Disclaimer: Content on the YP4 blog does not necessarily reflect the views of Young People For or People For the American Way Foundation. The views, ideas, statements or claims posted on this site by members of the public cannot in any way be attributed to either Young People For or People For the American Way Foundation.
Reporters Without Borders released its annual Press Freedom Index today.
The good news: the United States moved up 12 points from last year. (A higher ranking indicates more press freedom.) The bad news: we're still only #36 out of the 173 countries indexed.
In a previous posting (http://www.youngpeoplefor.org/blog/posts/3663), I included a letter from Black Panther member, Assata Shakur (who some may know as the aunt of hip hop legend, Tupac Shakur), who is living in exile in Cuba. I am still processing the content of her letter, as I am reading it from the race/gender lenses.
According to this article in the Los Angeles Times, AT&T's Lollapalooza webcast went silent when Pearl Jam’s lead singer started to criticize George W. Bush. The company claimed it was an accident, but a crew member has since come forward to say that “at a previous event...the instructions were to shut it down if...anybody starts getting political.”
So notice how in my previous blog, A Response To All Don Imus Apologists, I mentioned the 3 usual defenses for racially insensitive (read racist) statements.
Well, Don Imus took the #2 (Well if THEY can say it...) approach and it has avalanched into a crusade known as hip-hop-crisy as addressed in The Shame Blame Game.
But this critique of hip hop has been around since hip hop itself, usually from the voices within the community. So in the wake of the Don Imus fiasco, what's the deal with all of the Hip Hop Apologists?
This fifth element of my debate on language comes as we see Imus booted for his racist comments and as I recently viewed a youtube video of Frank Zappa defending the right to say what you want.
I have argued for learning more than one language and not restricting the official language of the US. I have discussed the true political correctness and how using language should only be restricted when it is used as hate. I have covered ebonics and what is percieved as 'standard' english. I then explored the ideas of anonymity and apathy and their impact on the credibility of language.
The deep root and anchor of language lies in its power, language has an immense degree of power. With that power comes a great responsibility.
There is a danger shelved within in our school libraries. Fortunately, a few brave librarians are willing to banish this danger to protect our children.
What is this danger? No--it's not the terrorists. It's not even the teacher's unions--though those unions are apparently more dangerous than Al Qaeda. The danger I speak of is more subtle and more popular and therefore even more perilous. Ready for the danger...drum roll...it's the word "scrotum."
The evil word appears in a children's book "The Higher Power of Lucky," by Susan Patron, this year's winner of the Newbery Medal, the most prestigious award in children's literature. Thankfully, as the NYT reports, the book has been banned from many school libraries across the country.
I know what you're thinking--how could I write this evil word on the YP4 Blog? Some of the Fellows are barely 18 years old--what if they are exposed to the word? One angry librarian outlined the dangers of the word: "This book included what I call a Howard Stern-type shock treatment just to see how far they could push the envelope, but they didn't have the children in mind." If the word scrotum is as far as the envelope can be pushed, then this librarian has a lot of books to burn.
The Vagina Monologues, a play by Eve Ensler, inspired a global movement to stop violence against women. Known as V-Day, this movement organizes local volunteers and college students to produce annual benefit performances around Valentines Day of The Vagina Monologues to raise awareness and funds for anti-violence groups within their own communities.
A campaign to end violence against women: seems like a noble cause that everyone can embrace. Who is going to be against that?
Unfortunately, empowering women and raising awareness of violence and rape is a more controversial topic than it should be. St. John's University recently banned a performance of the Vagina Monologues citing it goes against the values of the Catholic institution. Interesting...A movement to stop violence against women goes against the values of the institution.