Study of Sex Workers in Vietnam

More than a million dollars in U.S. federal funds will be used to examine homosexual male prostitutes in Vietnam.
The National Institutes of Health has awarded $1.44 million for a “study of drug and sexual risk among young male sex workers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.”
“There are an estimated 8.3 million individuals with HIV infections in Asia, one-fifth the disease burden worldwide,” the project abstract states. “Initially thought to be confined to circumspect populations of male (injection-drug users) and female sex workers, it is now clear that men who have sex with men are also at high risk.”
Along with rapid increases in cases of HIV and sexually transmitted infections among young men in the region, the abstract states that there’s also been an “expansion of markets for male sex work and international male sex tourism.” Many of the male prostitutes also have female partners.
The agency says the first study will “describe the settings, venues, and overall social milieu in which male sex work is being situated.”
The second study will conduct a survey to “estimate the size of the male sex worker population in each city.”
The third study will be a broad cross-sectional study to construct a “comprehensive ethno-epidemiological profile of behavioral HIV risk among male sex workers.”
Study 4 will assess negative medical consequences in the population and screen for the presence of HIV and sexually transmitted infections.
“In Study 5, we will recruit young men who have recently initiated male sex work for participation in a one-year series of ethnographic interviews to describe the unique vulnerabilities associated with the early course of male sex work,” the abstract states.
Study 6 will use data from earlier studies to assess the impact of behavioral risk among male sex workers on the diffusion of HIV-1 in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Under a section titled “Public Health Relevance,” the agency explains why the project is needed:
This study seeks to address an important public-health question: what is the impact of male sex work on the growing HIV epidemics in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam? HIV rates in Vietnam are rapidly increasing, and yet there are limited data on the role that different populations play in this increase. Existing data are based on the assumption that HIV is found primarily in injection-drug users and female sex workers, with only recent attention being paid to men who have sex with men. … Through comprehensive behavioral interviews, detailed ethnography and state-of-the art biological tests (including tests for HIV and (hepatitis C) subtypes and HIV treatment resistance), we will describe the demographic, social and economic characteristics of the male sex worker population in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, as well as the unique vulnerabilities associated with the onset and early social course of male sex work. …
The National Institute on Drug Abuse, a component of the National Institutes of Health, is listed as the funding entity, and the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine is the grant recipient. According to the institute website, the institute supports more than 85 percent of the world’s research on drug abuse and addiction.
It receives its funding through congressional appropriations, and the institute is also authorized to accept donations.
The following are recent award amounts for the Vietnam study:
Fiscal year 2010: $442,340
Fiscal year 2009: $465,974
Fiscal year 2008: $534,201
A total of $1,442,515 in federal funds has been awarded to the project.
<a href=http://projectreporter.nih.gov/project_info_description.cfm?aid=7797618&icde=4252393 target=awer>Read the details here.</a>

More than a million dollars in U.S. federal funds will be used to examine homosexual male prostitutes in Vietnam.
The National Institutes of Health has awarded $1.44 million for a “study of drug and sexual risk among young male sex workers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.”
“There are an estimated 8.3 million individuals with HIV infections in Asia, one-fifth the disease burden worldwide,” the project abstract states. “Initially thought to be confined to circumspect populations of male (injection-drug users) and female sex workers, it is now clear that men who have sex with men are also at high risk.”
Along with rapid increases in cases of HIV and sexually transmitted infections among young men in the region, the abstract states that there’s also been an “expansion of markets for male sex work and international male sex tourism.” Many of the male prostitutes also have female partners.
The agency says the first study will “describe the settings, venues, and overall social milieu in which male sex work is being situated.”
The second study will conduct a survey to “estimate the size of the male sex worker population in each city.”
The third study will be a broad cross-sectional study to construct a “comprehensive ethno-epidemiological profile of behavioral HIV risk among male sex workers.”
Study 4 will assess negative medical consequences in the population and screen for the presence of HIV and sexually transmitted infections.
“In Study 5, we will recruit young men who have recently initiated male sex work for participation in a one-year series of ethnographic interviews to describe the unique vulnerabilities associated with the early course of male sex work,” the abstract states.  Study 6 will use data from earlier studies to assess the impact of behavioral risk among male sex workers on the diffusion of HIV-1 in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Under a section titled “Public Health Relevance,” the agency explains why the project is needed:
This study seeks to address an important public-health question: what is the impact of male sex work on the growing HIV epidemics in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam? HIV rates in Vietnam are rapidly increasing, and yet there are limited data on the role that different populations play in this increase. Existing data are based on the assumption that HIV is found primarily in injection-drug users and female sex workers, with only recent attention being paid to men who have sex with men. … Through comprehensive behavioral interviews, detailed ethnography and state-of-the art biological tests (including tests for HIV and (hepatitis C) subtypes and HIV treatment resistance), we will describe the demographic, social and economic characteristics of the male sex worker population in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, as well as the unique vulnerabilities associated with the onset and early social course of male sex work. …
The National Institute on Drug Abuse, a component of the National Institutes of Health, is listed as the funding entity, and the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine is the grant recipient. According to the institute website, the institute supports more than 85 percent of the world’s research on drug abuse and addiction.
It receives its funding through congressional appropriations, and the institute is also authorized to accept donations.
The following are recent award amounts for the Vietnam study:
Fiscal year 2010: $442,340Fiscal year 2009: $465,974Fiscal year 2008: $534,201A total of $1,442,515 in federal funds has been awarded to the project.
<a href=http://projectreporter.nih.gov/project_info_description.cfm?aid=7797618&icde=4252393 target=awer>Read the details here.</a>

