AT&T Steals Candy From Babies, It’s Official!

Well, maybe not candy from babies, but they do steal Dataplan charges from 12 year olds. Here’s the story:

Earlier this year Lorna’s cell phone died–teenagers are hard on cell phones–and as she wasn’t due an upgrade, we switched her SIM card into Keba’s old iPhone 3. We made her SWEAR not to incur any data charges, as there was no plan on the phone, and Lorna being Lorna, she did exactly what she was told.

Today, I was nosing around on the AT&T website to check on everyone’s upgrade status. Ever since Lorna got her Dad’s iPhone, Becky has been mounting an unsubtle campaign for her own iPhone (for which, given my own love for my iPhone, I have some sympathy.) Becky’s phone also died pre-upgrade availability and so she has MY old regular cellphone, which is basically held together with duct tape. Keba’s concern was that she might not be as responsible about non-data usage as Lorna, and so he asked me to find if there was a way to limit or block data usage altogether.

The first thing I found out was that Lorna had used no data. The second was, that AT&T had nonetheless added a $30 p.m. Dataplan to the line, and charged us $52 to date for it. WTF, AT&T? The third thing I found was this:

“If AT&T determines that you are using an iPhone on your account without an eligible data plan, AT&T reserves the right to add an eligible data plan to your account and bill you the appropriate monthly fee.” WTF again, AT&T?

Soooo, I got hold of a nice young online chat representative named Shaun. Now, let me express at the outset my entire satisfaction with Shaun and his handling of the chat/my concerns. My problem is not with AT&T’s customer service, it’s with their (lack of) principles.

Once I had explained the situation to Shaun, we came to this exchange:

Shaun Poirier: Okay I have reviewed the account, and thee was a notice sent to the phone on 03/15/2012, when putting a sim card into a Iphone will generate a response in the system to add a data package.

Anna Evans: you sent a notice to my 13 year old daughter’s phone and expected it to reach the bill payer?

Anna Evans: I imagine she just ignored it as mystifying and irrelevant

Shaun Poirier: I am sorry but is sent to the phone that the sim card is inserted.

Anna Evans: okay but can you see my point of view here?

Shaun DID see my point, and after confirming that no data had actually been used on the phone, he generously agreed to credit back the $52. The data plan would have to stay from now on, though, if she kept the iPhone. Given that Becky may also soon have an iPhone, this was starting to look expensive, so I asked about limiting data:

Shaun Poirier: Give me one moment to give you a new balance, and I am sorry there is no way to limit the data, you can go to *3282# from the phone. and there is no family data plan.

Anna Evans: so it’s $30 p.m. minimum if my other daughter (14 and the only one now iPhone less) gets an iPhone with her upgrade?

Shaun Poirier: No the minimum is 20.00 for 300MB.

Shaun Poirier: Okay the credit has been issued.

Anna Evans: if that’s the minimum why don’t AT&T put that on when they do it without consent? why do they pick the higher one?

Shaun didn’t have an answer for that. Anyway, I went to have a look at the family’s existing data plans, to get a feel for whether 300 MB would be sufficient for a data-empowered teen, which led me to THIS revelation:

Shaun Poirier: Okay all is done was there anything else?

Anna Evans: hey, how come I get 2 GB for $25 and my choice for her is $30 for 3GB or $20 for 300 MB?

Anna Evans: oh and my husband is grandfathered in to unlimited for $30 LOL! You can see where this one is going!

Shaun Poirier: The 2GB is no longer available, your feature is grandfatherd

Sooooo, we’re talking about a situation where AT&T charge more and more, on a monthly basis, for less and less data. We’re talking about a situation where AT&T make it impossible for you to use an iPhone (with all its teen-magnet features) without a $20 p.m. charge minimum per phone, DESPITE the fact that Apple make it possible for you to switch off data connectivity on the phone. We’re talking about a situation where AT&T can impose new monthly charges without the billpayer’s knowledge or consent. Which means we’re talking about corporate theft, basically.

