Lydia Lowe doesn’t speak for me

I don’t live in the Second Suffolk District, where a heated battle is underway between incumbent State Senator Diane Wilkerson and challenger Sonia Chang-Diaz, the challenger who won the Democratic nomination last week. I have no standing to evaluate whether Wilkerson or Chang-Diaz is more capable of representing that District’s needs.

However, as a Chinese-American, I do feel strongly disserved by the executive director of the Chinese Progressive Association, Lydia Lowe, who is quoted in the Bay State Banner as saying, “I think progressive whites don’t care about what people of color want or who they see as their leaders.”

This is a disgraceful show of divisive 70s-style racial politics that we simply don’t need at this moment in history. Progressive (and not-so-progressive) whites — indeed people of all races — have shown that they do care about other people, of other races. I fundamentally and profoundly disagree with the sentiment that progressive whites are selling out their non-white brethren. If anything, history has repeatedly shown us that progressive whites have been essential to the advancement of so many issues of importance to minorities, whether civil rights, affirmative action, or immigration reform.

Like a certain black pastor who recently received nationwide notoriety, Lydia Lowe’s years of fighting for the interests of Chinatown and the Chinese-American community may have, at the same time, given her a sadly frozen view of race relations. Diane Wilkerson’s own preferred candidate for President chastised his former pastor: “The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made… But what we know — what we have seen – is that America can change.”

The idea that whites in Jamaica Plain are selling out their non-white neighbors because of race is reprehensible and disgusting. Lydia Lowe and her organization may win a tactical victory if her candidate returns to the Senate. But by playing the race card — against a woman who’s mixed white, Latina, and Chinese, no less — she’ll be hurting the long-term interests of her own constituency, pushing away the very people who have been a cornerstone of political success any time minorities have tried to attain success beyond our own boundaries.

I know that WBUR voice…

It’s not like I’ve become a WBUR fanboy or anything, but the radio station’s new media department invited its Facebook and Twitter friends to their offices this morning for a tour and informal conversation about social media. Along the way, we got to see the office at work, including Bob Oakes and an even more familiar voice, Mary Ann Nichols. Don’t know the name? Well you might if you heard her:

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Yup, she’s the voice of WBUR’s underwriters. There’s no other way to pronounce “Landry and Arcari” except hers.

Globe subscription: six-sevenths gone

While the feedback I got from my earlier question about canceling our subscription to the Globe was largely negative (here’s a sample from Universal Hub: “If you enjoy reading the paper, keep your subscription. A newspaper dropped on your front stoop is a wonderful thing to wake up to each morning. That and coffee of course.” OTOH, my Facebook network was more positive: “Do it! Stop propping up dinosaurs”)

So, we’re canceling our daily subscription but keeping the Sunday paper (for now). As another Facebook friend who did the same thing put it, “I did the wimpy thing and went down to Sunday only.” Top reasons:

  1. While it’s really great to feel like part of the local community by knowing what’s going on, etc., I probably spend 15 minutes per day “learning” things that really have no value to me (MP’s comment about social capital acknowledged but not, at the end of the day, enough to overcome my general feeling that I’m wasting time).
  2. It really does irk me that some guy is driving around the neighborhood at 10 MPH delivering these things. And while maybe that guy will eventually lose a job if enough of us keep unsubscribing (as we seem to be), it’s not like I’m not encouraging new (and probably better-paying) jobs by doing more productive things with my time and money saved, including getting my news from other sources. (Not to mention the number of my plants this guy has beheaded over the years).
  3. Plastic. Lots and lots of Boston Globe plastic.
  4. Consumerism. Reading more ads — including the Globe’s own articles and product reviews — is not the way I want to spend my time, nor my money, nor the way I’d like to support local media.

On a more positive note, we continue to support WBUR as members, and I hope that as more of us defect from newspapers that public media will benefit. Why? Because I will donate money to WBUR; I won’t to the Globe. Sorry, that’s just the difference between a nonprofit and a for-profit. I’ll be getting my comics from the Houston Chronicle’s Roll-Your-Own (the only important one it lacks is Arlo & Janis).

btw I don’t do morning coffee. I listen to the news until something makes me so angry that I jolt myself out of bed.