Back in San Martin, the Kuangs continue to live the farming life of their ancestors. But this way of life is increasingly under threat − not from the manufacture of watches, toys and clothes, but from Internet company headquarters and the surrounding neighborhoods where its employees live. Since buying 12.9 acres here in 1998, the Kuangs have watched the price tag of surrounding land increase from $30,000 an acre to as much as $70,000 in recent years. According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, more than half of the Asian American farmers in Santa Clara County operate on less than 10 acres of land. Unlike their white and Latino counterparts, the number of Asians operating farms larger than 180 acres can be counted on one hand.
Of the roughly 130 Asian growers documented in this county, the majority are Chinese, and most of the Chinese growers here own land in or on the fringes of urban zones. In areas zoned for agriculture, land can be purchased at $100,000 an acre, according to Aziz Baameur, a University of California farm adviser based in Santa Clara County. However, land in the bedroom communities of Silicon Valley, such as Gilroy and Morgan Hill, could easily fetch between $300,000 and $500,000 per acre. New farmers have few prospects of buying land “unless it’s someone from Silicon Valley who is cottage farming on the weekends,” Baameur says.
While the Silicon Valley of Apple and Facebook is no longer a land of blossoms and orchards, Chinese farmers like the Kuangs continue to wage a battle for farmland preservation in Santa Clara County. — Li Miao Lovett, “Farming Silicon Valley,” Hyphen Magazine Spring 2013
Earlier this week, Mignon Clyburn became the first woman and first African-American to head the Federal Communications Commission. Although, Clyburn will head the Commission, which started in 1934, her position is temporary; Congress is currently approving Obama’s permanent choice for head of the commission, Tom Wheeler, which could take an unforeseen amount of time.
Mignon Clyburn overtook the position when former head Julius Genachowski resigned to join the Aspen Institute, a research institution, as a senior fellow. Although, Clyburn’s position is brief she will lead the organization through an important time, which includes regulating media ownership and a decision on the Softbank-Sprint deal.
Clyburn’s first act of business as acting chairwoman was addressing the staff of the FCC, acknowledging her plan for the organization. According to, “At FCC, Mignon Clyburn cracks the glass ceiling”, by Brooks Boliek for Politico, Clyburn, stated, “I see myself as a member of a relay team, running one of the middle legs. My job is to build on forward momentum, give the next teammate a running start, an improved position, and no matter what, my goal is not to drop the baton.” — Tatiana Brown, “Mignon Clyburn Becomes The First Woman, First African American To Head The FCC,” For Harriet 5/23/13
Whatever one thinks about Harvard or Richwine, the real lesson here goes beyond both of them.
Even if Richwine’s dissertation, despite all of its errors and omissions, was “good enough” to earn a passing mark, it’s emphatically not “good enough” to make a real contribution to our knowledge about the intersection between race and IQ. The scholarly errors in his research are too pervasive and severe.
Beyond the failure of craft, however, is the serious harm that can result from quasi-eugenic works masquerading as serious research. Alleging that, as a group, an enormous percentage of Americans are and always will be dumber than their fellow citizens isn’t just normal academic inquiry. Richwine bemoans the lack of “social trust” purportedly created by American diversity, but few things could undermine the shared bonds of citizenship more than widespread belief among one “race” that others are so unintelligent that more of them can be let into the country.
This isn’t a theoretical point. Throughout American history, the so-called science of race and IQ has been used by the powerful to demarcate “good” citizens and separate them from the “dangerous” ones. Minorities and minority immigrants in particular have borne the brunt of these attacks, as Ta-Nehisi Coates demonstrates by simply quoting the words of anti-immigrant advocates against themselves. Much as Richwine may sound like a disinterested scholar, his work does not occur in a political or social vacuum. His own policy recommendations to limit immigration to high-IQ individuals proves it.
It is the case that, on some tests of intelligence, there are demonstrated gaps between different groups of Americans, particularly ones identified as “black” and “white.” As we’ve seen, the evidence overwhelmingly suggests these broad groups have little do with “race” simpliciter and much more to do with the environments people of certain races find themselves in. These findings underscore that careful scholarship on the sources of this gap, like Richard Nisbett’s or Christopher Jencks’, is legitimate academic inquiry and should be vigorously protected as such.
But this field is no place for dilettantes. The costs of being wrong are too high, the fearful forces fueled too powerful for race and IQ research to be judged like normal work. There needs to be a premium on conceptual precision and empirical accuracy over and above standard operating procedure, even (or perhaps especially) at a place as esteemed as Harvard. Anyone who wants to work in this area should be set to a higher standard, asked to explain what “race” means and whether it’s really what matters when we talk about IQ. It’s a bar Jason Richwine’s simplistic research never would have cleared.
