for us to share with the world the exciting promise that Ethnic Studies holds for revitalizing education.


    -Angela Valenzuela 

    Monday, September 28, 2020

    From the Editors of the Austin American-Statesman: We need reform. Abbott gave us a campaign stop.

    This editorial by the editors of the Austin American-Statesman provides helpful, if urgent, guidance for police reform. We should all be concerned that Texas also allows no-knock warrants of the kind that resulted in Breonna Taylor's death.  In fact, as per this February 1, 2019 article published in the Texas Monthly titled, "A No-Knock Raid in Houston Led to Deaths and Police Injuries. Should Police Rethink the Practice?" a similar horrific situation arose in Houston last year.

    In response to Black Lives Matters together with the Austin Police Department's own culpability in aggressive policies leading to unnecessary death and injury, the current proposed city budget that you can read about here goes into effect on October 1, 2020, reducing the APD budget from $434 million to around $290 million, reapportioning it to social services and an alternative safe policing program.

    In the meantime and in response, Gov. Greg Abbott supports legislation that would punish cities that make police force reduction cuts by withholding from local governments opportunities for city growth via tax revenues and denying them annexation powers. These bills are on the horizon for the next Texas legislative session that re-convenes in January, 2021.

    I want to thank the editors of the Austin American-Statesman for calling out Abbott's lack of leadership while offering clear directions for policy.

    -Angela Valenzuela

    #EndPoliceViolence #endpolicebrutality #atxcouncil @austintexasgov #SayHerName #SayHerNameBreonnaTaylor #CJReform #TexasCJC

    Editorial: We need reform. Abbott gave us a campaign stop.

    by American Statesman Editorial Board

    September 27, 2020

    What a squandered opportunity.

    After months of Texans holding largely peaceful protests demanding changes in the way communities are policed, Gov. Greg Abbott took to the stage this week to discuss public safety. His big announcement? Rioters who assault police officers, hurt others or cause property damage — crimes already punishable by jail time — should face stiffer penalties.

    Certain illegal acts should be even more illegal.

    Of course, such behavior is dangerous and intolerable. Such acts have been the outliers, though, in the otherwise nonviolent protests in Texas over the past few months, since George Floyd’s death galvanized calls to end abusive police practices. Yet Abbott shamefully squandered this important moment, ginning up outrage about rioters and ignoring the deeper injustices that brought protesters to the streets to begin with.

    Perhaps we should have expected as much: Abbott’s appearance was a campaign event, and his message played nicely into the Republicans’ law-and-order mantra this election season. But in this moment, Texans needed Abbott to discuss policing not as a politician, but as our governor.

    We should be talking about no-knock warrants and SWAT raids. Abbott’s press conference came the day after a Louisville, Kentucky, grand jury cleared police officers for killing Breonna Taylor during a horribly botched SWAT raid of her apartment. Just sit with that for a moment: The law allows police to get warrants to bust into people’s homes while they sleep, and officers can use deadly force if a resident, like Taylor’s boyfriend, opens fire on the people he thinks are intruders.

    Last year a Houston couple died in a similar type of violent and unnecessary raid. Authorities later indicted an ex-Houston cop for allegedly falsifying information to get the warrant.

    The larger practice of no-knock raids still cries out for dramatic reform. This tactic should be reserved for only the most extraordinary cases and justified by rigorous vetting. No one else should die in their own home from a pointless raid.

    We should be talking about banning chokeholds and requiring de-escalation. Both are provisions of the George Floyd Act proposed last month by the Texas Legislative Black Caucus. Neither should be controversial with anyone who watched the video of Floyd gasping to breathe in his final moments, a Minneapolis police officer’s knee pressed into his neck.

    We should be talking about ending arrests for fine-only offenses. As we’ve noted before, these arrests drive up jail costs for taxpayers, contribute to overcrowding and burden defendants with a jail stay when a simple summons to appear in court would do. Ending such arrests is also a component of the George Floyd Act, and if we’re serious about addressing racial inequities, this is one of the places to start. Among those facing these low-level charges, the data show minorities are more likely to go to jail and whites are more likely to get a ticket.We should be talking about reining in pretextual traffic stops. Because Sandra Bland, pulled over in 2015 for failing to use her turn signal when changing lanes, didn’t have to die in a Waller County jail cell. Because Javier Ambler II, pulled over last year after failing to dim his headlights and then fleeing from Williamson County deputies, didn’t have to die after repeated jolts from a Taser.

    We should be talking about police tactics against protesters. We recognize officers need tools to defend themselves or to disrupt a gathering that has turned dangerous. But we’ve also seen the horrific head injuries Austin police inflicted — in some cases on bystanders — by using so-called “less lethal” ammunition on protesters in May. APD has since stopped using lead pellet-filled “beanbag” rounds for crowd control. Lawmakers should make that prohibition statewide.

