I was a teenage racist
Expanded from the 1-12-1990 and 1-15-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune
This column also appeared in the 1-19-1990 Comstock Chronicle
Updated 7-9-2015
See updated and modified versions in the Fresno Bee and Reno Gazette-Journal
To get the full picture, I suggest reading all of them, as each contains new and different information.
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Corporate Propaganda Research Archive

   Everybody knows the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
   Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
   Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
   That's how it goes. Everybody knows.
— Leonard Cohen

[NOTE TO READERS: The following originally appeared in the Sparks Tribune of 12 Jan. 1990. An edited version appeared on 15 Jan. 2012.]

HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins 3rd straight Nevada Press Association First-Place Award


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Be well. Raise hell.


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15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

The Barbwire's Greatest Hits
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mp3 file

HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins 3rd straight Nevada Press Association First-Place Award

I grew up racist and was too dumb to know it.

I was born in Italiantown on the old west side of Fresno, California. Chinatown was right next door. Russiantown and Germantown were up the hill a ways.

Things changed. Chinatown went from business district to red light district. The old ethnic townships slowly turned from white to black and brown. Most of my relatives moved away.

How could a kid like me have had any racist leanings? Didn't I grow up and go to school with "Negro" kids? Sell newspapers with Mexican and Portagee buddies? Hey — color never mattered during a good game of sandlot baseball or parking lot basketball.

You're not born with racist leanings, you've got to be carefully taught. It's done by building on the basics. You know your skin is lighter than some and none of "them" are on TV. You often hear ancient Italian ladies make jokes about "moulangianis" (translation: "eggplants"). Subtle, huh?

Your mind is slanted oh, so very gradually. You share household visits with the "other" kids but your families are never close. Even living right next door, your world is white and theirs is otherwise.

You hear adult relatives harshly criticize that big-lipped black Baptist preacher from Georgia: "Their real goal is racial intermarriage so there will be only one race."

Just after I turned 13, I was sent to a white Catholic high school across town where I soon saw my first copy of The Jews News. Published by some of my classmates, I felt flattered to be mentioned a few times as "Rabbi Kosher Barbano." Haw haw. Weren't those Jew jokes funny.

I sure thought so. I had grown up in a world of racial slurs. We kids hurled them against each other constantly, only drawing the line at "nigger." Moulangiano, Wop, Pachuco and Portagee, we were friends silently separated by our prejudices. I was so dumb that I didn't know that high school classmates who nicknamed a Mexican kid "Beano" were making an ethnic slur.

Just as the Lord provides temptation, he/she provides salvation. A new marching band had been using the St. Alphonsus School hall to rehearse. The parish priest recommended that I join.

The VFW Post 8900 band was filled with guys like me, but different. Most were lots older, in their thirties. They all had names similar to Barbano, like Lozano, Murillo, Aguallo and Riofrio. Ramos and Rivas. Dominguez, Parraz and Zamora.

The organizer was an accountant named Paul Sauceda. You didn't need to be a veteran. You did need the desire to work at being a good musician.

Throughout the 60's, we played parades and celebrations all over California — the people with the names that rhymed with Barbano, the three Indian-American Wachampino brothers, and me.

But I still brought my baggage. After a parade one hot California Sunday, Sauceda and I got into an argument about Martin Luther King and racism.

"The blacks don't want racial equality, they want superiority," I recited.

As evidence, I offered what I saw as the racial puffery of the Jet and Ebony magazines I had read.

Paul looked at me with understanding eyes.

"Andy, growing up around here, I wish I could have had a Willie Mays or Willie McCovey to look up to. When I got to Reedley High, other kids would tell me 'why do you want to go to high school? The only thing you can ever be is a farm worker.' I would have given anything for magazines like those, with a Willie Mays or a Jackie Robinson, somebody I could point to as a success. I had no answer for them."

We spent the better part of that steamy afternoon heatedly debating in a 1954 Oldsmobile parked next to my old grade school. At the end, I had been thoroughly whupped, but Paul didn't let me go home feeling so. We went away friends.

I've thought back to that conversation many times over the past quarter-century. I came from a family of farm workers, too. But nobody ever trashed me like they trashed Paul because I was barely white and he barely wasn't. I would have thrown wholesale heroes at them had they tried, starting with Rocky Marciano.

Paul Sauceda and his brothers had to look inward. All became successful professionals as well as excellent musicians.

Back at high school that fall, The Jews News came up between me and a buddy named Joe.

"Andy, our speech club lost a major donation because of anti-Semitism at Memorial High."

I was speechless. Anti-Semitism? The dumbass Jews News?

"Yeah...I're right."

Now you know why I raised money for Israel after the 1973 war. And why I write so often about human rights here in West Alabama.

Maybe someday I'll think of a way to repay Dr. Joe for that verbal cold shower.

And Paul Sauceda for that lesson on a hot Sunday afternoon.

And Dominguez, Irish Dreily and the Wachampinos.

Until then, gracias.

The last brother
Fidel Sauceda, 1938-2015

Andrew Barbano: I was a teenage racist until two men wised me up
Reno Gazette-Journal / 1-15-2012

Memories of Fresno long ago
Barbano / Fresno Bee / 1-14-2011

Jack Kelley —
Heroes are made, not born

Barbwire / 11-6-2011

The need for a César Chávez Day
Barbwire / 3-21-2009

From the Barbwire Tribune edition of 1-15-2012

NOTE: Fidel Sauceda, Paul's brother, is a longtime Sparks resident.

MLK WEEKEND. Reno-Sparks NAACP President Lonnie Feemster will deliver the annual Martin Luther King keynote address at Reno's Second Baptist Church, 1265 Montello, 3:00 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15. The annual MLK Highway Caravan departs from the church Monday at 10:30 a.m.

