The Black Man Is Black

In response to Moss Gropen’s piece on the recent racial uproar at UCSD (“Media Hawk,” March 11), I would like to make a quick correction. Ironically, in a paragraph where the author accuses others of “egregious journalistic failures,” he wrongly claims that “Jiggaboo Jones” was “the impresario of the Compton Cookout” (the party that started the initial outrage here in the UCSD community).

For those of you that don’t know him (and it’s better that you don’t), Mr. Jones is an African American YouTube personality. Like the blackface minstrels of old that were phenotypically black, Mr. Jones is attempting to make a living by performing demeaning stereotypes of blacks.

Contrary to Mr. Jones’s claims that he somehow organized the Compton Cookout at UCSD, the fact is that he had no hand in it. His only connection to the event is that the organizers grabbed a picture of Mr. Jones and used it in the original Facebook event invitation. Later, as the media picked up on the ordeal and identified him as the man in the picture, Mr. Jones began to claim after the fact that he was the creative author of the “cookout.” This was purely an attempt to use the media spotlight to his advantage and try to get some name recognition. Unfortunately, some journalists fell for it.

Mr. Gropen could have known this if he had simply interviewed any of the people who organized or attended the event. Instead, he relied on Mr. Jones’s own declarations.

Since Mr. Gropen’s article is all about media integrity in their coverage of UCSD’s current racial emergency, I urge the editors to print a correction to the story in your next issue.

  • Jose Fuste
  • via email


“Arguably, the missing details — omitted intentionally, it appears — constitute an even more egregious journalistic failure than the (somewhat) subtler shading” — Moss Gropen (“Media Hawk,” March 11)

Gropen, you should “turn on the heat” and do some fact-checking to “shed some [real] light.”

First, you forgot to mention that when the KKKoala went on air that morning — a rogue broadcast that was unsanctioned by the student-run TV (SRTV) — besides defending their racist rhetoric and actions, the KKKoala also stated that the black student population at UCSD was a bunch of “ungrateful NIGGERS.” Also, omitted from your account of the broadcast was that on the floor of the SRTV set, after the building was inspected, a note was found that said “Compton Lynching.” Now, these omissions might avail a simple defense; however, the KKKoala (as a publicly funded organization) is creating an environment of fear and loathing at UCSD, and this hate has quickly shifted to other UC campuses (i.e., UCD, UCI). Certainly, physical violence has not been a factor at UCSD. However, for the students of color that do feel real pain, WWIII is an understatement.

Second, the “laundry” list of demands that were conceded by Chancellor Fox, i.e., the “free tutoring,” are part of UCSD’s commitment to diversify. Simply stated, the Black Student Union demands are to have the same access to educational programs that other students have, like the free tutoring that student athletes receive for being good at something that has nothing to do with academia. To be more precise, free tutoring is part of many higher institutions’ commitment to student access, success, and retention. These programs are funded mostly (but not only) through student fees — fees that I pay as a student at UCSD — as are athletic departments/programs at most public institutions. Since UCSD is a public institution, it must be responsible for maintaining an equitable and just educational system.

Finally, in your view, because “Jiggaboo Jones” is black, the “Compton Cookout” cannot be held as what it truly was, a racist minstrel party. The rhetoric of a post-Obama/post-racial society is simply far from the truth. A simple look at Tea Baggers would suffice. For Jones’s predecessors, i.e., black performers during the height of minstrel shows in the late 1800s, minstrelsy was the only avenue for black performers to enter “Hollywood” life. However, the fact that blacks entertained white audiences in double black face does not erase, minimize, or legitimize the material and discursive structures of black oppression. In its historical legacy, “Jiggaboo Jones” is no exception to this rule.

  • Humberto
  • via email

Thieves Are My Pals

I wish the Reader were able to exude a little more self-respect. Seriously, who is in charge of choosing to print a cover story about a young girl who chooses to defend her friend’s criminal behavior (“Filipino Rules,” March 4)? Auto theft? Come on! I have done a lot of stupid things in my life, but hanging out with thieves has never been one of them. Who does that? Who sits in a car with someone as they steal it? And then defends the behavior, eager to have a face-to-face meeting with the criminal and her parents. Gee, I wonder why the parents gave him a hard time when they saw him. No mention of a job or a plan for the future for this boy! You know what they call that here in America? Trashy. No class. No ethnic delineation required.

Aside from a reference to a family value involving visiting the parents’ homeland, the author’s “Filipino” household is not different in any significant way — that I was able to decipher within the context of this article — from the majority of households in San Diego. As such, all this author has accomplished — along with the Reader, by association — is encouraging blatant racism where none is needed. Honestly, what type of ethnicity doesn’t want the best for their children? Who does want their children to hang out with thieves? Please realize that all parents want their children to “do well in school, graduate from college, get a good job.” This article does nothing more than encourage ethnic divides where really there aren’t any. Big deal your dad speaks with an accent. Get over it. Grow up.

My suggestion? Be honest with yourself, as a mediocre publication, when you insist on printing such a work as this useless waste of space and time (time that once belonged to anyone who was unfortunate enough to read this article and was since lost).

One last thing: a better title of the article. Try “White Trash Goals for a Filipino Child in America.” It would certainly have been more descriptive.