    We could go on. Qualified immunity. Police training. Transparency when someone dies in police custody. Abbott had his pick of important public safety issues to discuss this week. He chose instead to rail about rioters.

    What a waste. Texans hunger for real public safety reforms. Abbott was content to play politics as usual.

    Sunday, September 27, 2020

    Amidst a Global Pandemic, Appellate Court Denies Protection and Stability for TPS holders including overlooked African, Black Latinx, and Haitian Families.

    Temporary Protected Status (TPS), as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision ruled in Ramos v Nielsen is not only cruel, but woefully misguided. As noted in this press release, the consequences of ending TPS since such individuals are the ones risking their lives on the front lines during this pandemic.

    "The irony of a racist administration seeking to destabilize and harm community members who are playing an integral role in stabilizing the country in its time of need cannot go unnoticed."

    This decision will now go to the SCOTUS.

    -Angela Valenzuela

    Amidst a Global Pandemic, Appellate Court Denies Protection and Stability for TPS holders including overlooked African, Black Latinx, and Haitian Families

    September 14, 2020

    Washington, DC- UndocuBlack Network shares anger and outrage about the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to rule in favor of the Trump Administration in Ramos v Nielsen and againstTemporary Protected Status (TPS) holders. As we continue to endure the unique challenges of surviving a global pandemic, this judgment against our communities runs the risk of causing further harm to an already vulnerable population. Today’s decision will certainly affect over 300,000 TPS holders from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan. TPS holders from Nepal and Honduras are impacted by the Bhatteri v. Nielsen case which is likely to follow the pattern set by the ninth circuit court decision on the Ramos case, thereby ending TPS for them in the near future as well. The Trump administration challenged the bare minimum provision of TPS and today’s ruling from the ninth circuit affirmed Trump’s racist arguments. 

    Overview of the Legal Holding

    The appellate court decided that the plaintiff’s claim under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) is not reviewable. The court explained that the claim did not challenge a procedure, but rather the substance of a law, which the APA does not cover. In the opinion posted today the court also held that the district court “abused its discretion” in concluding that the Plaintiffs presented “at least serious questions on the merits of their Equal Protection claim.”  

    They further explained their denial of this claim by saying that there was no evidence that the racist statements Trump has made in the past, were a direct motivation for the termination of TPS.  

    Next Steps and Response from the Communities 

    As the United States continues to face an onslaught of COVID-19 cases, TPS holders have been instrumental on the front lines by providing care in hospitals and other essential industries. The irony of a racist administration seeking to destabilize and harm community members who are playing an integral role in stabilizing the country in its time of need cannot go unnoticed. The decision of the Ninth Circuit judges today to side with the government further enables the Trump administration’s continued and systematic racism and destruction of programs that benefit Black and Brown immigrants. 

    United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must respond to today’s decision with the agency’s guidelines or plans to move forward with the termination of the program. Since the decision was received after September 4, 2020, the January 4, 2021 expiration date for work permits and status for TPS holders stand. USCIS must also give notice before ending TPS. It is expected that the earliest they could do another termination date is in March 2021. UndocuBlack Network will continue to fight against such cruel policies until equity is achieved for our immigrant communities.

    “The Temporary Protected Status program gives hope to Nicaraguans who come to this country in search of stability and progress. Today's decision to end TPS is a continuation of biased, unfair immigration policy. Weaponizing TPS is psychologically violent to thousands of Nicaraguans who escaped natural disasters, political persecution, and economic turmoil. This ploy is itself a disaster, persecution, and turmoil. What needs to end is inhumanity.“ - Ana, Nicaraguan, UndocuBlack member 

    “I don’t really know what to say right now. I do know that this isn’t over until the Supreme Court decides, we will keep fighting. I am currently finishing my studies and working, other people I know have kids going back to school. I was having a good day until this, I was looking forward to making future plans.” -- Lys, Haitian TPS holder, UndocuBlack member 

    “ The floundering Trump administration has failed at every opportunity to create any positive progress for the country for four disastrous years; instead they’ve created a trail of preventable deaths, destruction, and turmoil. Caging children was not enough, holding children hostage in hotels awaiting deportation was not enough---a global pandemic was not enough to stop their racist rampage against Black and Brown immigrants, families, and children. The resources put towards endless court cases and the deportation machine called ICE shows a consistent lack of reasoning, prioritizing, and overall leadership. The country and our people can not, should NOT be put through four more years of this incompetence, and destruction. This administration is a toxin, and the time to stand firmly on the right side of history is now. We need everyone and anyone who cares about us to dismiss this TPS ruling and be committed to fighting like hell to make sure the work permits for folks do not expire as slated for January 4, 2021.”--Patrice Lawrence, Co-director of UndocuBlack

    Press can contact our Communications Coordinator: with any questions.