OUR SPIES REPORT. Reno's Atlantis Hotel will break ground on a parking garage and high rise later this year...About 500 attended Friday's memorial service for Washoe Dist. Judge Bob Perry. Several of his former colleagues will retire early.

From the Barbwire Tribune edition of 1-8-2012

SUPPORT THE NEVADA CITIZEN TV PROJECT, a non-corporate environment for a new channel. Go to ReSurge.TV or contact me.

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Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 43-year Nevadan, chair of the Nevada César Chávez Committee, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, first vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO and editor of and As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Smoking Guns...

Economist: This is a true depression
Elliott Parker Guest Editorial / Las Vegas Sun / 11-27-2011

POWERFUL PUNDITORY PANJANDRUMS: Compelling guest commentary

Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced.
HAT TRICK: Barbwire takes first place three years in a row.

The winning entries:

Suing for Schools: The 20-year shuck
Expanded from the 2-21-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

Click here to view the show on your desktop

RED flags flying low over Sparks
Expanded from the 1-10-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

The wrath of self-righteous racism
Expanded from the 11-8-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

The campaign against forcibly-paid newspaper obituaries
And they wonder why the newspaper business is dying?


The Dean's List

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.
RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006

The 2009 first-place Nevada Press Association award winners
Tony the Tiger & the flaky NFL
Barbwire / 11-30-2008
Deregulation is never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / 8-3-2008
Nevada: A good place to visit, but do you want to live here?
Barbwire / 6-15-2008

...and more ammo

The plight of the paper pushers
The great recession made bashing public workers a national sport
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review / 11-23-2011

Bury the Bad News with Rose-colored Reporting
How urgent can economic troubles be if leaders say things are getting better?

Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review / 11-23-2011

Fact-free nation: Inside the lie machine
Mother Jones Magazine May-June 2011 / Cover story and in-depth analysis

Bill Moyers: Welcome to the Plutocracy
Money fights hard and it fights dirty
Speech delivered at Boston University on 29 Oct. 2010
Part of the Howard Zinn Lecture Series

Barbwire Corporate Welfare Archive

From clear-cut forests to dirty Gulfstream waters, this land belongs to old BP

BP/ARCO: The greasy root of our evils

Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 9-10-2006

The awful truth — Read it and weep, fellow suckers

Labor Day 2009: Rise of the Vampire Corpobots
Expanded from the 9-6-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

Angry Americans and Freudian fraud
Using war to market cigarettes
from the 8-23-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

BARBWIRE Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive

Propaganda fuels gasoline price fixing
Barbwire 8-14-2005

Donate to the cable ratepayer legal defense fund at our PayPal-enabled ReSurge.TV Consumer War Room

Phillips, Kevin; Numbers Racket: Why the economy is worse than we know

Harper's Magazine; May 2008; page 43
Phillips has authored numerous books on history and politics over the past 40 years. His most recent, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism, was published by Viking on April 15, 2008.

NAOMI WOLF: Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps
There are some things common to every state that's made the transition to fascism. Author Naomi Wolf argues that all of them are present in America today.
Alternet 5-20-2007

Johnson, Chalmers; REPUBLIC OR EMPIRE? A National Intelligence Estimate on the United States; Harper's magazine; January, 2007. I love it when heavy hitters validate what I've been saying for years in the tiny Sparks Tribune.

Barlett, Donald L. and Steele, James B.; America: What Went Wrong? (1992); America: Who Really Pays the Taxes? (1994); America: Who Stole the Dream? (1996) ; Andrews & McMeel/Universal Press Syndicate.

Review of Alex Carey's Taking the Risk Out of Democracy:
Propaganda in the US and Australia

The Orwell Diversion by Alex Carey
Excerpted from the book available below

ORDER Taking the Risk Out of Democracy
Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty
By Alex Carey
Edited by Andrew Lohrey
Foreword by Noam Chomsky
University of Illinois Press

     SEE ALSO: Lapham, Lewis H.; Tentacles of Rage: The Republican Propaganda Mill, A Brief History; Harper's Magazine cover article; September, 2004, page 32.

     By one conservative estimate, the corporate right has spent about $3 billion over the past three decades manufacturing public opinion to suit big business goals. Lapham's number covered the early 1970's to the present day. Alex Carey noted that by 1948, anti- New Deal corporate propaganda expenditures had already reached $100 million per year, not adjusted for inflation, for advertising alone. (Carey, ibid; page 79)

     Adjusted for inflation, that 1948 $100 million becomes $801,659,751.04 in 2005 dollars.

Conservatives Help Wal-Mart, and Vice Versa
As Wal-Mart struggles to rebut growing criticism, it has discovered a reliable ally: conservative research groups.
New York Times 9-8-2006; Free registration may be required.

      BARBWIRE: Labor Day '94: People vs. corporate con job, 9-4-94
Chilling forecasts from Alex Carey

      BARBWIRE: The Nevada Republican Party Becomes Communist, 3-30-97
A prescient Plato on the dangers of oligarchy

The sands of time do not cloud the long memories of the sheiks of Araby
Barbwire 9-10-2006

      Rinfret, Pierre A.; Peace is Bullish; Look magazine, 5-31-1966 | U-News | Bulletins + Almanac
Casinos Out of Politics (COP) | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors
| BallotBoxing.US | Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive
Barbwire Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive
Annual César Chávez Celebration
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Copyright © 1982-2012 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 43-year Nevadan, editor of and; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee, He is producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and serves as first vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail

Barbwire by Barbano premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in those parts ever since. Tempus fugit.

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