  • Danielle Painter
  • via email

Such A Big Deal

On my way home from work, I stopped by 7-Eleven to grab my Sunday paper when this week’s Reader, whose cover read “Filipino Rules” (March 4), caught my eye. Being a Filipino myself, the header definitely got my attention, and I hoped to read an article either exposing some Filipino truth or Filipino pride. Given the Reader’s picture, I could already tell it was more about growing up “Pinoy” in the U.S.

The first part of the article had me nodding: the strict parentage, how most U.S. migrated families are composed of a Navy husband and a nurse mother. My father himself was a dedicated Navy serviceman, my mother a clerk who retired to raise me after my birth. I could relate to the article. My parents were exceptionally strict, and having a strong Castilla background from my mother did not help.

I also understood the author’s plight, as most Fil-Ams born and raised in the U.S. long for American teenage liberalism, away from the authoritarian rule of their parents. I am, after all, one of them. To my disappointment, I felt that her article was short of denouncing her Pinoyship and bitterly dissing her poor parents. Probably she would if she could choose. I can’t say I blame her. Traditional Filipino rules are strict. But then again, so are traditional Chinese and Spanish, and even old-school Americans. So why did she have to make it such a big deal? In the end, the story was no longer about her just growing up Pinoy; she was speaking from her heart, in a blind outrage of emotions, and how can I make my boyfriend look better.

The article became her bragging rights in disrespecting her parents, down to how they mispronounce the English language. Everyone has an opinion of their family in a negative light. It is another to bash them in national (or local) media.

Though I myself do not approve of parents discouraging their kids in what they would love to be when they grow up — I myself being a communication arts and journalism graduate — I feel as if the author — and she says she’s a graduate, right? — did not gave proper closure to her article. Nothing short of a blog note she can post on her Facebook page or on MySpace. It was nothing more than a rant, and a bad one too. An anti-Pinoy and borderline FOB [fresh off the boat]-hating article.

I hate to say it, I would not like to judge her, but her story leaves little for me to measure. But the ranks of young anti-Pinoys who are Pinoys themselves are fast growing.

What’s wrong with growing up Pinoy? Can’t she just simply say she longs for the independent free-spirited living most past-19-year-olds enjoy? And that’s a given, Pinoy or not.

  • Name Withheld
  • via email

The Corp Must Die

Re “Too Much Conflict, Too Much Interest” (“City Lights,” March 4).

I submit that most of our citizens are not aware of these redevelopment funds and that they should be.

The San Diego Redevelopment Agency had total funds available to it in fiscal 2010 of $651.8 million ($229.4 million from 2010 sources and the remainder from prior years’ unspent funds), less $55 million taken by the State (but to be returned in future years), less $31.9 million for tax sharing, less $58 million for debt service, less $11.3 million for City repayments, for a net available funds of $495.6 million. Some portion of this must be for housing, and $30.3 million is budgeted for same. There are other restrictions, but laws can and should be changed.

Centre City Development Corporation’s and Southeastern Economic Development Corporation’s past conflicts of interest and CCDC’s fiscal irresponsibility in promoting a new stadium, a new city hall, the convention center expansion, and the new library, all combine to make me conclude we should end these corporations and pull them back into the City’s Redevelopment Division.

Further, redevelopment may have done as much to create blight as it has to mitigate it. Our expenditures on new capital projects have deprived us of the funds necessary to maintain our current infrastructure. Most, if not all of our redevelopment funds should, by whatever means necessary, be made available for use in our operating budgets and general funds.

We have a half billion dollars to spend on new capital projects we don’t need, but we can’t afford a fire engine/pumper in all of our too-few fire stations, can’t provide cell phones for all our too-few cops, etc. We have the ninth-worst water of all major U.S. cities; we have the seventh-worst roads; we are America’s Worst City. If you can’t accept that, accept that for decades we’ve had the worst City leadership in America.

We citizens must share this blame. Take responsibility and action by telling our current leadership you will sign their recall petitions if they don’t immediately make the changes implied and explicitly recommended above.

  • John F. Scanlon
  • Rancho Peñasquitos

The Land Was Mine

My name is Rosario Amaya. I read the story by Michael Waterman, “Mysterious Danish Group Builds Exotic Compound on Baja Coast” (Cover Story, February 4). He is correct about all the Danish people in San Juan de las Pulgas, but Mr. Morales is only the foreman in San Juan de las Pulgas. I am the daughter of the first owner, Mr. Humberto Amaya Hurtado. I am the only heiress of this land. My father died in 1981, and I sold San Juan de las Pulgas in 1983 to Tayde Acosta Ortega. But one part of the land is irregular, and now this Danish group has this part inside the property. I can’t make nothing because all in my country are corrupt. I am a poor woman, and for that I can’t make nothing. I alerted President Felipe Calderón about this Danish group. Amdi Petersen lives in San Juan de las Pulgas, but my country isn’t interested. I contacted Danish journalists, and four came to Ensenada and went to San Juan de las Pulgas, but the owners of TG Pacifico didn’t receive them.

  • Rosario Amaya
  • via email

Sax In The Winds

I just wanted to offer a minor correction for the article on your website titled “Blowing in the Wind.” (In the paper, the story was titled “Just Shy of a Symphony,” Music, December 17.) Saxophones were erroneously included in the family of brass instruments by the writer, when in fact saxes are woodwind instruments. It’s probably confusing for some people because saxophones are made out of brass. It was a great article, however, and I’m glad you are bringing attention to live classical music in San Diego.

  • Matt Best
  • via email

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