    In Solidarity,


    Latina Voices featuring the late Dr. Laura Padilla

    I encourage all to listen to this video on Vimeo of the late Dr. Laura Padilla presented by Latina voices.

    Her dissertation, titled, “Land of Enchantment, Land of Mi Chante: Four Arguments in New Mexican Literature,” is here at the UT Library for those of you that have access.

    Her presentation is so incredibly moving and courageous. I remember her so well. Even as she continues to have so much to give, she nevertheless left this world much too soon.

    -Angela Valenzuela


    Latina Voices featuring the late Dr. Laura Padilla

    Latina Voices from PPLD TV on Vimeo.

    Laura Padilla is an assistant professor of English at Colorado College who researches U.S. Southwestern literature, with a focus on works by Mexican Americans in New Mexico. She teaches classes on Chicano Movement Literature and Native American Literature.


    Educators, Scholars, and Organizations in the U.S., Do read and sign this petition germane to this administration's flagging of trainings pertinent to Critical Race Theory and white privilege, particularly at a time where we need anti-racist training everywhere lest we unknowingly disenfranchise our youth and communities.

    It's encouraging to see the hundreds of folks that have signed, myself included.

    -Angela Valenzuela

    A Statement by U.S. Educators & Educational Scholars

    There is wide agreement that U.S. schools should prepare young people for democratic engagement in a diverse world, but there is disagreement about what exactly that should look like. The battle over what story about the United States gets taught in schools and who gets to tell that story is what has made education, particularly history curriculum, one of the main sites of ideological struggle. Today, as has happened repeatedly before, those who insist on teaching only a white supremacist rendition of U.S. history claim that curricula about the historical and systemic nature of race and racism are based on lies, biased, divisive, and un- or anti-American—but research soundly rejects such claims.

    Curriculum can never be neutral on issues of diversity because it cannot help but to include only certain events, experiences, perspectives, and actors, while excluding all others. The fact that curriculum is always and necessarily partial requires of any learned individual the capacity and commitment to ask: who or what is included and excluded; what is the story or message that results; and, what is the impact of that underlying story on me and those around me, and in particular, whose interest does it serve? Decades of research has detailed the whitewashed nature of traditional curriculum in U.S. schools and the ways that such curriculum is framed around the perspectives and experiences of white people; is incomplete in its exclusion of the experiences and perspectives of communities of color; and is misleading in its privileging of whiteness as normalized (equating Americanness with whiteness) and normative (equating whiteness with superiority). Further, the traditional curriculum is anti-democratic in its suppression of the central role of dissent, resistance, and revolution in the making of our country and the world. Schools are teaching about race and normalizing whiteness all the time; we just do not always realize that we are doing so, or how.

    As a result, students are learning only a limited range of the knowledge and skills needed for critically examining, understanding, and addressing any range of injustices. For example, when schools teach about enslavement, such lessons are often taught without adequate contextualization of broader historical, economic, political, and racial forces; and are largely centered on white experiences and perspectives that emphasize underlying narratives that our society has made much progress when it comes to race and racism. Such lessons rarely connect with ongoing legacies of white supremacy, colonialism, imperialism, and other injustices and their embeddedness through any number of laws and institutions, which is the focus of inquiry in such fields as Critical Race Theory. Without such inquiry, many in the United States today have difficulty understanding, say, the demands of the Movement for Black Lives, the controversies over Confederate monuments and symbols, and the inadequacy of programs meant to alleviate the large and persistent racialized wealth gap when they fail to tackle its structural causes.

    The research is clear that a race-conscious curriculum does not fuel divisiveness; on the contrary, it improves cross-racial attitudes and relationships. A race-conscious curriculum does not detract from academics; on the contrary, particularly for students of color, who are now the majority of U.S. K-12 students, it increases learning, retention, and graduation. None of this should be surprising: children and youth bring to school their ongoing experiences with racism, and many welcome curricula that help them name and make sense of those experiences.

    Race-conscious curricula about systems and legacies of racism in the United States are not new, nor are attacks on them. Think of the multicultural curriculum of the Civil Rights era and A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn, and more recent struggles to include Ethnic Studies curriculum and The New York Times’ 1619 Project initiated by Nikole Hannah-Jones in schools nationwide. Scholars and educators have long argued that curriculum is irresponsible, misleading, and undemocratic when it fails to include the experiences of marginalized groups and the dynamics, systems, and ideologies that caused or perpetuated their disenfranchisement. Not surprisingly, it is curriculum entrenched in white supremacy that gets normalized as objective and neutral, whereas efforts to raise awareness about the discomforting realities of race and racism get dismissed as, in Trump's words, “toxic propaganda” and “child abuse”—or, in the case of the Arizona state legislature’s framing of Ethnic Studies in 2010, as promoting separatism, “resentment toward a race or class of people,” and even “the overthrow of the United States government.” 

