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The Purge: Election Year- Review

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There are times when movies can capture the grotesque nature of politics and comment in a way that other forms of media can not. As a person who is into politics, and loves a good cautionary tale wrapped into a piece of art, I have gravitated towards the dystopian film series, The Purge. A series set in the near future, it depicts an America in which a neo-fascist, fanatical Christian set of rulers called the New Founding Fathers of America are voted into office after an economic collapse. As a way of dealing with scarce resources, they initiate the purge. Directed by James DeMonaco,  the film series started back in 2013 with its scope limited to the impact on one family. The second film, The Purge: Anarchy, broadened it a great deal, looking at the effects on the most vulnerable in that near future dystopian society. The Purge: Election Year is a well-timed, commentary on the divisiveness and violence that permeates American life. This film is centered around a senator running for President to stop The Purge.

There are so many political elements to the series, that it bears mentioning. While the barbarism in this film is fictional, of course there are historical precedents for it. Allusions to Nazi Germany, are present. Students of history will also recollect The Great Purge of Stalinist Russia in the late 1930’s. Themes of human sacrifice, religious fervor, racism and population control all factor in strongly into this film.

There is no shortage of savagery in this film. Whether it was depiction of the use of the guillotine, using drones to track victims, or the usage of fully automatic machine guns, this flick had it. Even though I alluded to the historic parallels, The Purge: Election Year taps into the dark parts of the American culture. The notion that certain weaker parts of the population have to be culled to create a utopia is horrifyingly familiar, as it should be. It is like seeing a movie version of The Turner Diaries.  With the presence of Neo-Nazi mercenaries and  assorted hitmen bearing confederate flags on their shoulder patches, these shock troops could have been the children of Trump supporters.  Whether its pointing at the distorted logic of social darwinism as a mode of thought, or the culture of gun violence, this film extrapolates many of those uniquely American elements. Given the numbers on gun deaths in America, is it really any more savage to propose that all of the murder happen at one time during the year?

Indeed, there are some really twisted things in this movie. But so are there in American life. With the Orlando massacre still a fresh memory, this film comes out the weekend of July 4th- during a hotly contested election with fear of the other a strong theme. It may be jarring to look at a poster with Uncle Sam with an assault rifle, but ignoring the reality of our country is not possible.

The only part that weakens this movie is the ending. A predictable moral turn, only ended up softening the message, in this writer’s opinion. But, have no fear, dear reader. Such a thing could never, ever, ever happen here in this civilized country… right?

 

 

 

 

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More Shattered Families

Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published over at Colorlines. Let’s think about what anti-immigrant sentiments mean in real terms. -M.P.

By Rinku Sen

Rinku Sen

Rinku Sen of Colorlines

When the immigration, criminal justice and child welfare systems collide in a family’s life, deported parents are too often unable to hold on to their children. Five years ago, Race Forward (then the Applied Research Center) released the “Shattered Families” report, in which we estimated that at least 5,000 children were living in foster care after their parents had been deported.

We told stories like that of Josefina and Clara, who were arrested, detained and deported to Mexico after a false tip claiming they were drug dealers. They spent more than two years getting their children back, with the help of the Mexican consulate.

Many mothers weren’t that lucky. Encarnacion Bail, who was arrested by ICE through a raid at the poultry processing plant where she worked, was never reunited with her child. After almost a decade, much of which it took to get a Spanish-speaking lawyer, courts ruled that Bail had waited too long to fight to remove her son from the child welfare system. Just last year, the grandparents of a 3-year-old whose mother was incarcerated were denied custody because of their undocumented status. Child advocates have noted that immigration status should not factor into such a decision, given that kids are almost always better off with their families of origin, however poor or disenfranchised, than in foster care.

Our best hope of ending such permanent, legal destruction of families died last week when the Supreme Court wound up in a tie over United States vs. Texas.

While the immigration and child welfare systems could improve to make sure that loving parents would not have their family ties severed by the courts, our report predicted that if mass deportation continued, these numbers would grow over time. The only real way to make sure this didn’t keep happening would be by ending mass deportations.