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The Good Men Project

What makes for a good man? That is the question asked by a book and now an online magazine. The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood is an anthology of thirty-one essays by a broad range of men—rich, poor, black, white, gay, straight, urban, rural, famous, ordinary—all writing about the challenges, obstacles, triumphs, failures, and defining moments they encounter. Collectively, their experiences help to define what it means to be a man in America today.

The book launched on November 15, 2009, concurrently with the DVD of a documentary film of the same title, directed and produced by renowned filmmaker Matt Gannon. The book and DVD are available at Amazon.com, www.goodmenbook.org, and select independent bookshops.

Contributors to the book include Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Charlie LeDuff and Not That You Asked essayist Steve Almond. An NFL Hall of Famer, a former Sing Sing inmate, and a Pultizer Prize–nominated photojournalist in Iraq are among the other contributors. In addition, the book includes the winning essay from The Good Men Project’s national writing contest, Perry Glasser’s Iowa Black Dirt, about a man who unexpectedly gains full custody of his 8-year-old daughter.watch full Irrational Man film

“This all started with the idea that men of our generation have stories to tell,” notes Good Men Project co-founder James Houghton. “And what is striking about the stories in the book is not just the breadth of experience and shared humanity that is expressed, but also the desire for so many men to talk, given our cultural bias to put on the good face and hold it all together.”

