Harry Reid...A Closed Book?

...pic borrowed from Associated Press, snapped by Charles Dharapak
...full text also found on Truthdig

Senator Harry Reid’s comments about Obama’s racial profile might be “a closed book” for our President. After all, he’s got bigger fish to fry. But it appears that Obama is the only one who is over it. For those late to the party, Reid’s racial thinking was revealed recently in the book Game Change, by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. In this book the authors expose the inner workings of the 2008 Presidential campaign on both sides of the aisle. Their most shocking revelation is that Reid said that Obama had the right look and sound for presidential candidacy, “light skinned” and "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." Rather than considering whether Reid’s comments are politically correct…clearly they aren’t…I think it’s more prudent and interesting to open the book on Reid’s comments and think about whether Reid has a point. So, was Reid right?

On "Avatar"

...written with the help of my avatar, Alesan Hillside
...pic borrowed from Official
Avatar website

Oel ngati kameie. Today is Day 6 since my screening of James Cameron’s Avatar. Part action film, part sci-fi, part horror, part fantasy and part cautionary tale, Avatar has shaped up to be one of the biggest blockbusters of all time. Figures don’t lie. Avatar passed the $1 billion mark worldwide this weekend, “only the fifth movie in history ever to do so,” according to But did it offer “a sense of delight that quickly gives way to a sense of astonishment,” as promised by The Wall Street Journal? After some reflection my answer is both yes and no.

Notes on Disney's "The Princess and The Frog"

...written with Rebecca Herr Stephenson, Ph.D. snapped coyly by Amanda Lobely

Everyone is talking about Disney’s latest “fairy tale with a twist” The Princess and The Frog. However, a few things seem to be missing from the conversation. Like, where is Maldonia? What sense can we make of Naveen's racial and ethnic identities? How does the film compare to E. D. Baker's novel The Frog Princess or The Brothers Grimm's fairy tale The Frog Prince? While it can’t be denied that Tiana, the African American protagonist, is a welcome addition to Disney’s cadre of princesses, the film is ultimately an argument for post identity politics, self-determination and meritocracy. In a historical moment in which millions of American families are coping with the realities of a troubled economy and widespread unemployment, in which many children spend their days in schools where standardization and the quest for test scores drive instruction, and in which inequalities related to race, gender, class, sexuality, religion and ability continue to be very real elements of young people's lives, is another "bootstrap narrative" really what kids--and adults--need to see?

Outstanding Dissertation Award (Nov. 2009)

No one was more surprised than I to hear that I’d won an Outstanding Dissertation Award from the National Communication Association in 2009. Elsewhere on this site (“Thank You” under “Blogs”), I have talked about the blood, sweat and tears that my family, advisers, partner and I put into this project. I’m so pleased that someone besides us thinks that it’s important and worth reading. I’m currently awaiting a review from a publisher to see if it can be adapted into a book manuscript for publication in late 2010. Fingers crossed...

Diversity in Communication?

Whether teaching online or on ground, as faculty we are presented with an array of diversity issues. From race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, income level, geography and age, to motivation levels, learning and personality styles as well as academic and technological skill levels.

Thank You...

Earning a Doctorate in Rhetoric and Political Communication at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication has been steeped with prospects for professional and personal development. In large part due to the setting, Los Angeles, I have enjoyed the privilege of getting to know many amazing people from all walks of life.

A Judge With A View

...full text also available at Inside CSUF

In this op ed for "Truthdig" I analyze the culture wars that became visible during Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing despite our national post-racial and post-feminist ethos. I raise three issues that allowed Sotomayor’s standpoint both answers her critics and raises new questions: recognition, status, and communication. Ultimately, I argue that the hearings and votes have been anything but post- racial or post-feminist. Rather, they have been an exercise in reciprocal communication based on racial and gendered identification. We have watched how those with similar standpoints adopt similar communication styles and how those with differing standpoints adopt differing styles. And, perhaps more importantly, we have watched what happens when different standpoints and communication styles meet.

The Language of Hip Hop

The Language of Hip Hop
written for “The Tub” Magazine ~ Nov. 2007 Issue

As a child I never imagined that the scenes I saw growing up in Queens, New York, of block parties and ciphers in the parks, would redefine the world. Yet that’s exactly what’s happened. Hip hop has become a powerful part of today’s global entertainment culture, the part that introduced today’s USA to the world. Hip hop is so powerful, in fact, that it does everything from making social commentary to dishing insults, from creating new words to selling cell phones, beer, and burgers. It tells us what’s cool and at the same time, what’s hot.

My Teaching Philosophy

Philosophy of Teaching

Teaching is an adventure steeped with prospects for personal and professional development. My experiences have ranged all the way from sharing basic financial concepts with clients of a Fortune 500 firm, to ESL and literacy training for inner city adults, to tutoring junior high school students in after school programs, to instructing community college classes in educational success strategies and, most recently, to developing, marketing and teaching innovative undergraduate courses.