Friday, November 30, 2007
Their nine-year old son, (we'll call him "Jamal") a very bright little boy, went to a sleepover at his best friend's house. My couple friend knew the single mother of their son's friend and had swapped sleepovers with her several times. At the sleepover, Jamal was the only boy coming from a two-parent home and each boy had packed clothing for the night with the necessary Game Boys and Play Station cartridges --- absolute necessities for an enjoyable weekend for the pre-adolescent boys.
When Jamal came home to his parents the next morning, he asked his Dad why didn't he "lotion up". His father asked him what he meant. Jamal said that after he and his friends had taken showers in the morning, all of them were slathering various body lotions all over the body from head to toe. He simply put his on the "ash spots" that Black people have --- elbows, knees, ankles and a few drops on the back of his hands. The boys said he didn't know how to "lotion up", and that all of their Moms had taught them this a long time ago. Jamal had seen his mother go through this morning ritual that Blackwomen have, but had modeled his behavior after his father who dabbed a little bit of grease on the ash spots the way most Blackmen do. A simple thing though, took on significance since Jamal's friends had made him the butt of jokes for the rest of the weekend.
Jamal wasn't traumatized by the event in the least, but his parents were a little shaken that a "feminine" behavior --- "lotioning up" --- had been used to poke fun at their son who had simply followed his Dad's footsteps --- or should I say rubbing --- which he had seen a thousand times.
I mused on this event and saw yet another indication of how the assault on Black males has even entered the area of personal hygiene. The lotioned up Black boys at Jamal's friend's house weren't "guilty" of anything sinister and neither were their mothers. All however, were victims of the increasing number of absent fathers who simply don't show their sons the little things that fall under the category of what is "masculine".
Mwalimu Baruti has written extensively about the "effeminization" of Black men, and I agree with him. It is nothing new to cite data about the "disappearing Black father" in the lives of Black boys; it's one of the most written about topics within the Amerikkkan Afrikan community. The consequences of this disappearance is a plethora of behaviors --- boys wanting pedicures, talking about about lotions among themselves and swabbing the latest clear Max Factor polish on their little fingernails. Oh, I know, some of the women who read this might say this is sexist nonsense and there's nothing wrong with a boy learning to be "well-groomed" at an early age. I would ask my Sisters, however are these the same boys who will become tomorrow's metrosexual --- similar to the self-obsessed and narcissistic "Greer Childs" character in Spike Lee's film, She's Gotta Have It, and would you want him for either yourself or your daughter?
I don't know, maybe I'd better expand my slathering beyond the elbows, ankles, knuckles and knees...
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
It is extremely rare to see a Black athlete speak up about white supremacy in sports, particularly football where Black bodies are battered, killed, paralyzed and thrown away similar to the slave on a plantation. Anthony Prior is a strong voice telling the unvarnished truth about the "$40 Million Slaves" spoken of by William Rhoden in his book by the same title...
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
by Kwanele Sosibo and Niren Tolsi
22 October 2007 11:59
Still hurting: Sindiswa Nunu was shot in both legs by apartheid police. (Photograph: David Harrison)
A shattered life
In 1976 Sindiswa Nunu, then a pupil at Gugulethu’s Isaac Mkhize Secondary, was shot in both legs by the police during the wave of student uprisings that swept the country.
She could not walk for three months. Eight years later, while pursuing her diploma in teaching, she was teargassed and detained when Nyanga Bush, a squatter camp near Crossroads in Cape Town, was raided under the pretext that it was a “terrorist camp”. An active United Democratic Front (UDF) member, she was forced to abandon her studies and live life on the run.
Detained and beaten several times in the ensuing years, a five-months pregnant Nunu suffered a miscarriage after a brutal beating in 1987 at Caledon Square Police Station.
Today she is unemployed and lives in an unfinished house in Phillipi. She survives on grants she receives for two of her four children. She half jokingly says that apartheid is the reason she is single, because marriage would have demanded a more stable lifestyle.
The case and the Tort Act
Nunu is one of 97 plaintiffs who have taken on multinationals -- including IBM, General Motors, Daimler Chrysler, Rheinmetall Group and Barclays Bank -- as part of the Khulumani Support Group’s quest for reparations for gross human rights violations during apartheid.
They allege that these corporations “aided and abetted” the apartheid system by providing arms and ammunition (especially the Rheinmetall Group), military technology, oil and fuel for police and army vehicles used in the transport of personnel involved in violent human rights abuses. Khulumani has asserted that the firms profited from apartheid because of the cheap pool of labour entrenched through racialisation.
The case was initially thrown out by US district court Judge John Sprizzo in 2004, but last week, hearing an appeal, the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals found in favour of the plaintiffs. If the various corporations do not appeal against the judgement, the case will return to the district court to be heard again.
The appeal court found that Sprizzo had erred in “two fundamental respects” in 2004 when analysing the claims. Contrary to his judgement, the court found that the American federal court did indeed have jurisdiction to hear the claims under the Alien Tort Claims Act. It pointed out that liability in aiding and abetting does fall under international law. This, according to human rights activist Yasmin Sooka, has added weight to the “legitimacy” of the Tort Act “as a mechanism for human rights victims from around the world to seek reparations”.
A tort is an infringement of a right that leads to legal liability. The Tort Act was introduced in 1789 to cover violations during acts of piracy, infringements on the rights of diplomats and violations of safe conduct.
The section used by litigators against human rights abuse includes the assertion that American “district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the US”.
The Act has more recently been used to hold multinational corporations, governments and various armies accountable, in a court of law, for human rights abuses.
The Act was first used for human rights litigation in 1979 when the family of 17-year-old Joel Filartiga sued the Paraguayan police chief over Filartiga’s torture and death, citing “a violation of the law of nations” redressable under the Act. A New York Federal Court ruled that Paraguay was responsible for state-sponsored torture and subject to prosecution under the Act. Other cases include the Ken Saro Wiwa litigation against the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company, alleging complicity in the assassination of several Nigerians, and the case against Serbian military leader Radovan Karadzic, alleging he orchestrated various rapes and murders during the Balkan crisis.
