“I never really thought of myself as a threat to national security before…”
Add “racist” to the list of ugly labels that the Bush/Cheney ticket exemplifies. Why you ask? Well, read this story about Mamta Popat, a staff photographer for the Arizona Daily Star (and a friend of mine) that ran last Saturday in that paper.
I understand and accept that the Secret Service has some basic security requirements when approving access to the two highest positions in the government. But when they demand to know a person’s race, the Bush/Cheney administration took a huge leap back in history to the days when African Americans were hosed down, dogs set upon them, or worse, lynched. In this one instance I do hope history does not repeat itself.
The racial profiling of Mamta Popat has my blood boiling. I can see it now – the dress code at the Republican National Convention will be casual: white bed sheets and hooded hats. Burning crosses, optional. Harsh, you say? Fuck that. I am sick of the bullshit that’s been thrown at us since 2000. The Bush administration has been a sham from the get-go. I say to all who can legally vote in the US – take back YOUR government! Make it your own again. Your vote is your voice. Speak up! Fight for our civil liberties. Register to vote. Find out who your elected representative is and demand to know where she or he stands on issues that are important to you and your family. Write to them if you wish.
Voter apathy and nonchalance towards US domestic and international policy is getting us ALL screwed in the end. So, here is TIFFINBOX’s official endorsement of the Kerry/Edwards ticket in black and white (or really off-orange). We will expect great things of them and we do hope is on its way. The alternative is scary, very scary.
If you know an American, check this site out to help put the word out! If you are an American, on November 2nd get off your ass to vote! You have earned that right to express yourself.
Bush camp solicits race of Star staffer
By C.J. Karamargin
ARIZONA DAILY STAR
President Bush’s re-election campaign insisted on knowing the race of an Arizona Daily Star journalist assigned to photograph Vice President Dick Cheney.
The Star refused to provide the information.
Cheney is scheduled to appear at a rally this afternoon at the Pima County Fairgrounds.
A rally organizer for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign asked Teri Hayt, the Star’s managing editor, to disclose the journalist’s race on Friday. After Hayt refused, the organizer called back and said the journalist
probably would be allowed to photograph the vice president.
“It was such an outrageous request, I was personally insulted,” Hayt said later.
Danny Diaz, a spokesman for the president’s re-election campaign, said the information was needed for security purposes.
“All the information requested of staff, volunteers and participants for the event has been done so to ensure the safety of all those involved, including the vice president of the United States,” he said.
Diaz repeated that answer when asked if it is the practice of the White House to ask for racial information or if the photographer, Mamta Popat, was singled out because of her name. He referred those questions to the U.S. Secret Service, which did not respond to a call from the Star Friday afternoon.
Hayt declined to speculate on whether Popat was racially profiled, but said she is deeply concerned.
“One has to wonder what they were going to do with that information,” Hayt said. “Because she has Indian ancestry, were they going to deny her access? I don’t know.”
Journalists covering the president or vice president must undergo a background check and are required to provide their name, date of birth and Social Security number. The Star provided that information Thursday for Popat and this reporter.
“That’s all anybody has been asked to provide,” said Hayt, adding that this is the first time in her 26-year career that a journalist’s race was made an issue.
Organizer Christine Walton asked for Popat’s race in telephone conversations with two other Star editors before she spoke to Hayt. They also refused to provide the information. Walton told Hayt that Popat’s race was necessary to allow the Secret Service to distinguish her from someone else who might have the same name.
“It was a very lame excuse,” Hayt said.
Popat, a photographer with six years’ experience, was on assignment Friday and unaware of the controversy. But she said she was glad the Star refused. “My race shouldn’t have anything to do with my job,” she said.
Tickets are required for the public to attend the rally, which begins at 12:50 p.m. All tickets were distributed by Friday.
Reporter C.J. Karamargin: 573-4243.