Food for Thought
Lessons from Wisconsin
Port Huron Turns 50
Outraged Over Atrocities
Edward S. Herman
The Arab Spring
Libya, Africa, and AFRICOM
May Day 2012
Taking on Methyl Iodide
EDUCATING WITH MUSIC
Books, Rhymes, Life
The Obama Syndrome
Do No Harm
Ten Economic Crises
Victory for Colombian Students
A Drone World
Advertisements You'll Never See Again
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
Books, Rhymes, Life
Hip Hop and education might seem to be diametrically opposed to many, however Hip Hop-based education is growing as an educative tool throughout schools in the U.S. Essentially, Hip Hop culture is used to engage high school students, previously alienated from mainstream education, with great effect.
“One of the main ethe of Hip Hop culture is making something out of nothing,” says Hip Hop emcee and educator Asheru. “Going from two turntables and a microphone plugged into a street lamp for power to a multi-billion dollar, global cultural phenomenon that permeates all areas of society. This is another piece in a long history of the Black American music tradition—something that we should all be proud of.”
Asheru has been at the forefront of innovation in Hip Hop for some time. As an artist, Asheru released several albums with Blue Black as The Unspoken Heard from 1996 to 2003, before releasing several solo recordings. Asheru has collaborated with Talib Kweli, Grap Luva, J-Live, among others, and co-wrote and performed a number of songs for the animated television series “The Boondocks.” As an educator, Asheru founded the organization Educational Lyrics LLC in 2005, after completing his Masters in Education at
“Hip Hop culture was ingeniously created by poor Black and Latino Americans almost four decades ago as a response to the decaying inner-city communities,” says Asheru. The decay that Asheru speaks of did not happen by accident. This decay was caused by the
In their book A Plague on Your Houses: How New York was Burned Down and National Public Health Crumbled, Deborah and Rodrick Wallace describe the impact of this policy: “The inability to control individual fires on the initial alarm triggered a contagious fire epidemic with all the usual spatial and temporal characteristics such as geographic clustering and temporal peaking of fires. This epidemic in turn set off a separate but related epidemic of housing abandonment by landlords.”
It is estimated that between 250,000 and 300,000 dwellings were lost in this period in the 1970s due to fire and landlord abandonment. The loss in property led to mass migration within
This is where Hip Hop began. Central figures in the development of Hip Hop included South Bronx residents, such as Kool DJ Herc and Afrika Bambaataa, who held parties in the
Asheru argues that Hip Hop cannot only help develop literacy skills among students, Hip Hop also has the capacity to develop a critical consciousness among young people. “Students need to be exposed to artists and social movements, old and current, that address society’s ills and the status quo so that we can continue to have the discussion and show students how to become activists for change” says Asheru. “This is the original tradition of this music, even though nowadays it seems to be far from it.” Asheru is referring to the commercialization of Hip Hop, which has led to some forms of Hip Hop becoming stateless and divorced from the roots of the culture, according to writer bell hooks. Progressive, critical Hip Hop persists nevertheless.
Hip Hop based education is thriving. The New York University-affiliated H2Ed (Hip Hop Education) Center was developed in 2010 to explore opportunities for Hip Hop education in schools, with the intention of “increasing community engagement, academic achievement, and social equality.” H2Ed released a study in 2011 entitled, “Re- Imagining Teaching and Learning: A Snapshot of Hip Hop Education,” which analyzed 300 Hip Hop based education programs being run in 200 schools across the United States. The study, authored by Martha Diaz, Dr. Edward Fergus, and Dr. Pedro Noguera, found that, “In communities around the nation, youth are learning to organize and build community, collaborate on music, publish books and start businesses through hip hop.”
One key program, run by Asheru’s Educational Lyrics LLC, is HELP (Hip Hop Educational Literacy Program). HELP involves workbooks which are centered on the lyrics of emcees such as Lauryn Hill, Ludacris, and Nas, and are primarily aimed at improving the literacy skills of students. “The idea initially came out of recognizing that many of our teens are not reading well, if at all,” says Asheru. “I wanted to incorporate the influence that Hip Hop music and culture had on my personal development as a youth, while putting it in an educational format to be used in schools to help teachers reach and connect with the students they serve.”
The connection between the students and teaching staff is critical in this case. Christopher Emdin, Assistant Professor of Science Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, asserts that, “urban students are regarded as uninterested in school, difficult to teach, and unable to do well in challenging academic subjects,” highlighting the increasing alienation between students from marginalized backgrounds and mainstream educational facilities. Hip Hop education provides an avenue through which teachers and students can connect. Importantly, through Hip Hop-based education, students are recognized as being valuable contributors in the classroom environment. The “Re-Imagining Teaching and Learning” report compiled by Diaz, Fergus and Noguera revealed that 76 percent of the Hip Hop-based education programs in the study were compiled with student input.
The contradictions in Hip Hop have been discussed by such writers as Tricia Rose, bell hooks, and Tara Henley. Hip Hop can be progressive, though Hip Hop can also contain gratuitous sexism and violence. As highlighted by Asheru, confrontation on these contradictions is taking place in classrooms.
“All Hip Hop—whether positive and socially uplifting or degrading—has teachable moments. Hip Hop in schools allows students to share their personal voice in making connections with the content addressed in some of these songs, while at the same time being critically thinking, active participants in the classroom and world at large. The development of critical thought among students is a key element of Hip Hop based education. “Students have the opportunity to be critical about what parts of Hip Hop culture they consume, and how it can positively or negatively affect their thoughts and actions. They can learn how to separate real from fantasy.”
The value of Hip Hop as an educative tool cannot be underestimated. As stated by educators Ernest Morrell and Jeff Duncan-Andrade, “Hip Hop music may provide the necessary cultural frame from which to start effective discussions of literature and literary terminology.” Michael Eric Dyson, speaking to the Washington Post, describes a class he taught at
This point is supported by Asheru, who states, “In many ways, Hip Hop creates a type of dialogue that opens the doors for introspection, self evaluation, stronger interpersonal relationships and building listening comprehension. Lyrics examination can assist in introducing numerous themes across the curriculum, whether its world history, geography, social studies, science, reading, etc.”
“I have also used Hip Hop culture to show students other paths for post-secondary (college) pursuits and exposing them to the various career options that exist in front of and behind the spotlight—from sound engineering, video production, technical and journalistic writing, choreography, web design, graphic design, event production, and other avenues of entrepreneurship.”
Hip hop first emerged as an art form that provided a platform of expression for young African American and Latinos growing up in the inner city. Similarly, Hip Hop based education encourages students to share their voice, to recognize the value of their own contributions.
Patrick O’Keeffe has written for Corp Watch, Multinational Monitor, and Dissent.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: email@example.com; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; email@example.com; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; email@example.com; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; email@example.com http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; email@example.com; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; email@example.com; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; email@example.com; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.