Michael Dukakis

“Until 1980, he had been in the moderate wing Republican Party, backing abortion rights family planning and the ERA. But by the time he sought the presidency in 1988, he recast himself as a hard-line conservative, opposing abortion, pledging not to raise taxes (in spite of the huge deficit), supporting constitutional amendments requiring balanced budgets and allowing school prayer, and building ties to conservative Christian groups. Running against Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis, a bland technocrat whom he initially trailed in the polls, Bush ran an ugly negative campaign. In a measure of how much liberalism had become delegitimized during the Reagan years, Bush’s main charge against Dukakis was simply that he was a liberal. The Republican campaign calculated that being labeled the “L word”, as Bush called it, would have much the same affect that charges of communist sympathy once had.”


These campaign tactics are reminiscent of the red scare. Technically in the shadows of the second red scare- Bush switched views almost 180 degrees between the time he entered office as Vice President and running for President, seemingly in order to create a stir and take shots against Mayor Dukakis. This showed the strength of Reaganism and I find it interesting to see a person in office change their view so drastically (even though I am sure he is not the only one). Its amazing to me haw they sway to meet the wants of the people; quite possibly not being the best candidate yet altering themself to serve their campaigns.

Jose Napolean Duartre

“The Reagan administration portrayed itself as a promoter of democracy, but it simultaneously adopted the view that sometimes the road to democracy-or at least the best interest of the United States- lay in supporting anticommunist dictatorships. This was far from a new position for the United States, which over the years had allied with doctoral regimes such as….”

p. 394

Jose Napoleon Duarte, leader of the Christian Democratic Party of El Salvador. He was a Notre Dame graduate and presented a much more attractive image than the far-right ARENA party. Reagan took an interest in the party and saw it as an opportunity to “flex” American muscle by sending aid, advisors and training for the Salvadorian soldiers to overthrow radical communist uprisings. Reagan also knew that Americas foe Russian would stay out of it, mainly because they had no prior interest in the region. However, this reiterated a well know message that Americans would even support a dictatorship over communism. This is mentioned by Freeman to show the increasing medaling by the United Stated in foreign affairs with personal gain at the root of it all. This action, although briefly mentioned is a small portion of the behind the scenes, covert operations that took place- quietly of course in avoidance of the negative Vietnam feelings towards Vietnam.


What More Can I Say? – Jay-Z

What More Can I Say?- Jay-Z.

One of my favorite songs is What More Can I Say? by Jay Z. I vividly remember the highly anticipated Black Album release. It was a big deal because Jay Z claimed it would be his last album, and that he would go into retirement after it. I was in the eleventh grade and had recently got my permit and as is usual with most kids, would routinely smoke pot and cruise around aimlessly with friends. This album would be on repeat during such outings. As an impressionable 16 year old born and raised in Brooklyn, listening to the lyrics, I was so moved, inspired and impressed by Jay Z’s accomplishments that he became an idol. I felt like he represented Brooklyn so well. He really showed how different he was from other rappers at the time in this album and particularly this song. His rhymes place him echelons above any rapper. He sums up his rise and current feelings about the industry and almost boasts about his rein over New York and Hip Hop yet he feels he isn’t given his due credit and thus feels its time to part ways with the business. Its just so straight forward and raw, its synonymous with Brooklyn and gives me chills listening to it. Hes sick!

Pound-for-pound, I’m the best to ever come around here
Excluding nobody, look what I embody:
The soul of a hustler, I really ran the street
A CEO’s mind, that marketing plan was me
And no I ain’t get shot up a whole bunch of times
Or make up shit in a whole bunch of lines
And I ain’t animated like, say, Busta Rhymes
But the real shit you get when you bust down my lines
Add that to the fact I went plat’ a bunch of times
Times that by my influence on pop culture
I’m supposed to be number one on everybody list
We’ll see what happens when I no longer exist
Fuck this
(Knocks the mic over)

Another random Jay Z lyric Squeeze 1st

It’s about to get so obscene in a minute
I seen and live it, I did some things I admit it
Wasn’t proud of it, but I was a child fuck it

Kept a pow tucked in a brown belt
Couldn’t sit down, big gun kept stickin my pelvis

Shit it was either that or be livin wit Elvis
Niggas is jealous, hell is hot, you heard X
Wanted to tell God that I don’t deserve this
Was afraid that he’d tell me I deserve less

My life was nervous, you haven’t heard stress
Til you heard the cries of my mama, me givin her drama

Told her I ain’t promised tomorrow, gotta live for the day
And before she could say Jay…………………..!
I was out the door, pouch full of raw, a outlaw mentality

Men gotta do men things for men salary
Bad Boy, not Puff or Mike Lowery, damn B.I.G. woulda been proud of me


Paul Volcker

“That year, the lead in fighting inflation moved from the White House to the Federal Reserve System. Paul Volcker, whom Carter appointed chairman of the Fed, made stopping inflation his main goal, even if it took inducing a recession to achieve it.” p.329

This is similar in many regards to what is going on currently with Mr. Bernanke. He is putting these measures into place that will seemingly make things worse before they get better. Paul Volcker is important because he is the person behind the policies that were aimed at restricting the money supply (with intentions on lowering inflation). It is a major underlying reason why interest rates skyrocketed leading in turn to the decline in consumer spending. Volcker’s policies along with other contributing factors led to a huge amount of layoffs and plant closings in the automobile and steel industries.