    On September 4th, the White House issued a directive against using taxpayer dollars to support “divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions.” By explicitly flagging trainings about Critical Race Theory and white privilege, the directive illustrated the easy tendency to conflate studying racism with being divisive or weakening the nation. At the September 17th White House History Conference, Vice President Pence warned that, in schools, “some are seeking to erase our history.” President Trump attributed this erasure to “decades of leftwing indoctrination” by the likes of Zinn, even threatening to withhold funding from California schools that teach the 1619 Project. Earlier that day, Education Secretary DeVos praised the 1776 Unites Curriculum for its more positive portrayal of the experience of African Americans when compared to the 1619 Project, and Trump echoed this praise and suggested that the government should support the creation of more such “pro-American” curriculum.

    The condemnation of race-conscious curriculum often goes hand-in-hand with calls for “pro-American” curriculum, which is a concept that can veil American exceptionalism or colonialism, and itself has a long history. A year after 9/11, President George W. Bush called for schools to teach patriotism. He argued that students need to learn "the great cause of America;” that “the principles we hold are the hope of all mankind;" and that, “when children are given the real history of America, they will also learn to love America." In the 1980s and 90s, conservative backlash to the multicultural curriculum of the 1960s and 70s and to the publication of Zinn’s A People’s History in 1980 consisted of calls for such things as “back to basics,” “cultural literacy,” and a national curriculum. Almost a century ago, in 1933, Carter G. Woodson’s The Mis-Education of the Negro highlighted the racist nature of curriculum in segregated schools for Black students, not unlike the analyses of racist “Americanization” curriculum in the American Indian Boarding Schools throughout the continental United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s—both types of curriculum served to teach subservience in a white-dominated society.

    Our country cannot become more just and democratic without illuminating, addressing, and healing from its long legacies of injustices, including imperialism, colonialism, and racism. As educators and educational scholars who specialize in early-childhood, K-12, and higher education across the United States, we reject the renewed calls to deny or ignore the legacies and systems of racism that have long defined and shaped U.S. schools and society and that continue to do so. Our job is to teach toward democracy by teaching the truth, and we proudly work collectively and in solidarity with the communities most impacted by injustice to do so.

    RideShare2Vote will take you to the Polls on Election Day


    Let's help get the vote out on election day by getting rides for people that need them to get to the polls. It's not enough to get folks registered to vote, as many also also need help getting to the polls.

    Rideshare2Vote will help make this happen.  Consider making a donation to them, as well.

    Please help spread the word!

    -Angela Valenzuela



    Saturday, September 26, 2020

    Surveillance in an Era of Pandemic and Protest: Landmark Conversation with Naomi Klein, Shoshana Zuboff & Simone Browne


    I strongly urge you to listen to this landmark conversation with "Shock Doctrine" author, Naomi Klein, Shoshana Zuboff, author of "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism," and Simone Browne, author of "Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness."
    It's chock-full of really good, if startling, information on how our privacy is violated, abetted by our sense of resignation. For instance check out this transcript of much of what Shoshana Zuboff shared:

    A novel development now is how with technology, students' homes become the new site for the playing out of the school-to-prison pipeline. Read the write-up below and listen to this very powerful and timely conversation.

    -Angela Valenzuela

    As this summer of pandemic and racial justice protests draws to a close, Naomi Klein will host a landmark conversation between Shoshana Zuboff, author of "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism," and Simone Browne, author of "Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness." The three authors will discuss how both governments and tech giants are using our moment of overlapping crises to push through discredited surveillance technologies that threaten privacy, democracy, and any hope of equality.
    Early in the pandemic, Klein wrote that these forces have aligned to “advance a vision of a future in which our every move, our every word, our every relationship is trackable, traceable, and data-mineable.” For the privileged, “almost everything is home delivered, either virtually via streaming and cloud technology, or physically via driverless vehicle or drone.”
    But, Zuboff warns, “We’re not necessarily locked into this deterministic narrative that too many pundits are hawking and the tech companies are salivating over — that post-Covid-19, we’re going to have comprehensive biosurveillance of all of society. ... People are worried. People are asking questions.”
    Racial justice movements are also winning major victories against surveillance technologies like facial recognition. And as Browne reminds us, “surveillance is nothing new to Black folks.” In "Dark Matters," Browne traces modern surveillance practices back to the policing of Black lives under slavery, comparing the branding of slaves to present-day methods of tracking, surveilling, and commodifying people.
    In this live conversation, Klein, Zuboff, and Browne will unpack the dangers of surveillance capitalism — and how we can rise to this crisis and create a fair and equitable future.
    In partnership with Rutgers University–New Brunswick.
    Subscribe to our channel:
    #TheMiningOfTheSelf  #DigitalCommons #Unionize