This non-decision, a result of the Senate’s refusal to hold hearings about President Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, leaves in place the ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which found that the president cannot issue executive orders that force states to cover the costs of unauthorized immigrants. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) expansion (the first DACA had a strict age limit) and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) order are suspended indefinitely. Lakshmi Sridaran, policy director with South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), says, “It never should have never come to this. The president was forced to take executive action because of a deadlocked Congress that refused to create a legislative solution.”

These executive orders have been our only beacon in an immigration debate that is, in my view, at its lowest point since 2005. In those days, more than a decade ago, immigration restrictionists had already made a (faulty) connection between terrorism and immigration.

By 2012, despite election season promises from both major parties that immigration reform was on the agenda, Congress refused to pass such reform. President Obama took action by signing two executive orders. He signed DACA in 2012, which would have provided temporary relief from deportation for young people who had been brought to the U.S. as children and who met certain other criteria. In 2014, the President signed DAPA, extending similar relief to parents of U.S. citizens or legal residents. He also expanded DACA by removing the age cap, though you still had to be born before June 15, 1981 to qualify. Neither executive order went as far as legalizing all of the people who are out of status, but it seemed the best we could hope for at the time.

And hope we did. For the first time since 9/11, we had the possibility of pulling millions of people who had been vilified out of the shadows. “When DAPA was announced, I felt a deep sense of relief because both of my parents are eligible for the program and would have deportation protection,” says Cristina Jimenez, co-founder and director of United We Dream. But, Jimenez notes, not all the parents of DACA-eligible people would find relief. Still, she says, “the fact that we had achieved another administrative victory gave me strength and hope that we would achieve more and that the power dynamics of immigration reform were changing.”

The suspension of DAPA implementation and DACA expansion reflects the degraded public discourse around immigration over the last two years. It comes in the middle of the most virulently anti-immigrant news cycle I’ve ever experienced aside from the immediate aftermath of September 11. The intense rise in the use of the i-word is proof enough. Even conservative communications guru Frank Luntz agrees that, as a noun, “illegal” is a racist slur. Many Americans, liberals and conservatives alike, enjoy proclaiming their support for “legal” immigration, saying that people should “get in line.”

The immigration system is endlessly complicated. What looks fair from the outside turns out to be not so evenhanded when you look closely. For example, there is a 7 percent limit on immigration from any single country. Denmark sends far less than 7 percent, but applicants from India—the second most populous nation in the world—would outpace the limit really quickly. This may be why Indians are the fourth largest group of undocumented immigrants in the United States.

People will inevitably do whatever is required to ensure their family’s survival. A real forward-looking approach would structure foreign policy in ways that generate peace and prosperity in other countries, not just ours, while making it possible to unite families who find themselves here.

Many immigrant families include people with all kinds of status: citizens, green card holders, temporary visa holders and those with no papers at all. It’s easy to say, “Kick ’em all out,” but the people you want to kick out have children, siblings and partners who are not going anywhere.

The immigrant rights movement and its allies have been preparing next steps in the event of this bitter disappointment. That plan will include calls for a moratorium on deportations, stepped up deportation defense campaigns and an overhaul of the detention system, which is run by private prison corporations with very little oversight. SAALT is calling for the Supreme Court to hear the case again with a ninth justice on board. Many people intend to keep pushing for a permanent policy solution with a path to green cards or even citizenship. Such a path has always been part of Comprehensive Immigration Reform discussions—legalization in exchange for further militarizing the border and building up immigration enforcement agencies.

At this point, advocates like Sridaran and Jimenez are done with such trade-offs. “We will redefine the conversation about immigration policy at the federal level, which means thinking outside of the CIR framework,” says Jimenez. “We don’t want intensified deportation policies, border security and enforcement that ultimately aims at further criminalizing our community.”

