News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


KUZMINSKI: On Playing The Race Card

Column by Adrian Kuzminski for July 27, 2018

On Playing The Race Card

Adrian Kuzminski

There was a time not so long ago when the ideal on racial issues was to be color-blind, presuming the equality of all.
When that proved not to effectively
address the underlying problem of racism, affirmative action became the order of the day. It played an important role in bringing minorities, especially blacks, out of the ghettos and into prominence in the professions, the media and middle-class life.
But, at the same time, life for most blacks in the inner cities continued to deteriorate in a downward spiral marked by increasing crime, police repression,
drugs and desperation.
This is the world which gave us rap and hip hop.
Antonio Delgado’s early hip-hop recording, “Painfully Free,” has come to dominate the opening stages of the race for the 19th Congressional District.
According to the New York Times, the lyrics of his CD, made in Los Angeles when he was 28, “include frequent use of a racial epithet common among black rappers, and criticize some of the founders as ‘dead presidents’ who ‘believe in white supremacy.’”
His opponent, Congressman Faso, was quick to jump on the issue, claiming, according to the Times, that Delgado’s lyrics are “inconsistent with the
views of the people of the 19th District and America.”
Delgado shot back at once, saying of Faso, according to the Times: “In his dated mind-set, he thinks it’s accurate to suggest that if you’re black or if you’re of a certain race, you can’t be of this community.”
In an earlier interview with his alma mater, Colgate University, reported by Hybrid Magazine, he discussed his CD, saying, “Hip Hop is misunderstood.” “Hip hop is a philosophy to live by … Hip hop is its purest form conveys the plight of the underprivileged.”

The Freeman’s Journal – Antonio Delgado confers with Adrian Kuzminski at last week’s candidates’ forum in Cooperstown, hosted by Sustainable Otsego.

Delgado, a product of a middle-class upbringing in Schenectady, and of Colgate, Harvard Law and Oxford University, hardly grew up a desperate ghetto kid. But
he did give voice to the plight of the underprivileged, as he says, and used their idiom to do so.
The world of inner city ghettos represents a festering wound in America, and its unsettling, provocative language is an unpleasant reminder to the rest of us of a major failure of our society – something we still need to fix.
No matter how uncomfortable it makes us, we should respect not condemn hip hop for the challenge it poses.
The rappers are telling us that racism, far from being something we can ignore, has been built into our culture, and thereby into how we think.
Delgado is saying that we’re not color-blind, that we’re all racists on some level. This is meant not to condemn us, but to invite us to acknowledge a common problem, which is the first step to overcoming it – like an alcoholic admitting he or she’s an alcoholic.
Like an addict in denial, Faso pretends to be color-blind. But he betrays his own prejudices by cynically stooping to play the race card against Delgado.
I’m not a racist, he insists, but Delgado must be
because he has the audacity to remind us of the truth of our tragic history.
By insisting that Delgado’s lyrics are un-American, when they are in fact as American as apple pie, Faso only deepens the racial divide. To exploit racism for votes is despicable demagoguery.
Luckily, the voters will have a choice in November of either giving in to their racism, or beginning to
transcend it.

Adrian Kuzminski, retired Hartwick College philosophy professor and Sustainable Otsego moderator, resides in Fly Creek.

Young Handlers Gather, Tweak, Manicure Animals

Young Handlers Gather,

Tweak, Manicure Animals

Sophia Lesko, Cooperstown, isn’t just one of CCS’ top four scholars this year: She’s a junior livestock handler, with an entry in the 71st Junior Livestock Show; a new minutes ago, she had just finished giving her winter heifer a final haircut in preparation for competition that begins tomorrow at Iroquois Farm, on Route 33 south of Cooperstown.  Inset photo, Jessica Zuill, Davenport, with the help of her uncle, John Kostbar, Town of Maryland, makes it official by putting up the sign on her Southdown sheep Baked Beans’ pen.  An ice cream social, open to the public, begins at 7 this evening; another highpoint is the Parade of Champions at 3 p.m. Tuesday.  Monday, stop by and watch the judging.  (Jim Kevlin/

Youth Food Movement On Center Stage Today


Youth Food Movement

On Center Stage Today

Young Farmers, Restauraters Keynote

Annual Farmers’ Museum Ag Forum

The Leonard sisters, Dana, left, and Kristen, in top photo, co-founders of Origins Cafe on Beaver Meadow Road, Cooperstown, and local exponents of the Youth Food Movement, organized the keynote panel at today’s “Celebration of Our Agricultural Community,” The Farmers’ Museum annual “Conference on Food & Farming,” which continues throughout the day at the Louis C. Jones Center.  Free, and public welcome.  The movement’s goal, as Dana put it, is to explore “the moral implications of what we’re eating” – in nutrition, justice and the fate of the Earth.  More practically, she added, “do any of these moral implications matter if the food doesn’t taste good?”  The two-pronged message was reflected in presentations by organic farmer Jesse Pascale, Rock Hill Farm, Mohawk, Ian Robb of Turtle Tree Seeds, Copake, Cooperstown Farmers’ Market Manager Shannon Kirch and others.  Hannah Savio, an educator with WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms), told how one farmer explained why she got involved in the movement:  “It gives me hope.”  State Ag & Markets Commissioner Richard Ball, inset at left, who farms in the Schoharie Valley and runs the Carrot Barn near Middleburgh, began the morning with a “Report from Albany.”  He spoke about “Taste NY” stores, the closest on Exit 13 of the Thruway, on efforts to educate elementary students in growing vegetables, and – most current – the New York Grown & Certified program, which promotes family farms’ produce that is nutritious and is growing on conditions of good nutrient management.  (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com_

Posts navigation

21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103