Sometimes, “good enough” isn’t good enough. —
Zack Beauchamp, “The Inside Story Of The Harvard Dissertation That Became Too Racist For Heritage,” ThinkProgress.com 5/22/13
“It is the case that, on some tests of intelligence, there are demonstrated gaps between different groups of Americans, particularly ones identified as “black” and “white.” As we’ve seen, the evidence overwhelmingly suggests these broad groups have little do with “race” simpliciter and much more to do with the environments people of certain races find themselves in. These findings underscore that careful scholarship on the sources of this gap, like Richard Nisbett’s or Christopher Jencks’, is legitimate academic inquiry and should be vigorously protected as such.”
Really? We should “vigorously protect” the “legitimate academic inquiry” of race and IQ? After it’s been dismissed again and again as pseudo-science?
Victo Ngai (via Mystery and Science Fiction)
Gorgeous use of negative space.
Black women are, it seems, damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Our collective singleness, independence, and unsanctioned mothering are an affront to mainstream womanhood. But a high-profile married black woman who uses her husband’s name (if only for purposes of showbiz) or admits the influence her male partner has had on her life is an affront to feminism.
Wilson says that in the context of pathologized black womanhood and black relationships, Beyoncé and the Knowles-Carter clan “counter a narrative about our families that has been defined by the media for too long about what our families must look like and how they’re comprised.” Black women’s sexuality and our roles as mothers and partners have been treated as public issues as far back as slavery, even as family life for most citizens has been viewed as a private matter. Our nation’s “peculiar institution” treated human beings—black human beings—as property. And so, black women’s partnering—when and whom we partnered with and the offspring of those unions—were at the very foundation of the American economy. According to Jackson, “People would talk about black women’s sexuality in polite company like they would talk about race horses foaling calves.”
Like critiques of her sexed-up performances, response to Beyoncé’s recent pregnancy illustrates that black female bodies remain fodder for public gossip. Even with the devotion of mainstream media (especially the entertainment and gossip genres) to monitoring female celebrities’ sexuality, “baby bumps,” and engagement rocks, the speculation about Beyoncé’s womb stands apart as truly bizarre. Almost as soon as the singer revealed her pregnancy at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, there was conjecture—amplified by a televised interview in which the singer’s dress folded “suspiciously” around her middle—that it was all a ruse to cover for the use of a surrogate.
The HBO documentary, which chronicled her pregnancy, failed to quiet the deliberation. Gawker writer Rich Juzwiak proclaimed, “Beyoncé has never been less convincing about the veracity of her pregnancy than she was in her own movie…. We never see a full, clear shot of Beyoncé’s pregnant, swanlike body. Instead it’s presented in pieces, owing to the limitations of her Mac webcam. When her body is shown in full, it’s in grainy, black-and-white footage in which her face is shadowed.” There is, in this assessment, a disturbing assumption of ownership over Beyoncé’s body. Why won’t this woman display her naked body on television to prove to the world that she carried a baby in her uterus?
The conversation surrounding Beyoncé feels like assessing a prize thoroughbred rather than observing a human woman, and it is dismaying when so-called feminist discourse contributes to that. Feminism is about challenging structural inequalities in society, but the criticism of Beyoncé as a feminist figure smacks of hating the player and ignoring the game, to twist an old phrase. — Tami Winfrey Harris, “All Hail The Queen?” Bitch Magazine 5/20/13
Kochiyama’s life in social change is inspiring, both for its longevity and for her willingness to take on the most controversial causes. She is, perhaps, most famous for her association with Malcolm X, and for the photos of her holding Malcolm X in her arms as he lay dying after being gunned down in the Audubon Ballroom on February 12, 1965. But there was much, much more to Kochiyama’s activism than her sojourn with the Organization for Afro-American Unity. She fought for Puerto Rican independence, provided support for social and political prisoners, and was instrumental in the fight for reparations for Japanese American internees.
But the importance of Kochiyama’s story doesn’t end with her personal history. For while she is no doubt a remarkable person, she was not alone among Asian Americans of her generation in her commitment to social justice. Throughout her story we are reminded of others who struggled alongside her, of the the Asian American movement of the 1960s that was inspired, in part, by Japanese American internment, exclusionary and blatantly racist immigration laws, the Vietnam War, and exploitation and discrimination of Asian immigrant workers. That movement gave birth to the phrase “Asian American” as a statement of inter-ethnic solidarity, and it stood against unjust wars and with the movements for African American civil rights, workers rights, and immigrant rights, and for multiculturalism, open enrollment in colleges and universities, and diversification of university curricula. That movement gave us Asian American studies, and Asian American studies has allowed us to create a record of our history, in our own words. — Scot Nakagawa, “Yuri Kochiyama,” ChangeLab 5/20/13
'...by and large, cable news guests are presented as experts. They tell us what the news means, how to assess partisan claims and counterclaims, what policy ideas to take seriously and what to dismiss. The fact that white men are dramatically overrepresented should come as no surprise—white men are dramatically overrepresented in just about every category of elite and opinion-shaper—but it sure is a powerful reminder of how, literally, white men's voices are more likely to be heard in our politics and culture.' -