Stealing. Candy. Babies. Just saying.

Project Update

I just finished the Norton Anthology of African American Literature. It’s been a journey (4 weeks!) and I feel both saddened and enriched. I am saddened because there are still no easy answers to the impossible question of what white people should do, and how should we behave, in the presence of the enormity of our past. I still believe that reading across a broad cultural basis can only help, all the time dreading, nevertheless, that people of both ethnicities view me as unnatural, smug and self-righteous for following this path. (Stand up: the two white women who, upon seeing the NAofAAL on my kitchen table asked me WHY I was reading it.)

I have always personally sought understanding through literature in a way that may not necessarily work for everyone. There are other ways to engage, but engage we (white people) must. Nothing has been solved. Loudly proclaiming you “don’t see color” is only an option if you are white, and anyway, it probably isn’t true–you would just like it to be. It’s easier than dealing with the swirling tides of contradictory feelings that actually arise when, for example, a young black man dressed in the youth fashion–long white tee shirt, baggy jeans at the hips, baseball cap–approaches you on a dark street in Philadelphia late at night.

Enough of this. Onward and upward. Next stop: Southern Road by Sterling Brown.

Also some good news: Salamander have taken my poem “Worker” for a future issue.

“Your Dreams Don’t Have to Come at the Expense of My Dreams”–Barack Obama

Today one of the most forward thinking Americans ever to run for President delivered a rousing speech admitting that racism, anger and resentment exist in both black and white communities, and encouraging Americans to unite in order to transcend the tragedy of the past and tackle the more important issues relevant to all.

This seems like a good moment to review my progress on the Norton Anthology of African American Literature, a volume which is indeed weighty enough to hold open a symbolically solid door.

The first section of the book, interestingly, covers the vernacular tradition, which includes Spirituals, Gospel, The Blues, Jazz, R&B and Hip Hop, before moving on to some important prose speeches, including the one to which Obama’s speech will no doubt be compared: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream.”

Also unmissable in this section: Billie Holiday singing “Strange Fruit”, and for sheer 80s nostalgia: Grand Master Flash’s video of “The Message.”

Thus the anthology offers a fairly easy route in (for the white writer) before slamming down a heavy load of hard truths in the second section: The Literature of Slavery & Freedom, 1746-1865. Maybe it’s because I’m not American, but there are some facts I could not have told you that should not be glossed over. Did you, O white reader, know, for example, that 1 in 8 Africans died at sea during the dreaded “Middle Passage?” Or that in 1787 at the Philadelphia Convention, a slave was decreed to be three fifths a man? Or that, following the Turner Rebellion it was forbidden to teach slaves to read & write?

Given these facts, it is all the more incredible that Phillis Wheatley was able to publish in 1773 the first ever book of poems by an African American. I refer you to this excellent essay by June Jordan for more information on Ms. Wheatley.

From the very beginning, civil rights and women’s rights were inextricably intertwined. Former slave Sojourner Truth dealt male chauvinism a major blow at a Women’s Rights Convention in 1851, when she countered the argument that women were weak and needed to be protected by pointing out that she had done a slave’s work alongside male slaves all her life and wasn’t she a woman?

Also in this section is a peculiarly American genre of literature known as the “slave narrative,” an important tool in the hands of abolitionists at home and abroad, indispensable for ridiculing claims that the African intellect was in any way inferior. Everyone should read at least one of these highly literate accounts of horrifying lives in slavery (and eventually, freedom won): Venture Smith, Olaudah Equiano, Harriet Jacobs, William Wells Brown, Elizabeth Keckley, and of course, Frederick Douglass.

It all provides a perspective on just how deep the racial wounds of this country go, wounds that America normally keeps covered with a bandage of shame. Today, Obama bravely peeled away the bandage and showed us the ulcer, not to evoke the unreasoning emotions of sympathy and guilt, but in the hope that the fresh air might finally help it heal.