Author Profile: Dara Kalima

Dara Kalima, author of "Black Man Black Woman Black Child"

Dara Kalima, author of “Black Man Black Woman Black Child”

With the summer in full swing and school out of session, it is a great time to catch up on some reading. There will also be book fairs and festivals this summer for those who are inclined towards literature. In July, we have the Harlem Book Fair, and in August there will be the first ever Queens Book Festival. In looking at the upcoming events, as a part of the Black Writer’s Collaborative network, I discovered a writer who is scheduled to be at this year’s Harlem Book Fair. I’d like to introduce you to writer and poet Dara Kalima. She is the author of “Black Man, Black Woman, and Black Child” a perspective on the African-American experience. I was able to reach out to Dara for some questions about her book, and writing in general.

Polite On Society: What motivated you to write Black Man, Black Woman, Black Child? 

Dara Kalima: The title poem came to me many years ago. My goal in that moment was to explore the dynamic in the household. I wanted to understand how three people can live together and still not fully appreciate what the others may or may not be going through. In time, when I decided to compile the book, I realized this poem lent itself to a larger structure. It’s written in 5 sections; I tackle with the experience/perceptions of man, woman, and child, explore the family unit and then look at what it like when these people have to face a world that was not necessarily designed for their success. 

POS: What is your purpose in your writing? Who are you trying to reach?

DK: I write for those people who don’t know how to share their stories, who feel alone, unheard, etc. I write because by writing my story can help provide healing for another. I’m trying to reach anyone who will listen. But in the case of this book specifically I want those within the community to better understand each other and then I want those outside of it to see us as just regular people who may just have a bit more of a challenge facing them.

POS: As a poet, how do you decide how much of your life experience to pour into your work? Do you ever feel at risk of going too personal? 

DK: I have put a lot of my life on the page, some would argue too much and at this point though it may have all been written it’s not all shared. But I write often times to help me find clarity on things. If I don’t understand how an atrocity can happen in the world, I tend to write the questions, or my perceptions. If I’m hurting over a broken heart I write about the relationship, where it went wrong, how I am feeling and what healing looks like. I get shy and blush or get angry when I read some of my work but if the goal is to have deep and candid conversations, then I cannot shy away from these things in writing. I would be doing myself, my readers, and my craft a disservice.

Brexit Stage Right; Britain Leaves European Union

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Brexit- Britain Leaves EU

As I am sure you have read on various other news sources, Great Britain has voted to leave the European Union. It might feel like hyperbole, but I will say it anyway: this move has global implications.

Hearing the news that a national referendum resulted in a nation choosing not to entangle itself in a faltering economic bloc doesn’t portend well for the state of the world economy.

Not to be an alarmist, but a collapsing confidence in the European economy doesn’t mean good things for the rest of the world. So much for the global economy. Yes, the EU in general is an economic imperialist bloc, but this crisis will only make things worse for those already suffering. We can just look at the refugee crisis to see an example of it.

If you go back into the history of the European Economic Community, which was a precursor of sorts to the European Union back in the 1950’s- one of the purposes of it was to foster economic growth and prevent conflict between these nations. Having two world wars within the space of 20 years will encourage cooperation. Now, with this fracturing, it will mean economic conflict. Which in turn could lead to military conflict. Not tomorrow, but years down the road.

Capitalism is failing, not dying. Unlike other past economic modes, capitalism has to be deliberately supplanted. It won’t just die on its own. It had two world wars and hit the reset button on itself. I can understand the spirit of people wanting to be elated that the exploiters are suffering, but let’s think a little beyond that. The only problem is that I wouldnt cheer for a burning plantation there are hundreds of people still in it.. What does this portend for the exploited global South?

Global capitalism is going to take a lot of us down with it, because it’s not like we have built any alternatives to it.. anywhere. There isn’t one country on earth that has switched it’s economic system to socialism.

Cheering for the troubles of the imperialists, is understandable. That sounds good on paper, but these same desperate empires just got a lot more dangerous. Nothing more danger than a collapsing imperialism… this has happened before.. when competing imperial powers fight over scarce resources who suffers the most? Imperialism has a way in making millions pay for it’s failures.

