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arsenio hall returned to late-night tv last month after an almost 20-year hiatus. his first run was in many ways groundbreaking, featuring moments like a soon-to-be president clinton playing the sax and in the video above, arsenio taking on members of the gay rights group queer nation. i just saw the latter for the first time recently. it was an interesting (and welcome) departure from the usual late-night show vibe. it also shows how some aspects of the gay rights convo have changed and while others have remained the same.
watch the clip and let me know what you think. to catch arsenio’s new show, check your local listings (or just click here).
some people believe that america is so post-racial that things like racial harassment and profiling are a thing of our dark past (“i mean, our president is black!”). sadly, that is not the case. in new york city alone, racial discrimination is a city-sanctioned, festering reality affecting over 1,800 people a day. this figure comes in form of the police dept’s stop-and-frisk policy, which allows officers to stop and search people they deem suspicious. now, the standard of suspicious is tenuous enough on its own. however, the policy is further complicated by the nypd’s propensity for applying it to racial minorities.
in the video above “the hunted and the hated”, director russ tuttle gives viewers a multi-layered look at stop-and-frisk from the perspective of citizens and police officers. even with the statistics and testimonials that you’ll see and hear in the film, maybe the most damning aspect of it is the recorded audio of a police stop and one between two officers. from naacp prez ben jealous:
“The tape brings to light what so many New Yorkers have experienced in the shadows at the hands of the NYPD. It is time for Mayor Bloomberg to come to grips with the scale of the damage his policies have inflicted on our children and their families. No child should have to grow up fearing both the cops and the robbers.”
and donna lieberman, executive director of the new york civil liberties union:
“This audio confirms what we’ve been hearing from communities of color, again and again. They are repeatedly subjected to abusive and disrespectful treatment at the hands of the NYPD. This explains why so many young people don’t trust the police and won’t help the police. It’s not good for law enforcement and not good for the individuals who face this harassment.”
what do you think about stop-and-frisk? have you or someone you know been subject to it before?
in anticipation of the london olympics, bbc news interviewed american bronze medalist john carlos, who is responsible for one of the iconic moments in olympic history. carlos (pictured right) and his teammate tommie smith (center) used their moment of triumph at the 1968 games in mexico city to shine a light on the racial and social injustice happening back home. in the audio above, carlos breaks down the protest and the backlash that he received immediately and many years after he put his black fist in the air.
on april 16, 1960, a 31-year old martin luther king jr. made his first of five appearances on the nbc news show meet the press. facing a four-person panel of reporters, he addresses the merits of the sit-in protests, handling conflicts between local, federal and moral law, the perceived violent results of a nonviolent approach, the civil rights act of 1960 and interracial marriage. it’s a good look at seeing how some things have changed and others remained the same. part 1 is below with parts 2 and 3 after the jump. thanks to brother west.
(l to r) poitier, belafonte and heston at the 1963 march on washington
within hours of martin sharing his dream with the world, some of hollywood’s elite got together to discuss the state of civil rights in america. the panel included james baldwin, harry belafonte, marlon brando, joseph mankiewicz, charlton heston and sir sidney poitier. each man came in with different backgrounds and levels of investment in the civil rights movement. this not only led to an interesting talk, but it also gives us today a good snapshot of the country from almost 50 years ago.
some of my personal highlights/comments after the jump: