Category Archives: Friends & Comrades
Radical journalist and author Alexander Cockburn, who passed away July 21, 2012, was celebrated at a memorial in New York last September attended by (among others) Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali and the extended Cockburn family. Laura Flanders has put together a very nice tribute video from the memorial. It includes many of the Kopkind extended family like Kevin Alexander Gray, JoAnn Wypijewski, Najla Said and some great pictures.
Lecture and Book Signing ~ Wednesday, March 14— USC Moore School of Business | BA 002, 6:00pm
Dr. Tanya Golash-Boza has a joint appointment in Sociology and American Studies at the University of Kansas. She is the author of three books as well as dozens of peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and essays in online and print magazines addressing issues blackness in Peru, Latino/a identity in the U.S., and the human rights impact of U.S. immigration policies. Her scholarship recently earned the Distinguished Early Career Award of the Racial and Ethnic Minorities Studies Section of the American Sociological Association. Her books will be available for purchase at the University Bookstore at the Russell House and a book signing and reception will be held after the lecture. This event is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored with the Latin American Studies Program, the Consortium for Latino Immigration Studies, the Department of Sociology and the Hispanic Literatures and Cultures Lecture Series.
“Paddy” (often used with “Paddy wagon”) is a racial slur for an Irish person just as “Nigger” is for a black person or “Kike” is for a Jew or “Chink” for a Chinese person, etc.., It comes from the drunk wagons that used to take those who were publicly drunk to jail to “sleep it off”, and it is incorrectly and widely believed that most of these alcohol abusers were Irish immigrants or their descendants.”
It just so happen someone used the word “Paddy wagon” on”Live from the Land of Hope & Dreams with Dave Marsh” on Sirius radio on November 20th as we talked about OWS arrest. The term “Paddy” was quickly exposed as racist. Then on Monday (21 November) one of the young protesters unknowingly used the word saying he was ready to be arrested and taken away in the “Paddy wagon.” Many of the people around me at the protest commented on the nature of the word and our feeling that the young protester didn’t fully know the origin or meaning of the term.
Immediately after the event I posted a definition of the term on facebook (21 Nov. 11). Below is the discussion thread on the word. I felt the discussion was one that warranted saving and sharing.
Kwame Zulu Shabazz & Stephanie McCarthy did most of the heavy lifting.
Read thru the thread and you might just learn something new. FYI about some of the people on the thread – Shabazz is a Harvard Ph.D now teaching at Winston-Salem State University. Ms. McCarthy lives in Paris, where she has resided since 2001; and lived in France since 1999. She teach English as applied to the Humanities in a university in Paris.
Pamela Willis Watters hmmm….I had no idea! Thanks, Kevin
Miriam Harris really interesting–thank you.
Maria Holt Wow! Learn something from your page everyday…
Kevin Gray Yeah, it just so happen someone brought it up on the Sirius show yesterday as we talked about OWS arrest and tonite one of the young protesters unknowingly used the word.
Frank Moliterno Interesting.
Maria Holt Oh that’s def not a good look…(referring to young man’s gaff)
Kevin Gray Just young.
Kwame Zulu Shabazz Bro. Kev. I did a quick check on the etymology of “paddy wagon,” and there is actually not a consensus on its meaning. And, according to the source I read, PW likely originates from the fact that many police officers who drove police wagons were Irish.
If accurate, then PW is not derogatory. The derogatory use comes later when African Americans begin to use “paddy” to describe all whites, regardless of ethnicity. But, again, we should be clear that “paddy wagon” and “paddy,’ seem to have two different connotations–one neutral and the other bad.
My other quibble, is that whatever its meaning you seem to imply that paddy and nigger are equivalents–that calling an Irish person paddy is just like calling a black person nigger. But the history of the relative treatment of Africans and Irish people don’t bear that out. kzs
//”Irishman,” 1780, slang, from the pet form of the common Irish proper name Patrick (Ir. Padraig). It was in use in black slang by 1946 for any “white person.” Paddy wagon is 1930, perhaps so called because many police officers were Irish.//
Bob Shanbrom Good call, Kevin.
James Armand Chionsini Jr. WOP for Italians used to mean ‘without papers’
Kwame Zulu Shabazz And its not exactly clear to me that the African American use of the term “paddy” was, in every instance, derogatory. It seems to me that it was/is often simply a variant of “white.” kzs
Kevin Gray @Bro Kwame- Absolutely! Efia (Nwangaza) mentioned another thing to me tonite when the young man used the term (and he was speaking about being ready to be taken away in the “Paddy wagon”). She offered that many slave catchers were Irish. Hadn’t checked into that one yet. But certainly the term “negro-round-up” which today is the neighborhood sweeps via profiling has its roots in the history of the term.
Kwame Zulu Shabazz Yessir, in fact, last year, I posted something on “paddy wagon” songs and the link to slave catchers. I will see if I can dig it up. kzs
Kevin Gray Well, now, white is white, and race trumps class under white supremacy, so in that respect a black using the word during the time when such slang was part of the everyday vernacular may have been “flipping it” – [“you may be white but you’re just a paddy” just as -“you may be white but you’re just a po’cracker” which plays the class card.
Kwame Zulu Shabazz Yeah the songs im thinking of were called “patty rollers” another name, as you note, for slave patrols. Not exactly sure if it has any connection with the Irish but will check it out to tomorrow cuz it getting late. im in my office and i gotta…umm…roll :O) Continue reading
To Listeners of SiriusXM Left satellite-radio channel (Sirius/XM 127)
Currently, if any sound-bite is used in an on-air ad or station-ID for SiriusXM Left, it is invariably something taken from one of President Barack Obama’s recent speeches, press-conferences, etc.
Obama, however, is not the sole spokesperson or representative of the U.S. left/liberal/progressive political movement. In fact, many of us have come to believe that Obama does not wish to represent our viewpoints in any significant way on any significant issues (war/international-relations, the economy, taxation, education, civil rights/liberties, healthcare, etc.)
We propose using a new collection of sound-bites that still may include the occasional appropriate Obama quotation but, more importantly, would be expanded greatly to include many more statements issued by various well-known (and perhaps some not-so-well-known) activists/speakers/leaders from the U.S. left/liberal/progressive section of the political spectrum, both past and present.
Shawn Poole, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & Ryan Hilligoss, Chicago, Illinois | SiriusXM Left subscribers/listeners/occasional-callers
The ancient word is dead.
The ancient books are dead.
Our speech with holes like worn-out shoes is dead.
Dead is the mind that led to defeat.
Our poems have gone sour.
Women’s hair, nights, curtains and sofas
Have gone sour.
Everything has gone sour.
My grieved country,
In a flash
You changed me from a poet who wrote love poems
To a poet who writes with a knife.
What we feel is beyond words:
We should be ashamed of our poems.
By Oriental bombast,
By Antartic (Antar, pre-Islamic poet & hero that was a symbol of an uneaten knight) swaggering that never killed a fly,
By the fiddle and the drum,
We went to war
Our shouting is louder than our actions,
Our swords are taller than us,
This is our tragedy.
We wear the cape of civilization
But our souls live in the stone age.
You don’t win a war
With a reed and a flute.
Cost us fifty thousand new tents.
Don’t curse heaven
If it abandons you,
Don’t curse circumstances.
God gives victory to whom He wishes.
God is not a blacksmith to beat swords.
It’s painful to listen to the news in the morning.
It’s painful to listen to the barking of dogs.
Our enemies did not cross the border
They crept through our weakness like ants.
Five thousand years
In our caves.
Our currency is unknown,
Our eyes are a haven for flies.
Smash the doors,
Wash your brains,
Wash your clothes.
Read a book,
Write a book,
Grow words, pomegranates and grapes,
Sail to the country of fog and snow.
Nobody knows you exist in caves.
People take you for a breed of mongrels.
We are thick-skinned people
With empty souls.
We spend our days practicing witchcraft,
Playing chess and sleeping.
And we the ‘Nation by which God blessed mankind’?
Our desert oil could have become
Daggers of flame and fire.
We’re a disgrace to our noble ancestors:
We let our oil flow through the toes of whores.
We run wildly through streets
Dragging people with ropes,
Smashing windows and locks.
We praise like frogs,
Swear like frogs,
Turn midgets into heroes,
And heroes into scum:
We never stop and think.
We crouch idly,
And beg God for victory
Over our enemy.
If I knew I’d come to no harm,
And could see the Sultan,
I’d tell him:
Your wild dogs have torn my clothes
Your spies hound me
Their eyes hound me
Their noses hound me
Their feet hound me
They hound me like Fate
Interrogate my wife
And take down the names of my friends,
When I came close to your walls
And talked about my pains,
Your soldiers beat me with their boots,
Forced me to eat my shoes.
You lost two wars.
Half of our people are without tongues,
What’s the use of people without tongues?
Half of our people
Are trapped like ants and rats
If I knew I’d come to no harm
I’d tell him:
‘You lost two wars
You lost touch with children’
If we hadn’t buried our unity
If we hadn’t ripped its young body with bayonets
If it had stayed in our eyes
The dogs wouldn’t have savaged our flesh.
We want an angry generation
To plough the sky
To blow up history
To blow up our thoughts.
We want a new generation
That does not forgive mistakes
That does not bend.
We want a generation
Corn ears of the future,
You will break out chains.
Kill the opium in our heads,
Kill the illusions.
Don’t read about our windowless generation,
We are a hopeless case.
We are as worthless as water-melon rind.
Don’t read about us,
Don’t ape us,
Don’t accept us,
Don’t accept our ideas,
We are a nation of crooks and jugglers.
Corn ears of the future,
You are a generation
That will overcome defeat.