“Let us find that common stake we all have in one another,” he said, “and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.”

Black Ink

Yesterday Rachel, Donna and I went into Philly for a poetry event at Robin’s Book Store, the oldest independent book store in Philadelphia. The event was billed as “Black Ink: Celebrating Writers of the African Diaspora,” and featured novelist John Edgar Wideman, alongside poets Afaa Michael Weaver and my friend Major Jackson.

We were among only a small handful of white people there, although the event was well attended, and I saw several African American poets I’ve seen before at Philadelphia poetry readings. There were only a couple of white men in attendance, including Aeron Petty, a former QND poets reader, and of course Larry, who runs Robin’s.

Consequently the event had a slightly different dynamic from poetry events I’ve attended in the past, even those featuring African American poets, as for example when Rachel and I saw Yusef Komunyakaa read to a predominantly white audience at Bryn Mawr.

The difference is hard to define, and those of us who believe naively that racial prejudice has been cured and all we need henceforth is color-blindness, would probably suggest I imagined it. I don’t think so. To return to a discussion Major and I had recently about “masking” in the interactions of African Americans and whites, I think there was quite a lot less masking going on. The atmosphere was (and I have been struggling to find the right words to describe it) unapologetically self-referential (which is probably exactly how white literary gatherings appear to ethnic minorities, but of course I don’t notice that.)

So, for example, when John Wideman (an author I must read if his books are anything like as penetrating as his gaze) was speaking in his opening words about the need for black writers to embrace the freedom of language, the elderly African American in front of me said, in a loud enough voice to be heard by the front half of the audience “Slavery is always with us.” Later, commenting on a bad review he had received for his latest novel, Fanon, Wideman compared the tone of the review to that of a slaveowner calling a grown male African American slave “boy.” Afaa Weaver, meanwhile, bemoaned the fact that his readership was not as “black” as he had imagined it would be. Given that Weaver’s poems, or at least the selection he read yesterday, are nowhere near as racially centered as those of say, Thomas Sayers Ellis, it doesn’t surprise me that he appeals to white readers. I am always encouraging white writers to read black writers, as one way of educating themselves about (and thus being less intimidated by) African American culture, so personally I see this as a GOOD thing for literature in America as a whole.

But I didn’t always get the impression that all the participants in yesterday’s event agreed with such cross cultural fertilization. For example Maurice Henderson, who hosted the reading, apologized at one point just before he promoted a white writer’s work. There was an Open Mic after the main readers and discussion panel, but you had to be a writer of the African Diaspora to be invited to participate. (Imagine the outrage today if a predominantly white literary gathering put a racial filter on the Open Mic sign up sheet…)

African Americans have long been treated unfairly by the white literary establishment, which is why the work done by organizations like Cave Canem and the Dark Room Collective have been vital in creating safe havens for African American artists and writers so that their work can emerge to inspire new generations to pick up the pen. I just wish that I could claim we were now reaching a stage where the solid boundaries which American writers use to define themselves and their work were beginning to become permeable. But I can’t, and yesterday reinforced this.

I would suggest to any white American writer reading this, that you make a point of attending an event like yesterday’s and putting yourself in the minority. You will feel a little awkward, which may help you empathize when the proportions are reversed. You may also feel a little sad. We still have a long way to go. Slavery is, indeed, always with us.

Ignorance

Yesterday I was waiting at Gymnastics for Becky’s training to finish when I overheard two women talking. They were unremarkable women, one younger than me, one in late middle-age. They didn’t look particularly affluent, but I assume they were comfortably off, or the cost of recreational gymnastics would be prohibitive.

“Hussein,” said the older woman. “Hussein Obama. What kind of a name is that to put in the White House?”
“Barack Hussein Obama,” added the younger woman, shaking her head.