FMI http://www.goodmenbook.org/index.php

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I’m Tired

“I’m 63 and I’m Tired”
by Robert A. Hall

I’m 63. Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce and a six-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, I’ve worked, hard, since I was 18. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and haven’t called in sick in seven or eight years. I make a good salary, but I didn’t inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, there’s no retirement in sight, and I’m tired. Very tired.
I’m tired of being told that I have to “spread the wealth” to people who don’t have my work ethic. I’m tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.
I’m tired of being told that I have to pay more taxes to “keep people in their homes.” Sure, if they lost their jobs or got sick, I’m willing to help. But if they bought McMansions at three times the price of our paid-off, $250,000 condo, on one-third of my salary, then let the left-wing Congress-critters who passed Fannie and Freddie and the Community Reinvestment Act that created the bubble help them with their own money.
I’m tired of being told how bad America is by left-wing millionaires like Michael Moore, George Soros and Hollywood Entertainers who live in luxury because of the opportunities America offers. In thirty years, if they get their way, the United States will have the economy of Zimbabwe , the freedom of the press of China , the crime and violence of Mexico , the tolerance for Christian people of Iran , and the freedom of speech of Venezuela .
I’m tired of being told that Islam is a “Religion of Peace,” when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family “honor”; of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren’t “believers”; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for “adultery”; of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur’an and Shari’a law tells them to.
I’m tired of being told that “race doesn’t matter” in the post-racial world of Obama, when it’s all that matters in affirmative action jobs, lower college admission and graduation standards for minorities (harming them the most), government contract set-asides, tolerance for the ghetto culture of violence and fatherless children that hurts minorities more than anyone, and in the appointment of U.S. Senators from Illinois.
I think it’s very cool that we have a black president and that a black child is doing her homework at the desk where Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation. I just wish the black president was Condi Rice, or someone who believes more in freedom and the individual and less arrogantly of an all-knowing government.
I’m tired of a news media that thinks Bush’s fundraising and inaugural expenses were obscene, but that think Obama’s, at triple the cost, were wonderful; that thinks Bush exercising daily was a waste of presidential time, but Obama exercising is a great example for the public to control weight and stress; that picked over every line of Bush’s military records, but never demanded that Kerry release his; that slammed Palin, with two years as governor, for being too inexperienced for VP, but touted Obama with three years as senator as potentially the best president ever. Wonder why people are dropping their subscriptions or switching to Fox News? Get a clue. I didn’t vote for Bush in 2000, but the media and Kerry drove me to his camp in 2004.
I’m tired of being told that out of “tolerance for other cultures” we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and mandrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America , while no American group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance.
I’m tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate. My wife and I live in a two-bedroom apartment and carpool together five miles to our jobs. We also own a three-bedroom condo where our daughter and granddaughter live. Our carbon footprint is about 5% of Al Gore’s, and if you’re greener than Gore, you’re green enough.
I’m tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses while they tried to fight it off? I don’t think Gay people choose to be Gay, but I damn sure think druggies chose to take drugs. And I’m tired of harassment from cool people treating me like a freak when I tell them I never tried marijuana.
I’m tired of illegal aliens being called “undocumented workers,” especially the ones who aren’t working, but are living on welfare or crime. What’s next? Calling drug dealers, “Undocumented Pharmacists”? And, no, I’m not against Hispanics. Most of them are Catholic, and it’s been a few hundred years since Catholics wanted to kill me for my religion. I’m willing to fast track for citizenship any Hispanic person, who can speak English, doesn’t have a criminal record and who is self-supporting without family on welfare, or who serves honorably for three years in our military…. Those are the citizens we need.
I’m tired of latte liberals and journalists, who would never wear the uniform of the Republic themselves, or let their entitlement- handicapped kids near a recruiting station, trashing our military. They and their kids can sit at home, never having to make split-second decisions under life and death circumstances, and bad mouth better people than themselves. Do bad things happen in war? You bet. Do our troops sometimes misbehave? Sure. Does this compare with the atrocities that were the policy of our enemies for the last fifty years and still are? Not even close. So here’s the deal. I’ll let myself be subjected to all the humiliation and abuse that was heaped on terrorists at Abu Ghraib or Gitmo, and the critics can let themselves be subject to captivity by the Muslims, who tortured and beheaded Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, or the Muslims who tortured and murdered Marine Lt. Col. William Higgins in Lebanon, or the Muslims who ran the blood-spattered Al Qaeda torture rooms our troops found in Iraq, or the Muslims who cut off the heads of schoolgirls in Indonesia, because the girls were Christian. Then we’ll compare notes. British and American soldiers are the only troops in history that civilians came to for help and handouts, instead of hiding from in fear.
I’m tired of people telling me that their party has a corner on virtue and the other party has a corner on corruption. Read the papers; bums are bipartisan. And I’m tired of people telling me we need bipartisanship. I live in Illinois , where the “Illinois Combine” of Democrats has worked to loot the public for years. Not to mention the tax cheats in Obama’s cabinet.
I’m tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of both parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. I’m tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.
Speaking of poor, I’m tired of hearing people with air-conditioned homes, color TVs and two cars called poor. The majority of Americans didn’t have that in 1970, but we didn’t know we were “poor.” The poverty pimps have to keep changing the definition of poor to keep the dollars flowing.
I’m real tired of people who don’t take responsibility for their lives and actions. I’m tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.
Yes, I’m damn tired. But I’m also glad to be 63. Because, mostly, I’m not going to have to see the world these people are making. I’m just sorry for my granddaughter.

Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts State Senate.