Putting it together: Brexit, European economic instability, U.S. aggression against Russia, tension in the South China sea.. not a recipe for good things to come. Also considering that there aren’t many putting forth an alternative to what is a decaying economic system makes it much worse.

So yes, ultimately this Brexit vote will mean a lot. Much of it will be unforeseen consequences, and it’s definitely going to get realer as time goes along.

Independence Day: Resurgence – Review

Independence Day: Resurgence

Independence Day: Resurgence

Good evening my readers. It’s officially summer, and you know that means the emergence of the summer blockbusters. Of course, one of the biggest summer movies was the original Independence Day starring Will Smith. Back in 1996, this film made a big impact.

Independence Day: Resurgence is the sequel, and picks up the story in the aftermath of humanity’s victory against the alien invasion. It’s entirely possible that you can enjoy this movie without seeing the original. It’s not heavy on storyline, or plot development. What it was heavy on, was action and your standard science fiction tropes. Considering that Independence Day owes a lot to War of the Worlds, this is no surprise.

Laser cannons? Check. Fused human-alien tech? Check. An unrelenting galactic menace? Check. Watching this movie felt like watching a video game. I mean that in a good way. As a gamer, I saw elements of Halo, Gears of War, and Command and Conquer 3 and 4 in Independence Day: Resurgence. All good games… (#cough well except maybe C&C4) that have heavy science fiction elements to them.

As far as the characters, we know that there was a minor uproar online about Will Smith not being in it. And while it’s understandable, considering that the film is battle and special effects driven, it wasn’t a big deal in my opinion. Here, it’s set up for more films to follow at the end, and I felt the flick was entertaining. It’s not highbrow, cerebral Sci fi like Elysium or Prometheus, but a widely accessible Sci fi action film to get folks to theaters to get more encounters of it’s kind. I was entertained, and that’s what a flick is supposed to do.

I must go now, I have the sudden urge to play Halo. Lol. Peace  y’all!

National Association of Black Accountants Raise Money For Scholars At 36th Annual Gala

NABA Board with Scholarship recipients, NABA Gala 2016

NABA Board with Scholarship recipients, NABA Gala 2016

On Wednesday June 8, 2016 the National Association of Black Accountants Inc. (NABA), New York Chapter held its 36th Annual Scholarship and Awards Gala at Pier Fifty-Nine in New York City.

The National Association of Black Accountants Inc. (NABA), New York Chapter, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to bridging the opportunity gap for people of color in accounting, finance, consulting, information technology and other related business professions.

Comedian and radio personality, Chuck Nice served as master of ceremonies. Kimberly N. Ellison-Taylor, Global Accounting Strategy Director, delivered the keynote address, and New York Life was the lead sponsor of this event.

This year’s theme was “Relevance and Reliability – Qualitative Characteristics Beyond Accounting.” As President Rosalind P. Danner states, “Individuals and organizations alike must stay relevant – closely connected to the matters at hand. Our relevance puts us in a position to stay ahead of the competition. Equally as important is our reliability – our reliability to deliver consistent, dependable and trustworthy results.”

Representing more than 200,000 professionals, NABA advances people by providing education, resources and meaningful career connections to both professional and student members.  Each year NABA awards scholarships to outstanding students, recognizes corporate partners and honors distinguished professional members for excellence. The 2016 honorees include:

 

  • PRESIDENT’S AWARD FOR LEADERSHIP & EXCELLENCE: Edwin Jenkins, Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase; Hayes MacArthur, Principal at EisnerAmper; Mark Elbaum, Chief Financial Officer at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

 

 

  • COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD: Trishann Antoine-Despinosse, Accounting Controller at Huge, LLC
  • PROFESSIONAL MEMBER OF THE YEAR: Taisha Walker, Second Vice President of National Association of Black Accountants Inc., New York Chapter

 