I don’t usually butt into people’s conversations, but this one really irritated me. “Why does it matter what his name is?” I asked, as pleasantly as I could manage. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, after all.”

“But Hussein!” repeated the older woman. “It’s like that teddy bear called Muhammad thing, isn’t it? I’ve heard he doesn’t even stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.”

It wasn’t worth creating a commotion there when I can make more impact here. Listen up, Middle America. Hussein is a diminutive of the Arabic name Hassan, meaning ‘good’ or ‘handsome.’ It is a common male name among Muslims, and Obama’s father was, of course, Muslim. It’s the Arabic equivalent of “John.” The only Arab guy on my Chemical Engineering course at Imperial College, London twenty years ago, was called Hassan.

Last November British schoolteacher Gillian Gibbons was arrested in Sudan for allowing her class of six and seven year olds to name a teddy bear Muhammad. An over reaction to an innocent, if somewhat naive, mistake. However, Muhammad IS the pillar of the Muslim faith and laws do exist forbidding the making of an image of Muhammad. This also happened at a sensitive time, following the distribution of cartoons depicting Muhammad in European newspapers. Ironically enough, the second choice name for the bear was Hussein.

There is an anonymous email going around which accuses Obama of failing to stand for the pledge of allegiance. The origin of this email is a photo taken at a democratic steak fry during the early months of the campaign, which depicts Obama standing, but without his hand on his heart, during the playing of the National anthem. The US Code confirms that hand on heart during the anthem is de rigeur at Patriotic and National observances. Is a steak fry a Patriotic or a National observance, I wonder?

There is something rather distasteful about anonymous attacks by email, especially when those attacks get their facts so utterly wrong, but what truly disturbs me is the way these ignorant women had embraced the story and were spreading it as gospel truth, along with all the other anti-Obama propaganda surrounding his name and religion.

I have friends who live in much more liberal/ progressive areas of this country than I do. They look at the polls and the tv footage of Obama and his supporters celebrating the recent campaign victories, and they tell me the White House is as good as his. Here in Republican suburbia, surrounded by the stupid, the prejudiced and the ill-informed, I see different.

If we want Obama in the White House (and I’m beginning to think that Democrats do) we MUST avoid complacency. There are too many people around who are prepared to believe any sleazy lie the Right can get into circulation. Fight ignorance with truth.

Barack Obama is a patriot and a Christian. Hussein is just his middle name.

Words, and We Who Purvey Them

Today I read another brave and thought provoking post by Major Jackson on the Harriet blog of the Poetry Foundation. I call it brave because, in the interest of uncovering real truths we can use to address America’s current racial dysfunctionality, it makes comments which could be construed as negative against two iconic poets of the twentieth century: one white male, Wallace Stevens, and one African American female, Gwendolyn Brooks (who, by the way, has a very cool headstone.)

In a nutshell the story is this: Stevens, on seeing a photo of a professional event in which Brooks appeared, said “Who’s the coon?”, a remark that should not be defended and was considered inappropriate even back in that racist era. However, Brooks later propagated that story but made a subtle change–in her version the offending remark was “Who let the nigger in?”

Perhaps this was a simple mistake. After all, Brooks wasn’t present when Stevens made his remark. The theory is she read it in Joan Richardson’s biography. Yet, although I adore Brooks’ verse and find much of Stevens’s obtuse, I can’t help suspecting my heroine of doing something we all have a tendency to do, regardless of race, which is exploiting victimology.

To take it away from the most inflammatory division in this country, and towards one of which I can speak with more knowledge and much more ease, let’s consider how *I* exploit my own victimology. As a woman and a stay at home mother I do sometimes feel marginalized by a society which occasionally appears only to value women who remain in the workforce. For example, rejected by a prestigious artists’ colony, there was a kernel of thought at the back of my mind which not only blamed that rejection on my gender/life choice, but also blamed other minority groups for having better i.e. more glamorous, victimology than myself, and thereby garnering any preferential treatment that was on offer to balance out the usual predominance of white males.