Last week’s win over the Western Bulldogs has set North up for an exciting month, with this week’s match on Sunday against St Kilda followed by a match on Harvey’s 38th birthday against a weakened Essendon on May 14. Then follows another winnable game against cellar dwellers Carlton, before a stronger Friday night test against the Sydney Swans at the SCG.. Some Europeans I met became NFL fans from their exposure to NFL Europe. The Europe league didn’t make the large scale impact the NFL hoped it would, however, it was still cultivating and educating fans. 20. New Orleans: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State, 5 cheap nhl jerseys 10, 189. Celtics fed up with late game struggles after loss to Oklahoma City Thunder:Avery Bradley owned up to a defensive miscommunication cheap china jerseys on a pick and roll that allowed Russell Westbrook to break a tie in the last minute.”I think it was me and Amir [Johnson],” he said.”I was supposed to send him right, he ended up going left. Those plays happen. Possession is a keyword in this game of soccer. So first thing, attack, shoot, second thing if you don’t have the shot, attack, pass the ball forward, third thing is if you don’t have the shot and you cannot pass the ball forward, look behind and let’s possess the ball so we can get you the ball again so you can shoot and score goals which is the main objective to being a good soccer forward. So having access to as many games as possible was crucial. DIRECTV NFL Sunday Ticket features 14 games each week. She had a heart shaped face, full lips, and her mismatched eyes were strangely large and full of Fake ray bans mischief; her rivals said she used them to melt men’s hearts.”What’s remarkable about that description is how closely it matches Maester Cressen’s description of Melisandre:”Slender she was, graceful, Wholesale NFL Jerseys taller than most knights, with full breasts and narrow waist cheap nfl jerseys and a heart shaped face. Men’s eyes that once found her did not quickly look away, not even a maester’s eyes. Both of these universities have entrusted Aramark for decades to fuel their students and student athletes to excellence in the classroom and on the field. In the NFL, seven of our 13 teams that we proudly serve competed in the post season, including wholesale jerseys our 15 year facilities partner and Super Bowl 50 champion Denver Broncos, who we congratulate on an outstanding performance.. And, needless to say, he was one of the key players, if not THE key player, on those Showtime Lakers teams that won several championships. If not for his HIV infection forcing his retirement, Fake Oakleys his career would have lasted several more years than it did..

Who Progams YOU?

Are you the product of your own making, or is your way of thinking created for you by the mass media?  Does it really matter?  The folks at Vigilant Citizen has posted a new article that says:

Mass media is the most powerful tool used by the ruling class to manipulate the masses. It shapes and molds opinions and attitudes and defines what is normal and acceptable. This article looks at the workings of mass media through the theories of its major thinkers, its power structure and the techniques it uses, in order to understand its true role in society.

From The Vigilant Citizen:

The merger of media companies in the last decades generated a small oligarchy of media conglomerates. The TV shows we follow, the music we listen to, the movies we watch and the newspapers we read are all produced by FIVE corporations. The owners of those conglomerates have close ties with the world’s elite and, in many ways, they ARE the elite. By owning all of the possible outlets having the potential to reach the masses, these conglomerates have the power to create in the minds of the people a single and cohesive world view, engendering a “standardization of human thought”.

Even movements or styles that are considered marginal are, in fact, extensions of mainstream thinking. Mass medias produce their own rebels who definitely look the part but are still part of the establishment and do not question any of it. Artists, creations and ideas that do not fit the mainstream way of thinking are mercilessly rejected and forgotten by the conglomerates, which in turn makes them virtually disappear from society itself. However, ideas that are deemed to be valid and desirable to be accepted by society are skillfully marketed to the masses in order to make them become self-evident norm.

In 1928, Edward Bernays already saw the immense potential of motion pictures to standardize thought:

“The American motion picture is the greatest unconscious carrier of propaganda in the world today. It is a great distributor for ideas and opinions. The motion picture can standardize the ideas and habits of a nation. Because pictures are made to meet market demands, they reflect, emphasize and even exaggerate broad popular tendencies, rather than stimulate new ideas and opinions. The motion picture avails itself only of ideas and facts which are in vogue. As the newspaper seeks to purvey news, it seeks to purvey entertainment.”
– Edward Bernays, Propaganda

These facts were flagged as dangers to human freedom in the 1930’s by thinkers of the school of Frankfurt such as Theodor Adorno and Herbert Marcuse. They identified three main problems with the cultural industry. The industry can:

  1. reduce human beings to the state of mass by hindering the development of emancipated individuals, who are capable of making rational decisions;
  2. replace the legitimate drive for autonomy and self-awareness by the safe laziness of conformism and passivity; and
  3. validate the idea that men actually seek to escape the absurd and cruel world in which they live by losing themselves in a hypnotic state self-satisfaction.

The notion of escapism is even more relevant today with advent of online video games, 3D movies and home theaters. The masses, constantly seeking state-of-the-art entertainment, will resort to high-budget products that can only be produced by the biggest media corporations of the world. These products contain carefully calculated messages and symbols which are nothing more and nothing less than entertaining propaganda. The public have been trained to LOVE its propaganda to the extent that it spends its hard-earned money to be exposed to it. Propaganda (used in both political, cultural and commercial sense) is no longer the coercive or authoritative communication form found in dictatorships: it has become the synonym of entertainment and pleasure.