  • STUDENT MEMBER OF THE YEAR: Ariana Robinson, Senior at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh; double major in Accounting and Business Administration and minor in Criminal Justice

 

Other students recognized include scholarship recipients:

 

Mamata Bah (Accounting Major at Baruch College), Ashley Belgrave (Accounting Major), Kacey Bernard (Accounting Major at Monroe College), Odia Butler (Accounting Major at Monroe College), Alexandria Dass (Accounting Major at Brooklyn College), Shantel Deleon (Accounting Major at Baruch College), Latanya Edwards (Accounting Major at Monroe College), Elijah Greene (Applied Economics Major at Ithaca College), Parin Kaba, (Finance Major at Ithaca College), Kirsten Kelly (Accounting Major at Syracuse University), Christakaye Myles (Accounting Major at Monroe College), Christine Nurse (Supply Chain Management Major at Baruch College), Subuola Ojerinola (Accounting Major at Medgar Evers College), Ariana Robinson (Accounting Major at SUNY Plattsburgh), Aderogba Salami (Accounting Major at Baruch College), Donique Sampson (Accounting Major at Monroe College), Isaiah Scott (Accounting Major at SUNY Plattsburgh), Aliou Badara Sidibe (Accounting Major at Baruch College), Shantayia Smith (Accounting Major at SUNY Plattsburgh), Ashia Thompson (Accounting Major at Monroe College), Candice Williams (Accounting Major at Monroe College), Tonya Williams (Finance Major at Monroe College), Leslie Ann Yarde (Accounting Major at Brooklyn College)

 

“For 36 years, we’ve provided scholarships to our students and recognized our corporate partners and our numerous volunteers,” says President Rosalind P. Danner. Over those 36 years, NABA has awarded more than $650,000 in scholarship funds to students. “We’ve accomplished this only through the support from our members, our corporate sponsors and the tireless efforts from our volunteers.”

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The National Association of Black Accountants, Inc. (NABA) is a premier professional organization representing the interests of over 200,000 people of color in furthering their educational, professional and career aspirations in the related business fields of accounting, consulting, finance and information technology. NABA provides avenues for growth, development and advancement to its members. To learn more visit:

http://www.nabany.org

Happy Father’s Day/Happy Juneteenth!

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Happy Juneteenth.. or else lol

Good morning my readers. Today is indeed an interesting day. Of course everyone knows that it’s Father’s Day, but today is also Juneteenth. What an intriguing  intersection, indeed. On this 151st anniversary of the occasion, we find ourselves wondering about the direction of our community. It’s a time of reflection as well as celebration.

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Juneteenth

Happy Juneteenth, and Happy Father’s Day to all the Father’s, grandfather’s, and Father figures out there. Peace!

Bringing Conscious Back Shows Out At Shrine

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Greetings my African-Americans… err my readers. I want to tell you a bit about the set at The Shrine in Harlem that I was a part of. As you have all seen before on this blog, Bringing Conscious Back is a collection of artists, poets and authors that have collaborated to raise awareness of issues in the community.

Started by Nicholle Lavann, the set  does events at The Shrine ever so often. Our last event this past Friday was wonderful. Hosted by Zakiyyah Modeste, this set featured dancer Shoniah Torres, Evan Charles, and veteran poet Abiodun Oyewole.

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For two hours, we were treated to songs, poems, and thoughts on matters of the day. Reign Taylor performed a song with her drums, and I read three pieces from my book of poetry.

Zakiyyah performed with her band, and held down host duties in Nicholle’s absence.

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This was a good event, and the end of my four month long book tour. Much thanks to the people there for coming out to see us. Since the summer is here, I don’t have anything else lined up. So I intend on taking a break from the heavy book promo. It takes a lot out of you, especially when you are your own street team. Thanks to everyone who came out to see or hear me, whether it was the Bronx, Harlem or Brooklyn. Y’all really helped make my spring. I’ll rest up, and hit hard in the fall. You can still cop the books on marcpolite.com though. Lol.

Until next blog post. Peace!