We now return you to your regularly scheduled program…

In the past couple of years, thanks to key activism, the American public has been introduced to sweatshops (well actually mainstream middle class America was introduced to them, unfortunately, folks of color have been working in them for years now). The connetions between sweatshops and celebrities have also increased (please see Kathie Lee and sweatshops). Apparently, like most things in the media today, where there is smoke, there is P. Diddy (that’s Puffy to me and you!). Diddy is the most recent to be accused of using sweatshops in Honduras to manufacture clothes for his Sean John line. The whistle blower, a 19 year old former factory worker, is leading a charge towards accountability for Diddy and his digs. I was wondering when hip hop was going to get indicted in sweatshop labor, Unfortunately, even the most “conscious” rappers today still rock Nikes and the like in the name of fashion.

Speaking of sweatshops, I recently had the honor of winning my first Intramural championship in softball. On my way to this victory, I loudly joked about wanting my “sweatshop shirt special edition.” For the past couple of years, or at least since I’ve been in Michigan, the prize for victory in IM has been a tee shirt sponsored by Nike. Imagine my suprise when I got my tee shirt and it did not have the scarlet swoosh of unfair labor practices. Now I must admit, my shirt is likely tied to some form of a sweatshop, but for once I was impressed (not oppressed) by a decision U of M made!

Speaking of unfair labor practices, last week the Center for the education of women released a study on the state of under-representation of women executives in Michigan companies. The report, with little suprise, found that representation of women in higher level positions did not reflect the pool of qualified women for executive level positions. I recently had a lively discussion/debate about whether this lack of representation was a function of “self-selection” out of the eligble pool by women who try to have families, or if it were generated by discriminatory practices. An interesting point about self-selection, but it’s more likely that employeers probably use individual cases of women “selecting-out” to signal that all or most women will do the same thing, thus never giving new women the the opportunity.

On my labor tip continued, the U is being set ablaze, not literally, by the rise in cost of healthcare. Today at noon, GEO and other labor unions at U of M will be rallying to get the word out about rising healthcare costs and its detrimental effects on folks at U of M. More details later!

As we roll on, the Democratic presidential debate took place in Detroit this past weekend, where 3000 invited guests (yeah, you know they weren’t interested in letting in the average woman or man) who watched the candidates do battle … some of them to the death. The debate was co-sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and Fox News, obviously the Fox News sponsorship made made me nervous! The debate was pretty interesting. Clearly, Al Sharpton was the crowd favorite, and despite it being in Detroit, the audience was majority White. However, the person with the most success was likely Dean who remains a front runner. Clark scared me to death with his comments. Kucinich got played by the moderators. Edwards … boring. Kerry … boring. Gephardt, aren’t you Republican? Mosley-Braun, come on sis… where is the fire that got you into offices before? Lieberman, give up now, save yourself … and us! Here is a shameless plug for Al Sharpton’s book, if you don’t know about the new Al Sharpton pick it up and read! Don’t let the perm fool ya!

Onto the arena of civil rights, this past week, Hussain Rahim made an intersting commentary on Ghettopoly, the NAACP, and racial politics in the US. The piece entitled, “Strictly for my niggaz and bitches” isn’t that bad. Besides neglecting the difference in scale of impact between marketing Pimp Juice which provides a pro-pimp statement and a game that attempts to addict your neighborhood to one of the most debilating substances on earth, the opinion piece does a pretty good job. Hussain admits ghettopoly is just a game, to which I respond in my best Serch like voice, “IT’S NOT A GAME!” The state of Black America is difficult to impact, but if we can serve at nipping one perpetuator of stereotypes in the bud, we can continue to deal with the bigger offenders tomorrow.

Let’s see, other important things happening today:

The Tamara Williams Memorial Lecture


Loretta J. Ross

You are cordially invited to the annual lecture in

memory of Tamara Williams (1976-1997) a University of

Michigan senior killed by her boyfriend, September 23, 1997

Wednesday, October 29, 7:00 – 8:30 PM

East Hall Auditorium, Room 1324

525 East University Avenue

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Domestic violence is serious and real, if you can, come out and support this!

If you can’t make it to that, there is also:



Wednesday, Oct. 29th:


Let Our Voices Be Heard.

an interactive program on affirmative action featuring Ann Arbor Slam Poets!

7pm Pendelton Room, Michigan Union

Thursday, Oct. 30th:



Come out to the diag to hear a BET comic impersonate Ward Connerley himself. Music from DJ Grafitti, MCed by a WJLB radio personality!

12pm, DIAG

Both great events, you’d be wise to find yourself at either one of them!

Aight, that is more than enough to chew on … oh wait!

FREE SLICK RICK aka MC Ricky D aka The Ruler!!!!!

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