Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has a new report on how suggestions (see related article links below the clip) to expand the US guestworker program to ensure plenty of cheap labor may take us to a place we really don't want to be:
In the debate over comprehensive immigration reform, various policymakers and business groups have suggested that Congress create a new or expanded guestworker program to ensure a steady supply of foreign workers for industries that rely on an abundance of cheap labor.
Congress should look before it leaps. The current H-2 program, which provides temporary farmworkers and non-farm laborers for a variety of U.S. industries, is rife with labor and human rights violations committed by employers who prey on a highly vulnerable workforce. It harms the interests of U.S. workers, as well, by undercutting wages and working conditions for those who labor at the lowest rungs of the economic ladder. This program should not be expanded or used as a model for immigration reform.
Yale University has come under fire this week for a proposed research center that will train U.S. Special Operations forces on "interview techniques"—using immigrants from the local community to practice their interrogation skills.
Aube Rey Lescure / Yale Daily News
The center, which has been proposed by psychiatry professor Charles Morgan, would be funded by a $1.8 million grant from the Department of Defense and may be in operation as early as April.
The story gained attention after Yale students Nathalie Batraville and Alex Lew published an op-ed in their school newspaper that outlines concerns about the center—including how it will impact New Haven's immigrant community as well as implications of the university aligning itself with the goals of the U.S. military.
Okay, here's my culture pick of the week, a review of Barbara Ransby's book about Essie Robeson...
Unlike the world-renowned outspoken singer and actor Paul Robeson (1898-1976), known for his leading roles in The Emperor Jones, Othello and Show Boat, few people have heard of Eslanda ‘Essie’ Cardozo Goode Robeson, the writer, anthropologist and activist who was his wife. In a compelling new biography, Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson, historian Barbara Ransby introduces us to her, and, along the way, explores the sexism that allows “Great Men” to be remembered, while women like Essie, who make their fame and glory possible, are forgotten. The result is a social history that reveals Essie as a prolific journalist, author, public speaker, and advocate for women and people of color—and as a woman whose personal life was rife with contradictions and conundrums.
Here's a clip from the interview transcript. Interesting for me to get more details on what was going on in North Carolina when I lived there for a few years in the late 50's to early sixties. You can also see an article and listen to the story at NPR.
This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Here's a headline you wouldn't want to see in your newspaper: Ku Klux Klan declares war against negro Jew communism. That was a banner headline from the Klan publication The Fiery Cross in 1961. I read that in the new book "Klansville, U.S.A.: The Rise and Fall of the Civil Rights-Era Ku Klux Klan" by my guest David Cunningham.
The book gives a historical overview of the Klan, then focuses on North Carolina, which in spite of its reputation as the region's most progressive state in the '60s was a Klan stronghold then. Cunningham is associate professor and chair of sociology in the Social Justice and Social Policy Program at Brandeis University. He's worked with the Greensboro, North Carolina, Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Mississippi Truth Project.