“In regard to propaganda the early advocates of universal literacy and a free press envisaged only two possibilities: the propaganda might be true, or it might be false. They did not foresee what in fact has happened, above all in our Western capitalist democracies — the development of a vast mass communications industry, concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant. In a word, they failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.”
– Aldous Huxley, Preface to A Brave New World

A single piece of media often does not have a lasting effect on the human psyche. Mass media, however, by its omnipresent nature, creates a living environment we evolve in on a daily basis. It defines the norm and excludes the undesirable. The same way carriage horses wear blinders so they can only see what is right in front of them, the masses can only see where they are supposed to go.

Read the rest at The Vigilant Citizen.

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Bruce Weber

Today we look at the photography and videography of Bruce Weber (born March 29, 1946 in Greensburg, Pennsylvania) an American  fashion photographer  and occasional filmmaker.  He is most widely known for his ad campaigns for Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Pirelli, Abercrombie & Fitch, Revlon, and Gianni Versace, as well as his work for Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, Elle, Life, Interview, and Rolling Stone magazines.

After doing photo shoots for and of famous individuals (many of whom were featured in Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine), Bruce entered the realm of filmmaking, making short films of teenage boxers (Broken Noses),  jazz trumpeter Chet Baker (Let’s Get Lost),  his beloved pet dogs, and later, a longer film entitled Chop Suey.

Weber created the fashion label Weberbilt in 2003; his first line, “eat, swim, sex, sleep”, went on sale in boutiques in London and Miami Beach, Florida in 2004.

FMI http://bruceweber.com/

“Like I’ve watched games in Adelaide this year and they seem better than games in years gone by, which would have a flow on effect not so much to this TV deal but the next one. So longer term, I guess, it’s in the AFL’s interest to have a big crowd. With Minnesota Vikings tight end Rhett Ellison visiting training this week, it’s cheap china jerseys tempting to ponder how some of the ‘ best would handle a job swap. Ellison, a descendant of New Zealand’s first official rugby captain and related to former All Black Tamati Ellison, attended school in Christchurch before being selected in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL draft.. Over the nuclear deal. Hillary Clinton has used the line cheap ray bans “distrust but verify” on the campaign trail, saying that while she supports the deal, wholesale jerseys it does not brighten her view of the Iranian government. It’s worth mentioning that a number of NFL stars had to take a few years in perfecting their skills and showcasing them in another league before the NFL gave them a shot. With roster limits and cheap jerseys salary caps NFL teams do need a better feeder for talent, one that is more fine tuned than what is available and one that develops talent after college ball.. In the event you become the heavyweight boxing champion, fight the urge to purchase a $100,000 platinum bracelet inscribed with “Heavyweight Champ.” We have found that the gold belt occupying a third of your torso does an equally good job of advertising the same. Not to mention the inscription severely limits the potential pool of people to resell to.. At one point in the show, we find out that he guy keeps his zombified young daughter chained in a secret room in his apartment. This is one of the Governor’s few redeeming qualities. Bend your torso to the right and extend the left arm straight up. Then bend your torso to the left and press the kettlebell cheap oakleys sunglasses up above your shoulder.. But the truth is, it is we who let them down. For, we don’t care about them for three years and eleven and a half months. Back to neutral. This is breathing out, right here. In some parts, NBA Jerseys Cheap there is a tendency for horses to be turned away for the winter NFL Jerseys Cheap and brought back into work in the spring. Young horses that have only just been started are also out of shape, as are horses that have been neglected even after they recover weight.. It sounds counterintuitive to our conventional understanding of how to fuel performance. But Davis says it works. And today I’ll be talking to you about a coach, players and positions. First what I look to do with the players is to explain to them what are the roles of each play on the field is.

George Carlin, They Own You

George Carlin is known for telling things like they are. His language is harsh, but his message resounds long
after his demise.  In this editorial segment from his tv special Carlin explains the real politics of mankind.
Who owns the companies, the media, the government and you?  Watch this video and see what Carlin says.

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Gay Vets at Library of Congress

Gay members of the Armed Forces have had to live with an extra layer of discretion and professionalism. Here are stories of men and women who served their country while balancing the need to keep their private lives private.

Click here to watch video interviews of  gay veterans at the Library of Congress

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Which Backstreet Boy Is Gay?

Just for fun, this spoof of the Backstreet Boys.