Fewer than 100 cases have been filed under the Act and there has yet to be a judgement against a corporation.
The US ruling
In passing judgement in the South African case, Judges Korman, Katzman and Hall found that US federal district courts do have jurisdiction to try cases of this nature in relation to the Tort Act, reaffirming the possibility that future cases could be tried in this arena. The judgement allows the plaintiffs to amend their submissions when the case is heard again.
The judges found that Sprizzo had “erred in holding that aiding and abetting violations of customary international law cannot provide a basis for [the Act’s] jursidiction. We hold that in this Circuit, a plaintiff may plead a theory of aiding and abetting liability under [the Act].”
With the US and South African governments making submissions in favour of the corporations, the ruling also cautions against a blurring of the separation of powers when considering if a case is “justiciable”. The judgement states that assertions by the executive branch of governments are entitled to “respectful consideration”, but should “not necessarily preclude adjudication”.
“Not every case touching foreign relations is non-justiciable, and judges should not reflexively invoke these [political] doctrines to avoid difficult and somewhat sensitive decisions in the context of human rights,” it says.
The US government has maintained that litigation would cause tensions with South Africa and affect efforts at reconciliation and reparation.
The South African government, in a 2003 declaration made by then minister of justice Penuell Maduna and reiterated by current Minister Brigitte Mabandla, said the case interfered with its own rights to litigate. Ministerial spokesperson Zolile Nqayi confirmed this week that government’s position remains unchanged.
SA civil society’s response
Activist Dennis Brutus, one of the plaintiffs, said the government’s stance is spurious. “I find it a disgraceful submission by the government that they would turn their backs on their own citizens in favour of what is an attempt to maintain their neoliberal economic agenda,” said Brutus, who was shot in the back by police in 1963.
Nunu, now 46, joined the support group in 1999 for trauma counselling. “Apartheid would not have succeeded had these companies not supported the government. It would have been difficult to uphold apartheid if Caltex [a ChevronTexaco unit] had not provided the fuel for the hippos [Casspirs] to use, or if the banks had not supported the economy during the state of emergency,” she told the Mail & Guardian.
“Without the support of IBM pass laws would have been difficult to implement.”
She does not know what awards the court applications are seeking. Although there have been media reports placing the expected figure at $100-billion, Shirley Dunn, of the Khulumani Support Group, said the figure is unquantifiable.
Dunn added that apart from the 97 named plaintiffs, Khulumani had more than 45 000 members, who all stood to benefit.
Khulumani said the US ruling is “an important step forward in a fight for reparations”.
It pointed a finger at the government, saying it “has to date not made public the community reparations programme referred to by [former justice minister] Maduna in his ex parte declaration, based on President Thabo Mbeki’s announcement of April 2003. Khulumani calls on the South African government to make its proposals on community reparations public without further delay.”
The support group said an amount of R600-million, which remains in the President’s Fund, is not being used transparently, making it a struggle for organised victim groups to secure sustainable livelihoods. It said the group has been shunned by the justice department’s Truth and Reconciliation Unit, which “continues to function in an opaque fashion, and has not yet involved Khulumani in discussions to plan how to deal comprehensively with the unfinished business of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission”.
Companies contacted by the M&G failed to respond at the time of going to press.
An incomplete reconciliation
Alex Boraine, former vice-chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, insists that the TRC process in South Africa is incomplete and is mired in foot-dragging over prosecutions of those who were denied amnesty.
Those who did not appear before the commission or others who had obviously lied to it, or withheld testimony, should be in the dock, he said this week.
“The question of community reparations is being totally ignored,” he said, calling for a swift decision from the government to make transparent the processes of prosecution and reparation.
ChevronTexaco Global Energy
Credit Suisse Group
Ford Motor Corporation
JP Morgan Chase
Rio Tinto Group
Monday, October 15, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Benjamin Crump said that.
He is the attorney for the Anderson family, the parents of Martin Lee Anderson a 14-year old boy, beaten to death by seven former boot camp guards and a nurse.
He said it after an all white jury deliberated just 90 minutes and found all eight of the defendants "not guilty" in the horrific beating of Martin.
Michael Vick may go to jail for killing dogs, these "guards" and "nurses" will go home...
Aren't you tired of white people (and in this case psychotic Black and Asian cops) killing Black people?
There are no consequences for killing a Black person in Amerikkka.
All of history attests to this fact with the bloody and sordid history of lynchings, castrations, medical apartheid, murders, kidnappings, rapes and drownings of millions of Black people throughout the world during the past 500 years is irrefutable evidence that the price of Afrikan life in the white world is cheap.
In my opinion, Ida B. Wells-Barnett said it best over 100 years ago; it is something that Afrikans must read, study and take heed to as we witness the killing of Sean Bell, the re-incarceration of Mychal Bell, one of the "Jena Six" and the exoneration of those who aided and abetted the death of Martin Lee Anderson.
"The lesson this teaches and which every Afro American should ponder well, is that a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give. When the white man who is always the aggressor knows he runs as great a risk of biting the dust every time his Afro-American victim does, he will have greater respect for Afro-American life. The more the Afro-American yields and cringes and begs, the more he has to do so, the more he is insulted, outraged and lynched."
--- Ida B. Wells, Southern Horrors: Lynch Law In all its Phases, 1892
Sunday, September 23, 2007
"Jenacide" - another manifestation of white supremacy characterized by an obsession with exonerating whites from all manners of evil toward Black people while simultaneously punishing Black people for retaliating against the injustice perpetrated against them. The term gained popularity in 2007 when six Black boys were handed harsh jail sentences for responding to three nooses being hung from a schoolyard tree in the northern Louisiana town of Jena (pronounced "JEE-nah")...
Joy DeGruy Leary, author of The Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome and I went to Jena last Thursday in support of the "Jena 6" --- Robert Bailey, Carwin Jones, Mychal Bell, Theodore Shaw, Jesse Beard and Bryant Ray Purvis. By now you have heard about the escalating white supremacy/racism toward them after a schoolyard fight with a white boy who taunted them with racial threats and slurs. You can find out the details of by simply googling "Jena 6". Some thoughts on the rally...
1. There were more young Black people there than there were older Black folks. Like others, my heart was warmed and encouraged by this generation's unselfish support AND organizing around the Jena 6. It is truly a young people's movement that will not end in Jena. While others criticize younger Black folk over their obsession with bling, slavish devotion to fashion and selfishness, I saw thousands of young people who were organizing against injustice and making better plans for follow-up than the older leaders present at the rally.
2. This was a turning point in the use of Black radio to mobilize and organize Blackpeople. Hats off to Michael Baisden and other radio talk show hosts around the country who pulled off a stunning rally of nearly 100,000 (not the CNNizing crowd count for Black people of "15-20000 demonstrators") similar to how talk show hosts help make the 1995 Million Man March a success. It shows the power of the airwaves as a "town hall for Blackpeople" and revisits how radio was used as an organizing tool during the civil rights era.
3. Blackpeople are increasingly aware of how agent provocateurs attempt to disrupt meetings where Blackfolk are organizing. One of the first things that Al Sharpton noted was the loud noises from some unknown group of Blackfolk who were deliberately shouting their "anger" at the unjust incarceration of Mychal Bell. These agents feign "uncontrollable rage and anger" and can paralyze a meeting in a matter of seconds. They are the police and Blackfolk finally are beginning to see them for who they are --- buckdancing slaves of law enforcement injected into Ourmeetings for the purpose of disruption.
4. What are we going to do next? The white supremacists in Jena gave the middle finger to Blackpeople when they refused to grant bail to Mychal Bell on Friday. The Jena judge basically told Us that he didn't care how many Blackpeople rallied in "his" town; he wasn't letting Mychal go. In other words, Blackpeople, it's your move. We must always have a "Plan B, C, and D" in place when confronting white supremacy, otherwise we will be left dazed and confused by the white supremacists.
5. The wearing of Black around the country in solidarity for the Jena 6. I called friends in Chicago, Cleveland and California and was struck by the thousands of folk who wore Black on Thursday as a sign of solidarity. This shows the power of an idea and how we can mobilize on anything when we want. Economic boycotts are something that immediately comes to mind, but what about our portrayal in all forms of media, Katrina and other Jenacidal crimes against us in Amerikkka?
6. What you can do to help the Jena 6. The families of these young men have suffered mightily. They have mortgaged their homes, have to pay private tuition because the one high school in town won't let them attend, and sent them away to other locales because of threats to their lives.. You can help by donating to their defense fund. Put your money to work against jenacide and "Free the Jena Six"!...
Monday, August 27, 2007
In light of the orgiastic treatment of Michael Vick by the media, and the outrage (shared by me) of his cruel treatment of dogs, I'm forming a new organization called PETAA (People for the Ethical Treatment of All Afrikans). Its animal analogue is PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) who wage similar battles for "animal rights". This is what PETAA promises to do...
1. Whenever an Afrikan is beaten, killed or maimed by a white supremacist, there will be a feeding frenzy on the perpetrator(s) that will call for their lynching, castration or both. At the time of this posting and according to google, 19,752 postings were related to the Vick case. We will call for similar media coverage for the Jena Six or the victims of the Katrina who were "mercifully" killed by nurses and doctors.
2. Members must be willing to hug an Afrikan who has been mistreated and if possible kiss them in the mouth.
3. U. S. Senators who are outraged by the abuse of Afrikans must cry on the Senate Floor.
4. A website should be erected that will thank the prosecutors who successfully try those who have abused Afrikans.
5. Background information and possible reasons why the white supremacist abused, killed or maimed the Afrikan will not be given. This will only be done for people who are privileged and white like Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan and Robert Downey, Jr.
Membership materials will be offered at a later posting. Until such time, make sure you hug an Afrikan, and cry when you hear that one has been mistreated, killed, maimed or wrongfully imprisoned...
Thursday, August 16, 2007
1. She admits being in an interracial marriage since her husband was declared by Toni Morrison as being "America's first Black President".
2. She admits that when she is around a lot of Black people, she lapses into a "southern Black dialect". Hear her "talk that talk" at: http://www.ifilm.com/profile/breitbart/video/2829104
3. Other than Barack Obama, she has the thickest lips of any candidate.
4. Magazines publish racy photos of her (as they do with Blackwomen) on the cover of their magazines.
5. She spent a lot of time in Arkansas, a state with a Black population of 16% which is above the national average.
6. Rap artist Timbaland raised money for her campaign.
So there you have it. Hillary seems to have been around just too many Blackfolks to occupy the White House. White America needs to get a whiter candidate that reflects Amerikkkan values such as eating white bread, wearing Elizabeth Ashley attire, saying that Elvis is still alive and listening to knowledgeable radio pundits such as Rush Limbaugh. Next thing you know she'll be eatin' watermelon, slappin' high fives, and sayin' that her milkshake brings all the boys to the yard...
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Every year Money Magazine publishes a list entitled, "The Best Places to Live". The list always includes several indices the magazine claims are "good indicators" for quality of life. Quoting Money: "Some places have everything any family could want - economic opportunity, good schools, safe streets, things to do and a sense of community..."
Buried in the mounds of data Money collects under the heading "Meet the Neighbors" is something called the "Racial Diversity Index" (RDI) which gives June and Ward Cleaver an indication of how "racially diverse" the city/town is. Again, quoting Money: "100 is national average; higher numbers indicate greater diversity". In other words if a city/town scores "100" it is considered very racially diverse as opposed to 5.10 which would indicate racial homogenization.
