Cross-posted at MyDD

Photo of T-shirtI saw Borat last night. The movie has its defenders and its detractors. I think that Borat is one of the most subversive movies since Farenheit 9/11. Two different movies to be sure. But like Michael Moore, Sacha Baron Cohen seeks to expose the truth behind the lies we tell ourselves about our country. Borat uncomfortably rips the lid off of what many Americans, unfortunately, really think. There’s a lot of humanity and kindness. There is also a lot of racism and anti-Semitism that is casually thrown around. When the frat boys openly wish slavery still existed in America and bemoan the fact that in their minds, minorities actually “have more power”, we all know: those drunk jerks speak for far too many. We don’t really have the “upper hand” just yet, dipwads, but we’re working on it. Like F 9/11, I’ve got some problems with the movie. But any movie that exposes the dark racist and homophobic underbelly of America and gets people talking about it is ok with me. Also, it’s really funny. And just in case you’re not sure of Cohen’s intentions, know that he has a long history as an civil rights activist (Props: Racialicious). His dissertation at Cambridge, “A Case of Mistaking Identities – the Jewish Black Alliance” focused in part on the 1964 murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner in Mississippi. (Photo: Sepia Mutiny)

But who cares what I think! See it for yourself or tell me what you think in the comments. For what’s happening this week at the crossroads of race and politics, check out these quick links:

* Folks are still trying to figure out why Harold Ford Jr. came close to winning, lost and what it means. Check out Stoller vs Armstrong. Here’s a local perspective and a couple of black perspectives here and here:

While voters of color displayed immense political solidarity and sophistication on election day, there are still sobering numbers that call for reflection. In Tennessee, Harold Ford, Jr. ran a losing Senate campaign that was widely regarded to be the best of any Democratic Senate candidate this cycle. In garnering 48% of the total vote, Ford came close to capturing the needed number of white votes–thought to be in excess of 40%. But having fallen short, he needed a disproportionate black voter turnout to offset his opponent’s white margins. Ford took 95% of the black vote, but that vote only accounted for 13% of the electorate in a state where blacks constitute roughly 16% of the population. (Source: BlackProf)

* Tim Tagaris travels to New Orleans to cover the run-off for LA-02 between Dollar Bill Jefferson and Karen Carter. Good window into the post-Katrina political landscape.

* Republicans baffled the nation and notably, other Republicans, with their choice of racist Trent “Dixiecrat” Lott for Minority Whip. Wow, they really want to keep losing.

* In a desperate and likely to be futile attempt to broaden their appeal, the G.O.P. named Sen. Mel Martinez over Michael Steele for Chief Brown Front Man, ahem, RNC Chairman to go head to head with Howard “50 State Strategy” Dean. Hmm, good luck with that.

* UCLA cops over-exercise their authority taser-torturing a “macaca” Mostafa Tabatabainejad in front of dozens of other students in classic, garden variety, race-based police brutality. AmericaBlog has the story with truly disturbing video and African-American Opinion has a good news roundup. Sorry, and I say this with love for my white brothers and sisters, but it is very hard to imagine this happening to a white kid named say, Mark Taylor who left the dorm to study at the library and forgot his I.D. behind. But is that really an America we want to live in? I guess so, since there’s a new energy drink on the market called “GreenCard.”

* Houston police run over peacefully demonstrating janitors striking for healthcare and livable wages. With their horses. Stoller has photos/video. FireDogLake has background on the strike.

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