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Bowing to Fear

By Brian Feist

First Arizona legislators passed a law that requires local law enforcement agencies to verify the citizenship of anyone they feel may be in the United States illegally. That’s a polite way of saying if you’re in Arizona and look or sound Hispanic, you’d better have your papers with you if you don’t want to get arrested. (Sounds a little bit Nazi to me, but hey, that’s just me.) “Breathing While Brown” is the new “Driving While Black,” a “crime” with which many, particularly southern, African-Americans are well acquainted. Now Arizona legislators have added insult to injury and have passed a law banning so-called cultural studies classes, or classes designed for students of a particular ethnicity, in Arizona schools.

These laws, the basis of which supporters claim is frustration on the part of predominantly white Americans at the Federal Government’s inability to control our borders, are further evidence that racism in America is alive and thriving. I can understand the frustration, especially when you consider that “terrorists” can cross our borders with impunity while law-abiding citizens can’t take a tube of toothpaste on an airplane. But an even stronger motivation for this misdirected nationalism is fear.

White Americans of European descent have comfortably dominated the culture on this continent for over 300 years, routing out the Native Americans and Hispanics and anyone else who got in the way. But as Bob Dylan wrote, the times, they are a-changin’. The natives are getting restless, so to speak, and the “minorities” are growing in numbers and political clout. Whites are on the verge of losing their edge, and they’re scared. And anyone with a lick of sense knows that a scared animal is a dangerous animal.

The Arizona laws are not new–they’re just the latest, most visible attempts being made to promote some sense of white nationalism (supremacy?) in America. For years “language purists” have been fighting the inclusion (tolerance?) of the Spanish language in the United States. (It’s the same in some parts of Canada, albeit with French vs. English.) Some people want to pass laws declaring English as the “official” language of the United States. Some municipalities have passed ordinances banning bi-lingual signage, hiding their ethnic intolerance behind claims of “budget concerns.” Their mantra is, if you’re going to live in America, learn speak English. These language purists seem to forget that if they are of anything other than Native American descent, they are the descendents of immigrants.

They also fail to grasp that few immigrants managed to learn more than rudimentary English upon arrival to America. For most it has taken at least a couple of generations for their families to become fully integrated into a “mainstream” American existence. Indeed, in some larger cities there still remain neighborhoods where citizens continue to speak their native language and retain their native cultural identities, even generations after immigrating. Further, many of our “charming” regional American dialects and accents are directly related to the ethnic backgrounds of the immigrants who settled in those regions 150-200 years ago or more.

Some of these jackasses who are demanding that every new arrival in this country immediately start speaking English ought to take their own advice and learn the language, themselves. Read the posts some of these people put online and you’ll see my point. It’s the height of hypocrisy when some idiot who clearly wouldn’t know a participle from an integer writes, “them f**king mexicans [sic] need to learn to talk f**king english [sic] or go home.” Seriously!

Which brings me back to Arizona’s new law. Banning ethnic studies courses is not only blatantly racist, it’s just plain stupid! If anything, we should be promoting broader inclusion in minority studies courses. By teaching the contributions of women, blacks, Latinos, etc. in American history, these courses not only engender pride in one’s ethnicity or self-identity, they also round out what we all traditionally learn from typical history books.

Let me give an example. When I was a child I learned that George Washington Carver was a black man who developed hundreds of uses for peanuts, and that this was a significant contribution to the agricultural economy of the South, after years of over-production of cotton had depleted the soil. End of story.

Had there been a Black Studies program I may have learned that his work with peanuts was just the tip of the iceberg for this brilliant scientist, botanist, educator and inventor who was born into slavery and rose to international renown. Had we had a Gay Studies program I may have learned that Carver was also very likely homosexual. Now maybe, whether you’re gay or black or not, you don’t care, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to know that George Washington Carver’s life was more than just peanuts. And just maybe, knowing the whole story could give someone a little different perspective on black or gay people, in general. But that might promote tolerance, and we can’t have any of that, now, can we?

Too many people are too comfortable with a one-sided view of history, and don’t want to have their perceptions challenged with the facts. If you don’t know Pancho Villa from Sancho Panza, or Angela Davis from Zora Neale Hurston, maybe your education could be a little bit more well-rounded. Mainstream history books don’t provide the full story of the Bayard Rustins and Susan B. Anthonys of the world. Minority Studies courses shouldn’t be banned, they should be required–for ALL students, regardless of race, gender or ethnicity. Anything else is just bowing to fear.

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