Others have commented on Money's dubious statistics (see http://internetronin.blogspot.com/2007/07/money-gigo.html). Thus my home city of Baltimore, receives a 760 RDI (!) which means that it is 760% more "racially diverse" than the nation as a whole. In fact, Baltimore is not "racially diverse" since it is (quoting Internet Ronin) "64.34% Black, 31.63% white, 1.53% Asian, .32% Native American, and Hispanics/Latinos of any race make up just 1.70% of the population". Essentially it is a "biracial" city, consisting primarily of Africans in Amerikkka and whites. As Ronin correctly notes, "It seems to me that this so-called "Racial diversity index" is a code word for over-or under-representation of African Americans in a local population and has absolutely nothing to do with 'racial diversity.'"
So what we basically have is a dubious index that is really measuring how many Blackfolk are present (or absent) in a town/city. I looked at the top 10 cities listed in this year's index, Money's "RDI' (in italics) and then the percentage of Blacks in the population (bolded). Here are the data:
CITY "RDI" % Black Population
1. Middleton, WI, 32.8, 1.97%
2. Hanover, NH, 72.4, .47%
3. Louisville, CO, 31.5, .54%
4. Lake Mary, FL, 54.9, .24%
5. Claremont, CA 113.1, 4.98%
6. Papillion, NE, 27.9, .38%
7. Milton, MA, 60.1, .1%
8. Chaska, MN, 26.1, 1.02%
9. Nether Providence, PA, 45.8, 6.12%
10. Suwanee, GA, 96.3, .13%
Doing a little math, we find that the average RDI of these 10 municipalities is 62.1. Money says that "59.2" is the "national average for their selected listed, so hip hip hooray, for 2007 the top ten towns did slightly better than the "national average".
But wait. Let's take a closer look at the presence of Africans in Amerikkka in these towns/cities...
The average population of Africans in Amerikkka in these cities is 1.59%(!). That's right, under 2% and get this, that includes the city with the largest Black population, Nether Providence, PA (African American population = 6.12%). The lowest Black population in the "Top Ten" is Milton, MA (.1%). What Money gives its readers are extraordinarily white towns scattered over the nation which truly are the "Best Places for White People to Live" if they don't want to be around Black folk, who are of course criminal regardless of income and who (gasp!) will lower their property values.
Money, of course will not admit to any implied racism in choosing the towns, but would rather list it under the syrupy sweet category of "Meet the Neighbors" --- something that all good white people fleeing people of color are interested in. It would be interesting as demographics change in Amerikkka to see if increasing Black populations in these hamlets would automatically get them kicked off Money's list. Blacks and Latinos being associated with increasing crime rates is nothing new and Money lets it readers know in a very "civilized" way where these "undesirables" are nearly absent so their white readers will know where to move.
Me? I'm thinking about moving to Chaska, Minnesota (#8 on Money's list) and help increase their RDI. Watch out Chaska, Black man comin' down the street, locks and all to marry yo daughta...
Sunday, July 01, 2007
A few weeks ago, I gave a seminar on Black male/female relationships at a Black church. At the close of the workshop, I was signing my books and overheard a conversation between two Black women in their mid 30s or so. I admittedly caught the tale end of their conversation, but heard one of them state emphatically, that, “her boyfriend was Jesus.” I was at first amused by what she said but then started thinking about her expression of love for the Son of God. Why this conflation of the divine with the romantic? How did she depict her “boyfriend” racially? Was he the misleading image of Jesus who has been drawn for centuries as a thin, white, blue-eyed, effeminate male, or did he possess the Black features of the man described in Revelation 1:14,15?
Given the bits and pieces of the conversation, I’d say it was the white boy image of Jesus.
I thought about how so much Black churchianity has become feminized. A few months ago, I participated in a men-only workshop at a Baltimore church entitled “Why Black Men Don’t Go to Church”. It was refreshing to hear Black men tell it like it is regarding their church attendance. I noticed that whenever race or racism was mentioned, howerver as a reason for non-attendance, it was frequently counterbalanced by “true believers” who claimed that Black men were “just sinful” and that the “devil had got a hold to Black men.”
To say the least, these are conversation stoppers and I’ve noticed that church-going Afrikans such as these drive in a race-neutral gear when it comes to talking about Jesus, the church, or anything dealing with their faith. This is especially true when it comes to discussing the social justice ministry of the Black church that historically lead the way for challenging white supremacy in the U. S. and the world. These believers' religion is deracinated and their uniqueness as Black “Christians” obliterated by a culturally gray and colorless profession of faith.
“I don’t care what color Jesus is; I just love him!” is usually followed by shouts of “Hallelujah!” and “Amen!”, and once again, Afrikan culture which is deeply rooted in Christianity and particularly in the Black church is neutralized. I’ve asked Black Christians that if it is true that it “makes no difference what color Jesus is, why not make him Black? Why not remove the white “Lamb of God” from sanctuary walls and replace Him with an image that looks like you and your children who invoke His name.?” These, of course are troubling questions for Black people who swallow hook, line and sinker, the Europeanized version of churchianity that has dominated the world and the minds of people of color for the past 1500 years.
And so I wonder about the Sister I heard at church the other day who asserted that her “boyfriend was Jesus.” Was he white, with pale milky features and stringy blonde hair the way white masters gave him to us on the plantation, and if so, was this her “ideal image” of who a lover should look like? Or, to paraphrase my Sister Gladys Knight, I wondered if she does get a real Black man as a boyfriend, will he be “second” to her idealized image of a blue-eyed skinny guy who has been branded in her brain as the “best thing that ever happened to her”?
I don’t know, but it my wondering is only half correct, it just shows the pernicious damage that a white supremacist view of Jesus has on the minds of my people…
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
1803 – The Haitian Revolution puts in motion the simultaneous expansion of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase and the demise of Napoleon in the western hemisphere. The only successful slave rebellion in history that took control of a nation, Haiti will be punished for over 200 years by the white world for its successful rebellion against French enslavement.
