Rants & Raves

By Anmol Chaddha Dec 21, 2005

RANT: Gujaratis Behind Rural Meth Craze? Federal prosecutors have charged 49 convenience store workers in rural Georgia for allegedly selling materials used to supply makeshift meth labs. “Operation Meth Merchant” netted dozens of unrelated Patels who are being accused of selling cold medicine, charcoal and aluminum foil to undercover cops. Most of the immigrant store clerks couldn’t believe they were arrested for selling kitty litter.

RAVE: Sometimes, Justice is Served.
Casey Nethercott, a leader of a border vigilante group, was convicted of owning a gun after he allegedly used it to beat two immigrants. The judge ordered him to pay $850,000 in restitution. When Nethercott couldn’t come up with the cash, the court handed over to the migrants his only asset—his ranch near the Arizona-Mexico border. Now, the two men from El Salvador own the land that Nethercott once called Camp Thunderbird and used as a base for his vigilante patrols.

RANT: ‘Ghetto Camp.’
Rather than creating meaningful economic opportunities, the City of Miami issued a press release for a picnic, promoting a “Ghetto Style Talent Show” and a “Watermelon Eating Contest.”  “Campers who think they know the true meaning of ghetto style will take to the stage to prove just how ghetto they are,” read the release. After creating an uproar, the city quickly renamed the main event the “Funky Talent Show.”
RAVE: History Class Can Be Relevant, Too.
Decades after Black parents began denouncing Eurocentric curriculum in local high schools, Philadelphia high schools now require students to take a Black history class. The requirement was welcome news to parents of Philadelphia high school students—two-thirds of whom are Black.

RANT: Ethical Treatment of People?
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) posted giant photos of Black people being lynched, beaten and sold next to pictures of cattle and sheep being slaughtered. “You can’t compare me to a freaking cow,” local resident John Darryl Thompson shouted at an animal rights activist. “I think it is an apt comparison,” a member of the Southern Connecticut Vegetarian Society told a reporter. PETA suspended its 40-city tour of the exhibit, “Are Animals the New Slaves?” but the group is standing by the statement made with the photos.

RAVE: Just in Time for the 2008 Iowa Primary.
Under pressure from the Right to Vote coalition, a voters’ education group, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack announced in July that the state would restore voting rights to all ex-offenders who had completed their sentences. People convicted of felonies are commonly stripped of voting rights, and Iowa had one of the most restrictive policies in the country. The decision in Iowa will affect about 80,000 ex-felons. Black folks make up 2 percent of Iowa’s population but 19 percent of those who had lost their voting rights.

RANT: Ain’t No Party Like a White People’s Party.
As if displacing low-income residents weren’t enough, the white hipsters who have colonized the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn now celebrate a monthly hip-hop event called “Kill Whitey!” Yes, they themselves are white. That’s the obligatory hipster “irony”—white kids using exaggerated slang and mocking hip-hop styles. DJ Tha Pumpsta exhorts dancers to “kill the whiteness inside” while dancing to Notorious B.I.G. and 2 Live Crew. It looks more like offensive minstrelsy.
RAVE: Must-See TV.
Days after Hurricane Katrina ripped through New Orleans, Kanye West ripped back. On a nationally televised NBC telethon, West nervously stammered through a condemnation of the incompetent response by the federal government. After denouncing media coverage of Black residents as “looters,” West finally said what we were all thinking: “George Bush does not care about Black people.”