It’s so very tempting to view oneself as a victim, isn’t it?

Here’s another example, demonstrating how early in our lives we allow ourselves to be subsumed by prevailing hierarchical norms. A well-brought up girl in my daughter’s fifth grade class was recently involved in an incident with her desk partner, who accidentally swiped her cheek with a pencil. As ten year olds will do, the first girl turned angrily to the second and said “Hey, are you blind?” The second (African American) girl promptly burst into tears and accused the first girl of having said “Are you black?”, a remark which makes no sense in the context. Nevertheless, the first girl was sent to the principal and severely admonished.

Frankly, it’s simpler to avoid any such discussions as these, because in hyper-sensitive twenty-first century America, it is so easy to lay oneself open to accusations of racism. Perhaps that’s also why, to respond to Major’s earlier APR essay on Race in Poetry, white poets typically avoid the subject.

I don’t have any epiphanic conclusions to draw, unfortunately. But I want to leave this blog entry with a conjoined, and potentially contradictory thought. While it behooves all of us to be vigilant in the words and phrases we use, especially when referring to minority groups, so as to minimize any possibility of offense, we also have a responsibility, when we listen to comments made about minority groups, not only to report them absolutely accurately, but also not to assume automatically that whatever is said is being directed against those minority groups because of their minority status.

And if that is over convoluted, it is because I was trying to make a point without offending anyone, which is of course an impossible task.

The End of America?

I have just finished reading Naomi Wolf’s The End of America, Letter of Warning to Young Patriot, and it makes frightening sense. In the opening chapter she states that “there are ten steps that are taken in order to close down a democracy…Impossible as it may seem, we are seeing each of these ten steps taking hold in the United States today.”

I urge you to buy, and read the book. To pique your interest, I’ll do no more than list the ten steps and invite you to put your own mental check mark against the steps that you have seen evidence of in the land of the brave and the home of the free, under George Bush’s Republican Party.

  1. Invoke an External and Internal Threat
  2. Establish Secret Prisons
  3. Develop a Paramilitary Force
  4. Surveil Ordinary Citizens
  5. Infiltrate Citizens’ Groups
  6. Arbitrarily Detain and Release Citizens
  7. Target Key Individuals
  8. Restrict the Press
  9. Cast Criticism as ‘Espionage” and Dissent as “Treason”
  10. Subvert the Rule of Law

I’m not a citizen, but I love this country–as it was meant to be, not as I fear it is quietly becoming.

Ignorance Is No Excuse

I just read RB’s excellent blog entry on anger and prejudice, and I wanted to add something of my own recent experience.

My mother-in-law is staying here at the moment. Now, she is a woman of many virtues and has not exactly led a life of privilege–she left school at 14 to work in the cotton mills. She is also one of the most prejudiced people I know, although I imagine she never means to be. She has a genius for saying offensive things unthinkingly–she calls Rachel and her girlfriend Donna “that way.” (You really have to hear it in the Yorkshire accent to get the full effect.) Earlier this week, when we were driving through Burlington she said “Ah say, Anna, this must be where the colored people live. I’ve seen no white people here.” I was silent for a few moments. Was this the time to remonstrate with her about using that particular word? Should I attempt to reform her world view (she’s 76)? In the end I settled for saying mildly that one of my good poet friends lived just up the street from where we were.

But I’m used to Mary’s verbal diarrhoea. She’s old and tactless. She has the capacity to offend everyone. What I didn’t know until yesterday is that she actually practices what she preaches.

Keba and I went out for the evening last night leaving her babysitting (See, I told you she had virtues.) I don’t know quite how we got onto the subject, but it turns out that Mary vets the clientele of the motel she owns in Barnsley, South Yorkshire on racial grounds. To be specific, a large number of Kosovan refugees have been resettled in Barnsley by the UK government, and Mary refuses to let them stay in the motel. Whenever she’s asked she says all the rooms are full.