1814 – The Tenth Article of the Treaty of Ghent which ends the War of 1812 states, ''. . . the traffic in slaves is irreconcilable with the principles of humanity and justice.''
1825 – Haiti begins paying reparations for land French slave owners “lost” during the Haitian Revolution. Total reparations paid: $20 billion.
1841 – Sengbe Pieh, aka "Joseph Cinque", wins the right to return to his homeland of Sierre Leone from the U. S. Supreme Court after successfully commandeering the Amistad which frees himself and his compatriots from enslavement.
1842 - President John Tyler on December 6, 1842 in his second State of the Union address quotes from the Tenth Article of the Treaty of Ghent, signed by the United States and Great Britain in 1814.
1865 – On January 16, 1865, W. T. Sherman issues Field Order No. 15 that promises “40 acres” to ex-enslaved Afrikans in portions of the Carolinas and Florida. Over the next few months, some 400,000 acres are distributed to the freedmen.
1867 – A bill introduced by Congressman Thaddeus Stevens in the 40th Congress calls for confiscating land from the former Confederate States and redistributing it to the freedmen.
1884-1885 – For three months in Berlin, the European powers carve up Afrika with total disregard for ethnic, linguistic and cultural differences in order to avoid European internecine warfare in the scramble for Afrika.
1890 – Callie House creates the Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty and Pension Association which petitions the United States government for “pensions” (reparations) for the millions of ex-enslaved Afrikans. On trumped up charges of “mail fraud”, she will spend one year in federal prison. A brilliant organizer and Mother of the modern reparations movement, she gathers 600,000 signatures for redress against Amerikkkan enslavement.
1914 – Marcus Garvey establishes the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and advocates not only a “do for self” ethic but a “right of return” to Afrika by Afrikans in the Maafa. Garvey is considered one of the four great American Afrikan organizers of the 20th century, the others being Callie House, Elijah Muhammad and Martin Luther King.
1920s – Founding of Rastafarianism in Jamaica which provides a theological connection between Afrikans in the Maafa and the Afrikan continent. The religion will become global and has as its core theology the end of white rule (“Babylon”) and the reestablishment of an African world. It will stress repatriation to Afrika by Afrikans in the Maafa.
1930 – Founding of Nation of Islam, by Elijah Poole, aka Elijah Muhammad and W. D. Fard encases a Black Nationalist theology in the religion of Islam. The faith will produce Malcolm X who with Muhammad calls for a “repair” of the Black mind because of the damage done by white supremacy
1963 – Queen Mother Audley Moore presents a 1-million signature petition to President John F. Kennedy calling for reparations on the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
1968 – Founding of Republic of New Afrika (RNA) whose constitution calls for five states --- Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and South Carolina --- to be ceded to American Africans for the establishment of the RNA. Its founder Imari Obadele will be imprisoned and ultimately released as a result of the COINTELPRO of the FBI.
1969 – James Forman, a former executive secretary of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), walks into Riverside Church in New York and demands $500 million reparations for Afrikans in America from white churches.
1987 – National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA) founded. It becomes the premiere reparations organization in the United States.
2001- The United Nations World Conference Against Racism declares the TransAtlantic Slave Trade a “crime against humanity” and further opens the doors for legal redress to enslavement, colonialism and white supremacy.
2001 – Publication of Randall Robinson’s The Debt, which presents a powerful argument for reparations for the TransAtlantic Slave Trade.
2002 – Deadria Farmer-Paellmann sues more than 20 U. S. corporations for their predecessor companies profiteering from the TransAtlantic Slave Trade.
2003 - Creation of the Ndaba Movement by Dr. Conrad Worrill, National Chair of the National Black United Front. Over a period of one year, five cities in the United States --- Chicago, Illinois, Jackson, Mississippi, Houston Texas, Baltimore, Maryland and Atlanta Georgia --- will host mass meetings with Minister Louis Farrakhan and Worrill educating thousands of American Africans about reparations.
2005 – Millions More Movement orgainzed by Minister Louis Farrakhan endorses Reparations for the TransAtlantic Slave Trade.
©2007, Raymond A. Winbush
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
The story of the Miller family's enslavement in 1961, is just another example of how enslavement was retained and refined by this nation towards its so-called "ex-slaves". For those of you poor eyesight like me, you may wish to click the reproduced pages below so that they will be more readable...
Saturday, May 05, 2007
He was the Stepin Fetchit alien birthed by George Lucas in his Star Wars saga, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. The outrage over this racist and stereotypical depiction of Blackfolk forced Lucas to silence him in the last two prequels, after denying that Binks was a conflation of a foot-shufflin’, buck-dancin’ Rastafarian.
You would think that Hollyweird would have listened to the outcries of those who saw Binks as a racist stereotype, but apparently he’s been reincarnated as the new Spiderman 3.
Two nights ago, I went to its midnight premiere in Baltimore. I had never gone to a film so late in my life and expected to be one of only twenty or so insomniacs having absolutely nothing to do on Thursday night. Not. There is apparently a cult of people who frequent such films, since when I got to the 17-screen multiplex four of the auditoriums showing Spidey were sold out! Arming myself with a large bottle of water, a bag of popcorn and angry because I had left my chewing gum in the car that never fails to keep me awake when I have to do an all-nighter, I entered one of the crowded auditoriums and took a seat about ten rows from the giant screen.
I wanted to see the film, because the early trailers showed Spidey being clothed in a skin-tight black costume, like Elvis Presley in his famous Black leather costumes. As an observer of race and its symbolic manifestations in this racist world, I wanted to see how Alvin Sargent and Ivan Raimi (the writers) would treat the conversion of our arachnid super-hero from red, white and blue to black. I’ve learned that American films are often bursting with racial symbols that are occasionally overt, e.g., Jar Jar Binks, but often symbolic, e.g., Men in Black.
