Juan Gonzalez, February 2013
It took eight years for producers to make the film based on Juan Gonzalez's 2001 book Harvest of Empire: The Untold Story of Latinos in America. The resulting documentary, released in late 2012 in conjunction with the release of a new edition of the book, is compelling. PCIM was fortunate to be among the first to screen Harvest of Empire, which we did to a full house in February 2013. The film illuminates the role that U.S. economic -- and military -- policies have played in inciting the huge emigration from Latin America northward that continues to rapidly transform our nation culturally and in every other way.
Two weeks after the film aired, we were honored to welcome Juan Gonzalez himself to campus, to speak on the subject of his most recent book (written with Joseph Torres), "News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race in U.S. Media." Gonzalez graciously gave five media interviews during his visit (links to some below), covering the subjects of both books.
At a special invitation-only session and in the public lecture that followed, Gonzalez covered subjects ranging from Caribbean, Central American, and Mexican history to how newspapers actually instigated racial violence (including lynchings). He discussed not only commercial media but also the alternative, or dissident, press, and what he calls the "press of people of color."
He pointed out the many ways the standard U.S. media narrative has excluded Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans. His book, and his talk, help to fill in the gaps and connect the dots, offering a living history rich with real stories.
Mainstream media is full of soundbites, no substance. If we want to democratize U.S. media in the 21st century, Gonzalez urged, communities all around the country must pressure political leaders to protect and strengthen Internet neutrality, public access cable stations, and public interest programming. Without these, and with rampant media consolidation, he said, "democracy is dead." He also pointed out that because people are bombarded with so much information -- "much of it garbage" -- daily, they need reliable, independent navigation systems to access news they need. Community radio and TV and other media outlets are critical to ensuring a more democratic media.
See event photos.
Video interview with Democratic Socialists of America; interview by Patricia Rodriguez, produced by Theresa Alt.
Radio interview with Allison Kitchner on Mission: Radio, WRFI, Community Radio for Ithaca & Watkins Glen.
Interview with Ithaca College radio WICB's Ithaca Now on immigration.
Ithacan story on immigration that mentioned Gonzalez's visit.