Oh I remember now how we got onto the subject: I was telling Keba about the woman at the fancy neighborhood party who refused to help a Hispanic client process his insurance claim because he didn’t speak English. It made me feel a little sick.

And sick is how I felt knowing that my own mother-in-law doesn’t just condone bigotry, but practises it. Not that there’s a sign in the window of the Keel Inn that says “No Kosovans” but that’s the effect. And whenever there are signs, whether they say No Irish, No Jews, No Hispanics or No Whatevers, there’s likely to be worse happening somewhere underground.

“She’s old; she’s uneducated” is how Keba defended his mother. “She’s never met people from other countries or ethnic origins.” It’s true. Barnsley must be one of the least racially diverse places in the world.

But it isn’t an excuse. Ignorance never is.

Recognizing the Imus in Us, and How to Let Him Go

If anything good can be said to have come from the Don Imus affair, it has at least forced America to own up to the sad fact that racial prejudice still runs rife through the fabric of our society. Much like the case of Civil Unions in New Jersey recently blogged by my friend RB, the legislation may have changed, but the attitudes are running, in the case of ethnicity, maybe about thirty years behind. It is still harder, to give you a very simple example, to hail a taxi cab in New York City if you are a young black male.

One problem is, for me at least, that if I force myself to confront the root causes of racial prejudice, namely the barbaric treatment of Africans by our white American forebears, then I become wracked with a colossal sense of Kollektivschuld. My mind immediately flees the problem for something more manageable: if I can demonstrate my liberality by supporting measures to oppose global warming or end the Iraq War, doesn’t that excuse me from thinking about race?

The corollary to this is of course the insurmountable hugeness of the issue. I’m a housewife, living in a predominantly white neighborhood in New Jersey. I feel helpless in the face of a problem that America has lived with now for hundreds of years. If I, personally, can’t do anything about it, why can’t I just ignore it and hope it goes away?

Ignoring it is also the safest option, after all. As soon as a white person approaches the subject of race, there are a thousand pitfalls to be negotiated. Isn’t it better to say nothing rather than attempt to say something, do so clumsily, and risk causing offence?

I think the Imus case has shown us all that we can’t afford to ignore something that continues to rot America from inside out. So, I’ve done some thinking, and I have come up with a list of things we can all do, ourselves, to help combat prejudice. (Please note: as I am white, this list is drawn up from that perspective.)