I wasn’t disappointed by the racial symbolism of Spiderman 3.
A mysterious, jet black, creepy crawly substance oozes from a crashed meteorite and transforms the nerdish Peter Parker, played by Tobey Maguire. It hitches a ride on Peter’s motorcycle after he and his girlfriend, M.J., spoon under a full-moon in an oversized spider web hammock spun by Parker. There’s never any explanation given for the substance, but in a very parasitic way it attaches itself to the host’s nervous system and enhances his powers of cognition, speed, dexterity and dancing ability.
This last point is important since essentially, Spiderman becomes a white racist fantasy of a Blackman in America --- Roachman, if you please. He humiliates and beats down MJ (they’re violent), he buys an all Black wardrobe (you know they like flashy clothes), he cool poses after he buys the outfit, and starts eyeing all the women that come his way. Essentially, his new found “blackness” is a double burden --- it makes him “cool”, but it also makes him mean, violent and a misogynistic. The sexually insecure, white, Peter Parker is transformed into a hypersexualized Roachman and sends a symbolic message to the mostly white audience that while being a Blackman can be “cool”, it also carries a terrible price that you should avoid at the expense of your whiteness. It sends a message to the Blackpeople in the audience, that Blackmen though “enhanced” in their melanin-based abilities to sing, dance, and fuck, we are also unable to “carry the burden” of it all and use them recklessly. Like Roachman, Blackmen are always on the edge of being violent and must be controlled, especially when it comes to their sexual responsibility. It is similar to the symbolism portrayed by Will Smith’s character in Men in Black, where his partner, the dour Tommy Lee Jones initially gives Will a smaller ray gun, because he can’t handle the “big gun” (penis) he wants so desperately.
In the end, Roachman regains his whiteness with the red, white and blue Amerikkkan flag waving in the background. Though boring, the storytellers let us know that it’s hard out there for a pimp and white supremacy provides controlled sexuality, gentleness with the opposite sex, understanding, tolerance and non-violence --- the exact opposite of what it actually does in the real world.
As I left the theater, yawning at 2:30 in the morning, I mused on how white supremacy is enhanced and refined by films such as Spiderman 3. I also thought about making a film entitled Roachman: The Adventures of a Blackman in Amerikkka, in which in one of the sequels, my superhero would meet Spiderman and kick his ass…
Friday, May 04, 2007
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.”
“The question is, said Alice, whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master - - that's all.”
---Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
Lewis Carroll’s two most famous books, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, have a warm place on the bookshelves of our children’s bedrooms. Lest we forget however, they were written during mid-19th century Victorian England, and were biting satires on everything from poverty to public school education. The second book of the Alice duet, Through the Looking Glass, presents one of the most enduring characters in children’s literature. Although Carroll did not create Humpty Dumpty, (he was already a well-known figure in a nursery rhyme), he added character to the rather sarcastic and arrogant little egg, who ignored Alice’s warnings that the wall he sat on was too thin and might contribute to a nasty fall.
Humpty’s confusing dialogue on everything from “Jabberwocky” to “unbirthdays” leaves Alice rather bewildered, and reminds me of many contemporary discussions on race in America. Several pundits, politicos and others declare their firm grasp on understanding America’s most troubling problem, and like Humpty triumphantly state that a “word means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.” I am convinced that many of those who discuss words such as “racism” “sexism”, “political correctness” have no functional definition of the very words they use. They rely, as did their intellectual ancestor, Humpty Dumpty on their status of being “the master” and therefore possessing an inherited authority to define words and groups in whichever way pleases them at the moment.
When Alice challenged Humpty, she fought a losing battle; confronted with his unwillingness to listen and ignorance of nearly everything she talked about, Humpty’s “logic” beat Alice at every turn. Like Dumpty, contemporary pundits ask ridiculous questions based on little or no knowledge of the very subjects they discuss. On the issue of Black/White relations, they might state, “Affirmative action is the same as ‘reverse discrimination’, “Africans were primarily responsible for the slave trade.” or “I don’t know what to call you people, ‘Black’ or ‘African American.’” Criticism of the fundamental nature of these statements, can quickly plunge the questioner through the looking glass of “political correctness”, still another favorite expression of those whose brains burn out at the slightest suggestion of reading the history of those with whom they are unfamiliar.
Honest and clear dialogues on race are necessary if Americans wish to address our national agony. These dialogues will trouble those who wish to remain “masters” of words that are being redefined by people who seek to be a part of the great experiment called America. Those who cry “political correctness” nostalgically wish for the days when women kept their place, Blacks were colored, Asians were cooks and Latinos were gardeners. Similar to their intellectual ancestor Humpty, they are scornful of those who dare say that “We the People” includes those once denied access to the fruits of American democracy.
Was Humpty Dumpty a white supremacist? I think not. He was simply ignorant of other persons' experiences and felt that his worldview was the only one really worthy of consideration. That alone can be the seeds that water the weeds of racism. Dumpty’s techniques in glorifying limited awareness of other person’s histories, experiences and worldviews however, are characteristic of racists who insist on staying seated on the very narrow wall of ignorance toward other people.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
The Imus Incident: Another Conflict, Another Cycle
Although out of the headlines, the racist insults of Don Imus against the women of the Rutgers Basketball Team are one of the types of incidents that continue to surface in this society and won’t end until the causal issues come to an end. It must end, however. Bad things happen when bad things continue. Bad things continue when the wrong solutions are applied or nothing is done at all. There are those of us who know there is a lot more to do (always has been) in spite of the fact that the matter is no longer amplified in the media
Imus is off the air for now. After so many years of hearing racist speech consumed as entertainment to the American ear, one plug got pulled but look what it took.
We’ve seen blow-ups before and nothing changed. There’s a reason for this. After the dust settled everything went exactly back to the same or morphed into more efficient updated versions of what went on before. The cycle will repeat again unless real fundamental change occurs.
