Vol. 3    No. 20
October 2, 2008
Health Matters
African American Health Network gears up to
fight disparities
 One of the many hats that I wear at The Capital City Hues is paper distribution person. Along with Ty Glenn and
Heidi Pascual, I distribute the paper to over 200 stops in the greater Madison area once the paper is printed. I
jokingly refer to it as our ‘employee assistance program’ because it is one sure way that I get a lot of exercise every
two weeks. It is also a good opportunity to see what is going on in the field. Inevitably, I will stop and talk to people
along the way. The most rewarding thing is when a complete stranger stops me and tells me how much they enjoy
the paper.
  One of the most depressing moments are those Rodney Dangerfield “I don’t get respect” moments. The free
newspaper business can be pretty competitive. It seems as if there are a million of us out there trying to put our
publications of all shapes and sizes out there in the best possible spot in a limited space to attract attention so that
readers will pick us up. Almost all of us depend upon paid advertising to make our papers go and our rates are
determined by how many people pick up our publications as well as by who picks up our publications.
  In as many spots as possible, I have placed yellow HUES racks to place our publication. Most of the time,
occupies the lower half of the rack. However, even though it is our rack, it seems that there are some
publications out there who don’t maintain their own racks who feel it is their privilege to place their papers on top
of our papers in our racks. I usually recycle theirs when I come across this. They probably think their circulation
has picked up in the area.
  And then there was the case of a local, formerly daily newspaper that began publishing twice a week and went
from a paid paper to a free paper. While they used to have their own coin boxes separate from the newspapers,
when they went free, they joined the crowd. And I guess they felt they were entitled to all of the best spaces in the
areas allotted to the free newspapers because all of a sudden I found my racks moved to an obscure area while
this newly free newspaper took the place of our rack. Since they were once a large daily newspaper, I guess they
felt entitled to have their racks next to Isthmus and The Onion and the rest of us were insignificant and of no
consequence. Well, I kept placing our racks back in our old spots until this newspaper got the hint and began to
wait its turn like everyone else.
  I can deal with these headaches in the newspaper distribution business. But I have a hard time dealing with
what I have come to believe are the institutional racism barriers to small publications of color like The Capital City
Hues that seem to keep us in our place as “second class citizens” in the publishing world. There are four instances
that come readily to mind. The first is when a coffee shop off the square opened its doors and we were one of the
first newspapers to place our racks there. I received permission and all of that to place it there. We were moving
about 10 papers there each issue. Well about a year ago, the manager called me up and asked me to remove my
rack because they were rearranging things. I dutifully moved my rack. But as time went on, I noticed that we were
the only ones who were asked to move. Everyone else is still there.
  Now maybe they didn’t like our content. At the VA Hospital, we have had somewhat of a difficult time getting
equal treatment with Isthmus and other publications. When one of our representatives was passing out papers there
and wanted to place a rack there, the person in charge asked if our paper was controversial. Now why would he ask
that? I would say that Isthmus and The Onion take more controversial stands than we do. It’s not like we ever get
personal with anyone. But I can’t help but feel that this man asked that question because we are a publication of
color that features people of color on our cover. In the eyes of some Euro-Americans — and they are usually in
places of authority — publications of color will always be controversial. “Hey Joe, what you have THAT
publication in here for?” I’m still waiting on this manager to return my e-mail messages.
  And then there is the case of a national chain bookstore. I went out and got permission from a manager to place
our rack next to Isthmus and The Onion near the main entrance. Well, a day later, I got a call from another
manager who told me that our rack was being moved to the rear of the store near the bathrooms. It seems that only
the highest circulated newspapers were placed out front and we would have to “go to the back.” They didn’t say
“highest circulated White newspapers,” but they could have because that was the impact of that decision. They
didn’t say “highest circulated publication of color” could go there. If this judgment is consistently used — and it is
used in other places — then it will always relegate publications of color to second-class status.
  And finally, there is the case of a bookstore near campus where free publications would place their publications
on top of the book lockers near the entrance to the store. I would place about 50 copies of the paper and they
always seemed to disappear by the time the next issue came out. Well the last time I went, there were signs on the
wall in the back of the free newspaper allotting space to Isthmus, The Onion, the campus newspapers and maybe
one or two others. There wasn’t any space allotted for The Capital City Hues or any other publication of color. No
one told me of any process to go through. I don’t know if these spots are paid or if the management just decided
that these were the publications that were important for UW-Madison students.  Maybe they had just been throwing
my papers out for the past three years. I found out that an assistant manager was in charge of the decision. I am
still waiting for him to return my phone call.
  It seems counterproductive that the major bookstore on campus would devise a policy that would keep people of
color invisible on this campus. Institutional racism can happen anywhere. The UW administration is trying to
create a more conducive environment for students of color on campus and to stop them from being treated as if
they are invisible. This decision makes it clear to me just how much students of color can be treated as if they
weren’t there. The UW-Madison and its surrounding environment have a long ways to go.
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                      DIS(tribution) Blues

Stories & Columns

2008 Wisconsin Book Festival: A
spectrum of literacy,
by Jonathan Gramling

2008 Diversity Forum: A new day
for diversity,
by Jonathan Gramling

Green Party Candidate Cynthia
McKinney: The other Black
Candidate (Part 2),
by Jonathan Gramling

The $700 Billion Bailout: Steady as
she sinks for the McCain
by Paul Barrows

Asian Wisconzine/Madison Stars
Basketball Club: Teaching girls
teamwork and active lifestyle,
by Heidi M. Pascual

Simple Things/ Autumn: the
ambivalent season,
by Lang Kenneth Haynes

Politicas de hoy/ Cinco razones
para votar por Barack Obama,
by Alfonso Zepeda Capistran

Nasra Wehelie: Leading a
"sisterhood" of African women,
by Laura Salinger

Like it t.i. IS/Black Women Studies,
by Martinez White

The Democratic National
Convention/Witnesses to a
historical moment (3),
by Jonathan Gramling

China Dispatch/Foreigners in
China at night: Too much to drink,
by Andrew Gramling

WAAODA 8th Annual Rally for
by Jonathan Gramling

2008 Community Shares of
Wisconsin Annual awards,
by Jonathan Gramling

No Amnesty=$700B bailout,
by Robert Miranda

22nd Annual MSCR Awards
by Jonathan Gramling

WWOCN 2008 Annual Employment
& Training Conference: Shining
by Jonathan Gramling

Editorial Staff
Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Heidi Manabat
Managing Editor

Clarita G. Mendoza
Sales Manager

Contributing Writers
Paul Barrows
Fabu Carter-Brisco
Andrew Gramling
Lang Kenneth Haynes
Heidi M. Pascual
Laura Salinger
Alfonso Zepeda Capistran
Martinez White

©2008 The Capital City Hues