  1. Do not pretend that racism no longer exists. Every time you get on a train and make a conscious decision to sit near the group with the greatest number of people that look like you, you are practising a very minor form of racism. It may be minor, but it is not harmless.
  2. Where possible, do ACT like it doesn’t exist. Try and imagine you have color blinders on and treat people like people regardless of their ethnicity or any other signifiers. It may help to analyse the choices you make naturally for a few days before you do this. Why do you talk to the white suburban mom type in the checkout line, but ignore the black teenager? Who do you ask for directions if you are lost? Where do you sit in the bus/train/subway/movie theater and what influences your decision?
  3. Do not condone any form of racism. If an acquaintance tells a racist joke or perpetuates an ethnic stereotype, and you do not tell him or her politely that you find it inappropriate, then you are colluding in the racism.
  4. Do cultivate an interest in culture outside your own ethnic group. Ignorance generates fear which generates prejudice, so combat ignorance by reading. I recommend the poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks, Yusef Komunyakaa, Rita Dove, Thomas Sayers Ellis and Major Jackson. I thoroughly enjoy the fiction of Pearl Cleage. I currently also have Toi Derricotte’s Memoir The Black Notebooks on order. 
  5. Speaking of Toi Derricotte, okay, this is a tricky one: let your naivete go. What do I mean by that? I mean that the idealistic view is that eventually, thanks to intermarriage etc., ethnic signifiers and thus boundaries will magically dissolve. The story of Toi Derricotte (a black woman who physically resembles a tanned, white brunette) demonstrates that they won’t. The truth is, if you are a member of the privileged ethnic group (which is still white Anglo-Saxon, sorry) and you marry into a minority group, the chances are your offspring will identify with the minority group: there’s simply more cohesiveness there. This is invariably true if they resemble the group, but also true if they don’t: ask yourself how many blue eyed and/or blond Italian Americans you know? It is not a bad thing to have an ethnic heritage and/or identity–I’m proud to be a British woman, after all. So stop thinking of that as the problem.
  6. Talk about race with your children and encourage them to have friends of color. I would say try and make your own friendships with people from different ethnicities but I appreciate this is harder and the risk is it will seem forced, particularly since you may encounter resistance or confusion from the other side also. So begin with the children–if we bring them up right, maybe their generation will have gone at least a few more steps in the right direction.
  7. Don’t make race a taboo subject, either within gatherings of your own ethnic group or when you are in mixed company. Try and see things from the other point of view.
  8. Write poems about race. Okay, this one only works if you are a poet. If you aren’t then blog about race.
  9. Be brave: assume that you will be forgiven if, in trying to do something positive about the problem, you unwittingly embarrass yourself or fear you have offended. Simply apologize and keep trying.
  10. Forgive yourself. You did not begin the slave trade or own a Cotton Plantation, so try not to project guilt onto the people of color you meet today. If you do everything you can to combat racial prejudice wherever you meet it you should not reproach yourself personally for what happened hundreds of years ago, even if your own ancestors were indeed responsible. The less baggage we can all bring to the table, the better.

If anyone finds any part of this blog entry unintentionally offensive or just downright wrong, please talk to me. I truly believe words are the way through this.

Although not, of course, the ones Imus used.

Attention Please America!

Last night Major Jackson, a poet I am fortunate to call a friend, was up for an NAACP Image award in Poetry. (The book in question, Hoops, is brilliant. Read it! No excuses.)

The event was televised for the first time ever on Fox, so once I had returned from an earlier commitment at the school, I tuned in. Of course Major had warned me the Literary Awards were unlikely to be filmed. No surprises there. I’m sure that the Poetry award has about the same status as the Best Credit Sequence in a Short Animated Documentary does at the Oscars. However, it was good to pick up the ambience of the event and see the glamorous people collect their awards. I hoped they might do a little summary of the minor awards at some point but no dice. I was impressed that Bono got the Chairman’s Award, although a little miffed that more coverage was given to Prince reading a poem about the environment than was given to the actual Poetry award, but no matter.

Here’s the thing though. As soon as the program was over I came online to try and find out who had won the Poetry Award, and there was NOTHING. Actually, last night there was nothing at all online to show that the NAACP Awards had even occurred–no headline news, no link from Fox or even from the NAACP website itself.

I felt sure I’d have more luck this morning, and indeed, there is now a news article available online. Notice I said ‘a’ news article. In fact, it would appear there is only one, although it has been widely syndicated. It’s a broadsweep piece, which means naturally no mention of the Poetry award. I hoped perhaps a short summary might have made it into the late edition of the Saturday New York Times, but I hoped wrong.

I finally got an email from Major himself this morning, telling me how fantastic the event was, but that Maya Angelou won.

Now listen up, America. I’m not into the Oscars much, but I do know that you couldn’t possibly have gone online late last Sunday night/Monday morning and NOT found a myriad of articles containing everything you needed to know. I’m sure that hundreds of eager Entertainment bloggers were poised at their keyboards typing in the winners even while they were still making their tearful acceptance speeches. I’m almost positive that the Monday papers contained a full listing of winners AND photos thereof.

So, don’t you think you ought to have paid a little more attention to what went on in Los Angeles last night? I don’t know. Anyone would think this was about race, or something…