I don’t believe Don Imus’ career is over at all. The likes of Oliver North, some Watergate players, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Furman and Howard Stern have had their setback of temporary American outrage but have their careers and are as popular and or credible as ever. They have either had opportunities presented to them or had the ability to reinvent themselves. As the prevailing thought process stabilizes, which is much more subtle than hate mail and death threats, Imus, as others like him, will be offered opportunities to broadcast or do whatever he wants again. According to a report on MSNBC a radio station in California was going to broadcast Imus’ past shows in protest of his firing in the name of free speech.
The engine of continuation has many components. One is the contradiction between who American tries to project it is, and what it truly is. The ideal is to say it is a society of freedom and democracy when it is truly an environment that profits by and sustains itself by quite the opposite.
The FCC is supposed to uphold certain standards, which was the basis of an attack on what was called some years ago “hate radio”. This call for FCC abuse of airwaves was the correct challenge. Still, the public communication standard of decency is drowned out by the environment’s insistence that Imus apologized and should be forgiven and therefore allowed back on the air having learned his lesson (not his first offense - the past ones were laughed aside). Freedom of speech does not mean shouting fire in a theatre (or I guess more contemporary example would be shouting bomb in an airport). That speech is considered a danger to the public good. The problem is that there is a disconnect when it comes to racist assault being harmful speech to the public.
It took the assault on ten young college athletes to embarrass the corporate sponsors and networks to pull the plug on one individual. What will it take before the racism against native people on team names blows up? Or will American sports fans and consumers of the sponsors who promote the NFL change their minds about such racism being in the American culture? Maybe it won’t since native people are so invisible that even other oppressed people join in the racist team activities and marketing of materials. Native people are ultimately the invisible people. So the fairy tale ideal that says even the powerless of the people have rights that must be upheld or none of us have rights goes into the toilet when it comes to race, money, and dominance.
Before anything warrants attention, a situation in some way must impact those who are perceived as white people or somehow makes them feel caught. That means either the so called white race, money and or dominance – figuratively or literally – is under attack or being threatened, only then America will pay attention.
The hypocrisy and contradiction brings the consequences of who America truly is will define what will occur in the future. There are specific reasons why everything has taken place the way it has with regard to the assault by Imus against the Rutgers basketball team. There is a reason why the women of the team received hate mail. There is a reason why many still don’t get it. There is a reason why this will happen again.
Of course, Imus has apologized, the team has accepted the apology and for the most part it would appear that America has moved on and has probably begun the amnesia machine. I put this incident, one more example of American dysfunction, in the context of the chronic condition to bring about consideration for another point of view among those who are willing and ABLE (some pedophiles just can’t stop their behavior because they are unable just like drug addicts still have to get to the point where they hit bottom or realize they are helpless to the drug of choice – otherwise, they are unable). I will be presenting things that have already been mentioned and discussed of the past few weeks to compare, contrast and put into context of recent history to illustrate the American morbidity of chronic oppression.
1. The condition:
2. How it continues:
a. The participants
b. The thought process/culture/value system
c. The dependency
d. The behaviors
3. How it can/must end
1. The chronic condition:
The chronic condition of America is born out of its origins. It began with processes, belief systems, and actions that resulted in murder, land seizure, genocide, chattel slavery and hegemony. By all this, America was established with a stolen land base and free labor and unless somehow in the American experience all that was wiped away, the process is binding. The truthful nature of all that has happened has evolved into the way America sees itself, which is through an ideal that muffles the truth. If America was to continue and profit by everything is had thus far, the process by which it was founded had to continue. Because this is more than a one-time incident, it can only be described as chronic,
2. How it continues:
The esteem race, power and money, the source of abuse or oppression individually and/or collectively must be at all costs preserved. Even if and when individuals fall, die or go down, the preserving institutions or mainstays of the oppressive society, will be upheld. America has glorified stories of its beginnings with cherished and celebrated ideas upheld by holidays, activities, milestones, social and emotional expectations and institutions to ensure that the belief system stays in place. It is through the belief system that participants form ideas. Out of these ideas, attitudes take hold. From these attitudes, behaviors manifest and normalize.
There are controls (including belief systems) to ensure that oppression is normalized, marketable, and profitable emotionally and monetarily, rewarded and protected. Part of this chronic condition is to ensure that certain people are continually dehumanized so that abuse against them is not perceived as crimes, hurtful, or immoral. It was believed in its purest form that the black man had no rights a white man had to respect. It was all right to say it out just like that at one time. It isn’t said like that anymore but the belief system has evolved so that it doesn’t have to be.
Of course, no one volunteers to be oppressed so a strong element of force, threat and destruction are part of the continuation. The esteem is low through manipulated images, false accusations and dehumanizing disenfranchisement.
Chronic oppression is maintained through race, power, and money. All thoughts, ideations, emotions, institutions, and behaviors must revolve around this precept and define all concepts.
a. The participants
Roles are assigned. All identities are invented to revolve around the dominant oppressor or abuser to accommodate their perceptions and existence. Since the dominant role is defined as a superior race, other satellite identities are invented with false ideas of an inferior race(s) or gender. Money is what makes the ability to exist making wealth and poverty an operational part of the structure. Since the right to dominance and or supremacy of anyone is false and unnatural, all other invented identities needed to enable dominance and supremacy are also false. These identities interact and react through power, powerless and the enabling behaviors. In this society, those who have come to be called white males are provided access and entitlement to everything and everyone else. The identities of others must reflect how the oppressor must be upheld. Since this is unnatural the power to dominate can only occur through force.
b. The dependency
Participants in such a system are co-dependent. Co-dependency is the state where the self-esteem of one depends on another. A person doesn’t feel defined unless they are attached to the esteem or meaning of another. This is not natural and for some reason people come to feel this way due to experiences that did not allow them to evolve in to sovereign human beings. A co-dependent individual can feel let down (and can therefore react in varieties of rages, rejection, escapisms, etc.) when the needed other is taken away or appears to change from what the co-dependent individual needs. There is no co-existence in environments of co-dependency. Only satellites that float around the source of domination will be allowed to exist.
c. The thought process/culture/value system
Typically in an abusive household, the woman is isolated from all friends and family that can attach her to her indigenous identity before she connected with the abuser. This is how the abuser gains unconditional access and entitlement to the victim. The powerless are ridiculed, trivialized, isolated, and emotionally trapped in deference to the powerful.
