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praxis

Robust Imaginaries
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Informed Practice

Welcome to the Praxis Center, an online resource center for scholars, activists and artists hosted by the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College. From action research and radical scholarship to engaged teaching and grassroots activism to community and cultural organizing, and revelatory art practice, we make visible imperative social justice work being done today.

Praxis is
the synergy between
theory and practice,
knowledge and relevance,
ideas, images, and the real.

Contact

Karla Aguilar
Program Coordinator
Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership
karla.aguilar@kzoo.edu
269-337-7033

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Beyond Economic Development: A More Inclusive Immigration Reform Movement

By Jonathan Romero, Contributing Editor, Race, Class, and Immigration

On this day, thirteen years ago, attacks on U.S. soil cost the lives of 2,977 people. The consequences of this day, especially for unauthorized immigrants, continue on to this day.

The utter tragedy of the 9/11 attacks horrified the world, the vivid traumatic images seared into the minds of the public. As Americans experienced a collective trauma in the wake of the attacks, racist stereotyping enabled the rise of hostility towards immigrants, particularly towards those perceived to be from the Middle East. For example, two days after 9/11 in Salt Lake City, Utah an American man set a Pakistani-American restaurant on fire “in an attempt to destroy” it. That same day in Seattle, Washington, Patrick Cunningham shot at worshipers who exited Seattle’s Islamic Idriss Mosque. What began as the racial profiling of Arabs and Muslims has led to the marginalization of immigrants of color overall with anti-immigrant sentiment focused on those crossing the Mexican border into the United States.

The War on Terror fueled immigration enforcement as politicians and government officials pushed for increased homeland security. The growing population of Latinos in the U.S. was pointed to as an indication that the U.S. southern border was ill-equipped to keep “invaders” out. As this political message became more widespread, anti-Latino hate crimes rose disproportionally between 2003 and 2006 according to reports by the FBI and the National Institute of Justice. What’s more, self-driven Minuteman calling for an end to the Latino “invasion” took matters into their own hands. For example, Jason Ted Ready, a supporter of the Nationalist Socialist Movement, actively engaged in identifying unauthorized immigrants and scheming to kill them. Ironically, Chris Simcox, co-founder of the Minuteman Project, in an interview, expressed concerns about the rising violence and increasing number of people who went to the border to hunt Latinos. All these factors forced unauthorized immigrants deeper into the shadows of American life. Continue reading →

Comments on Beyond Economic Development: A More Inclusive Immigration Reform Movement

A good reminder that xenophobia and demonization of the Other is a common human prejudice but one we have to expose and eliminate.

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Remembering May Day on Labor Day: Five Lesser-Known Facts of Radical Labor History

By Lisa Brock

In 2014, more and more workers are being squeezed. Some are facing reduced hours so their employers can avoid paying for health insurance and others being forced to work 12-hour days in order to just keep their jobs. On this Labor Day, it is important that we continue to struggle for jobs for all, livable wages, and work hours that allow for everyone to have a full and meaningful life. This is what was behind the May Day struggle for the eight-hour day.

1. A day to commemorate workers in the United States emerged as a result of the fight for the eight-hour day, which emerged in the United States and around the world during the mid 19th century. Workers, who were not enslaved or indentured at the time, including children, often worked more than 10 hour days, with little right of negotiation. Workers of color and women, who were enslaved, agricultural, domestic, and/or indentured, worked more.

Continue reading →

Comments on Remembering May Day on Labor Day: Five Lesser-Known Facts of Radical Labor History

Willie Williamson says:

Well said doc Brock. In this era, when much attention is given to define social justice, the struggles of working people the world over has reached that crucial time when all of our shoulders must press harder against the doors being closed on the democratic process. While the one percent wallows in mounds of money, they have set into motion old and new tactics to divide and conquer, simultaneously turning back the clock on all working people. Occupy Wall street was the correct response to the present crisis, which opened the door for a truly eye-opening experience for the entire work force in this country alone. And due to the ongoing crisis, the potential for Occupy to reignite still exist. For many of us, who do not see an end to this crisis the brutal force of police departments across the country will be called upon to enforce the scapegoating of people of color for supposedly being a drag on the economy. Yes racism can still be sole to working class whites, but let us hope that some valuable long term lessons are being learned as this economic crisis rages on

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Iggy Azalea and her “Race” to the Top of the Charts

By T.S. Leonard

Editor’s note: Since the second half of the twentieth century, music critics and scholars have talked about the “whitening of black music.”  This phenomenon is ever present on the airwaves and on music shows as African American musicians are receding to the background of mainstream entertainment, taking a backseat to the new generation of white R&B, pop, and hip hop artists.  Here, T.S. Leonard tackles the complex issue of race and immigration in US popular music by taking on the artist that has emerged at the top of the charts in 2014, Australian rapper Iggy Azalea.

Fans and critics will probably be shocked that after all the speculation and anticipation Iggy Azalea did not walk away with a single Moonman at last night’s MTV VMA Awards show. If you were anywhere near a radio this summer there is no doubt that the mere word “fancy” calls to mind the icy, incessant, staccato synths of Iggy’s breakout hit. Iggy Azalea was everywhere, and most notably at numbers one and two on the Billboard Hot 100, a major feat for a debut artist previously only claimed by the Beatles.

“Fancy” was the de facto Song of the Summer, an ambiguously ranked yet coveted claim for the pop industry. Azalea got everyone’s attention with many wondering “where on earth did she come from?” Her whiteness and her Australian nationality quickly became requisite identifiers of this 24-year old hip-hop artist who exploded on to the American music scene earlier this year. Continue reading →

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