News & Politics

You Won't Believe How Austin Wastes Employee Time and Taxpayer Money in the Middle of a Workday

AP Photo/Eric Gay

A concerned Austin city employee sent me the following email. It requires little comment. This is how the city, which ripped about $150 million from its police budget and has yet to resume police cadet classes while its experienced officers are leaving in droves, spends taxpayer money for two hours in the middle of a workday.

Austin has had at least 27 homicides in 2021 so far, roughly double 2020’s rate.

According to our source, about 100 employees have signed up for the “training.”


From: All City Employees <[email protected]gov>
Sent: Friday, May 7, 2021 8:15 AM
Subject: Friendly Reminder: AHLN and AAHN Workshop Opportunity


Boundless Perreo: Afro-descendants and Their rhythmic Entanglements

Date: May 7th @ 11:15 – 1:15 p.m.        

Updated Link: WebEx  (link deleted)

Please register on TRAIN: Class Registration (link disabled)

Graphic included in Austin, Texas, citywide email advertising a mid-day workshop.

Description:  In 2019, after sweeping the categories for Album of the Year and Best Female Hip Hop Artist at the Black Entertainment Television (BET) awards, Belcalis Almánzar, better known as Cardi B, was forced to respond to increasing criticism about her authenticity as a Black woman in the United States. People argued that she should not be eligible for the recognition because she is not Black, maintaining that her use of the Spanish language and her previous claims of Latinidad precluded her from Blackness. In her response, Cardi B attempted to break down the myth of mutual exclusivity between Blackness and Latinidad, by focusing on the differences between race, ethnicity, and nationality.

In this workshop, cultural theorists Wilfredo Burgos Matos and Aris Moreno Clemons, reveal the many intersections of Blackness and Latinidad through an exploration of music, history, culture, language, and political economy. Grounding our presentation in the roots and development of the musical genre Reggaeton, we note the centrality of Blackness in Latinx self-expression. In our discussion, we will begin with a brief video presentation of the music itself. The panelist will then cover everything from the Black and Latinx origins of reggaeton to the power and policing of Black and Brown solidarities, which form the foundation of this musical genre. Additionally, the speakers will reveal the tensions between a political economy that relies on the mutual exclusivity between Blackness and Latinidad to sell records and the ancestral entanglements which provide the basis for the art itself. Finally, the workshop will allow for audience interaction through questions from the audience.


Aris Moreno Clemons

Aris Moreno Clemons is an Assistant Professor of Spanish Linguistics at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. She completed her PhD in Hispanic Linguistics with a concentration in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies at the University of Texas at Austin in 2021. Originally from (all over) the Bay Area in California, she has been steeped in the traditions of anti-racist pedagogies and has dedicated herself to developing and sustaining these practices in her own research and teaching. Her research agenda is rooted in social change through an examination of the ways that what appears to be common knowledge is constructed and ideologically maintained in various social institutions. She is a scholar of raciolinguistics, a branch of sociolinguistics that examines how language practices contribute to the making of ethno-racial identity.

Wilfredo Burgos-Matos

Wilfredo José Burgos Matos is a native of the Caribbean. He is a singer, writer, spiritualist, PhD candidate at UT Austin, and cultural researcher specialized in Dominican music, critical race theory, and diasporic sounds. His works have been presented and/or published in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Haiti, Spain, and the United States.

Wilfredo José Burgos-Matos is a Ph.D. student at UT Austin in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, and has collaborated as a researcher on the project A History of Dominican Music in the United States.