Tom Wolfe

“Many observers, at the time and later, contrasted the period unfavorably with what they portrayed as a more collective and idealistic era tat proceeded it. Most famously, in the mid-1970s writer Tom Wolfe, in a self-fulfilling prophecy, declared that “the 1970’s ……. will come to be known as the Me Decade.” p. 312

Tom Wolfe was important because “he connected the narcissism of the 1970s with the enormous boost in national wealth that occurred during the thirty years after World War II. The once exclusive ability of the rich to engage in ongoing scrutiny and reinvention of the self spread through the society during the golden age of capitalism. Millions of Americans could now afford the money and time for spiritual retreats, encounter sessions, and therapy of all kinds. Economic growth had allowed the common man and woman to do “something only aristocrats (and intellectuals and artists) were supposed to do- they discovered and started doting on Me!””

He very neatly and eloquently identified a great problem within the culture. Shifting from golden age times to the harsher times of the 1970s would require a mind-state change which obviously did not occur.

Similarities Between Harlan County and Urban New York City

The issues taking place in Harlan County, although not exactly the same problems that plagued urban areas of New York City were similar in many regards. For each demographic, it was the lower to middle working class that suffered at the hands of institutions. In New York Cities case, the institution was the political system that felt urban areas did not warrant or deserve funding for infrastructure restoration and education. In Harland, the MWA employers were taking advantage of their workers. The management were in a sense were like the government. I state this because they were a monopoly with a stronghold on employment in their area and the workers were the their mercy. In both locations the local law enforcement- the people who are supposed to protect and serve seemed to be siding with the enemy. In Harlan County, the police simply stood by as weapons were brandished. They carted picketers off to jail and claimed they were simply doing their job, however it was unmistakable which side they favored. In urban New York City, police harassment was common occurrence. Again, there was no feeling of being helped or feeling safe from police. On the contrary, there was a sense of apprehension and anxiety.

Both groups felt the need to take matters in their own hands. The gangs in New York City had formed as a result of this but in Harlan County, the MWA had been established for a number of years. They both justifiably decided that if they did not help themselves, no one would and they would have continued being taken advantage of. They both stood up for themselves by banding together. Both groups showed the prevailing strength in numbers and what can be accomplished by sticking together.

David Dinkins

“Black Manhattan Borough Pesiudent David Dinkins emerged as a popular mayoral favorite to reduce tenstions and heal divisions. A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg pleaded on “Can I Kick It”: “Mr. Dinkins, will you please be our mayor? You’d be doing us a really big favor.”” p. 293

David Dinkins was the city’s first Black mayor, beating out Koch in the Democratic primary and Rudy Giuliani. The hope was that the racial divide would become less prevalent and slowly subside. Black were hoping that change would come because they finally had someone who had their best interest at heart holding important political office. To the chagrin of many, the divide was too great to be bridged in that amount of time. He was in office for one term.

Spike Lee

“From Fort Greene, a filmmaker named Spike Lee crashed through the gates of the movie industry with independently produced box-office hits, She’s Gottta Have It and Skool Daze, unapologetic slices of black life that refused to cater to Superfly blaxsportation cliches or Eddie Murphy crossover expectations.” p. 249

Spike Lee, among other independent filmmakers broke the barrier of film-making which was produced by blacks that specifically catered to blacks. There was an insensitivity within Hollywood against blacks and the cultural differences. As a result, many black communities decided to boycott the industry. Spike Lee and the others we able to capitalize on this and in doing so, captivated their black audiences with stories and topics geared toward their struggles and general representation of their communities.

Housing and Gangs Make for a Volatile Environment

Development in the Bronx during the nineteen sixties and early seventies is a bit of an oxymoron. There was plenty of the contrast in part due to lack of government funding leading to crumbling urban areas, lack of employment and imminent domain relocation as a result of projects like the Cross Bronx Expressway. Gang activity was rampant. Growing up in these dilapidated communities, many youth felt that joining a gang was a way to make up for what they lacked. They joined to surround themselves with people who cared and as well as for protection. The community members were mostly poor Hispanics, African American and Jews. They felt mistreated by the government and police and their needs continued to go unfulfilled. Rebuilding was not a government priority. All of these issues combined to form a very volatile and unpleasant environment in the Bronx.

The imminent domain relocating due to the Cross Bronx Expressway uprooted over 60,000 families who for the most part were not wealthy and had difficulty finding housing. The Housing project that began to spring up were to provide haven for these families but in reality perpetuated the housing segregation of social classes by grouping low income Blacks and Hispanics together.

Because of no real government assistance or talk of rebuilding, the gangs took it upon themselves to organize, help the community and voice their opinions for their many causes. They organized things such as clothes drives and soup kitchens. They also policed their own neighborhoods, chasing out the ever-growing number of drug addicts who were the main source of crime. The gangs were the lifeline that kept the communities afloat through these tough times.