Since domination, control and oppression of any human being is unnatural, the power to dominate can only occur through force – social, economic, political, emotional, and behavioral force.
The agenda will always be to maintain the system. Appeasements, rewards, trinkets, trophies and recognition will be offered (and accepted) but the end result will be to keep business as usual.
d. The behaviors
While one source can dominate, the system of oppression is populated with participants who interact through co-dependent relationships. Race and gender identity assignments have specific relationships to the dominant race and gender. No one better step out of line. A promise to hire more “black people” has been a typical reaction to past explosions, and while it may have truly happened, black faces in high places means they better do what they are told. All behaviors and rationalizations on the part of powerful and powerless will uphold the pillars of oppression.
3. How it can/must end:
Why does this society refuse to admit the atrocity it has committed? If this society admitted it was a society of racism, aggression, dehumanization many things would have to come apart. This is a good thing but a hard thing.
When situations such as this come to an end, it is because all aspects of the upholding pillars, relationships that maintain behavior roles, identities that result in how everyone involved think of themselves. It must all be confronted, reconsidered, and undone. Or else, the chronic environment and all participants are bound to the truths and the consequences.
When the Rutgers Basketball team had their press conference it was stated that they agreed to meet with Don Imus in private at an undisclosed location. What do you think would have happened if the Rutgers team chose not to disclose to the media whether or not they accepted Don Imus’ apology? Did they owe it to the media to say how they felt one way or the other? What if they refused to accept his apology at all? Would people be so willing to call them beautiful young ladies, courageous and all the other flattering names (especially when prefacing comments that Imus isn’t so bad and what he said was wrong but he doesn’t deserve what he got)? Or would they have been called other names like hostile, unreasonable, angry, hell raisers and other silent names?
The media pursued the team as if they owed America comfort because this white man’s behavior cost him his job. The need to protect whiteness is such that when one is taken to task it’s as if that esteem is threatened and the victim can quickly become the villain if they don’t help the offender make the whole thing go away. A white male went down, now somebody has to pay or at the very least, help America feel better about it. America has to feel that the ideal it holds for itself, or at least if it does wrong their critics are wrong, too. America must have an end to the conflicts and the answers better be quick, convenient and comfortable or else.
While responding to his remarks, Imus continued to press that his show was about comedy and he was not a journalist reporting the news. Because he didn’t make the remarks out of anger or drunkenness, it shouldn’t have pointed any fingers of racism at him. He said he didn’t make up the words he said but rather learned them from rappers and people like Spike Lee. In fact he had referenced Lee’s film wherein he heard the words wannabe’s (the ones who looked good and pretty) and jiggaboos (the ones who looked bad and hardcore – “nappy headed”).
He didn’t get it like others (especially the news anchors and journalist hosting discussions). This is typical in chronic abuse situations. However, the fact that he didn’t get it doesn’t take away the results. The expectation was that because it was supposed to funny, the sub-human people shouldn’t have had anything to say. He had access to a live open mike to a massive audience. What is frightening and dangerous is that those who are privileged are free to be woefully and arrogantly ignorant to everything and everyone around them. He didn’t have to think about things like the humanity of those athletes. It was not supposed to hurt – it didn’t hurt him, after all. Once however, their humanity and honor came out in the face of America and before the world there was a collective embarrassment to such a challenge to the moral decency it claims to be. There was no apology for days to follow.
Just as elemental in this scenario is the media, which did not use the “R” word regarding Imus’ remarks. Until those voicing the protest used the word and the sponsors pulled out it was only then the media used the word RACIST. At first, Imus words were reported to be “controversial”. I kept listening for the word, RACIST. In addition, corporate media didn’t pick up the protest led by Spelman and other community leaders when their demand for change could have been for the public good yet this same ignoring media wagged a finger asking why the protesters aren’t going after rappers. Rappers should be fired like Imus.
Media plays an important role in this chronic environment. It is the big voice that projects images and ideas for consumption in a way that other forms of communication aren’t able to do. What is projected through media is consumed as fact and truth partly because of the magnanimous way it functions. Media is corporate and so therefore is bound to project what is marketable. What corporate media projects in its big voice enables and enforces the powerlessness of the voiceless.
In addition, one of the many symptoms was the blame throwing to deflect the attention or to minimize what had happened. There was a need to punish or vilify others connected with the protest.
Even though it was the corporate media and Imus himself who went to Reverend Sharpton, he was accused of using this incident to make a spotlight for himself. Reverend Jesse Jackson was also accused of this. Tawana Brawley’s name and the word "hymietown" were evoked to fuel outrage against their protest against Imus’ remarks. What mattered was to throw the past deeds into the discussion to disqualify them especially after Sharpton met with CBS the same day CBS fired Imus. By the way, the firing by CBS is being blamed/credited to the pressure from Sharpton alone by some media agents. If the Reverends were so hypocritical, why have them on the air? Why did Imus go to Reverend Sharpton’s radio show?
It is typical that those impacted by chronic oppression will throw non-issues, insults, and hysteria into conflicts to be combative and confusing. The discussions and efforts will be sabotaged by accusation and upset to distract any effort at getting to the bottom of the problem. The point is to avoid the point and usually, all involved can get dragged into the psychotic fray going all off point and falling into argumentative traps. Buzzwords and code words are flammable and can be hot wired into white hostility and ignorance.
Racist addicts over the years had been gratified by the discourse of Imus talk. The taking down of their supplier of white access and entitlement brought the wrath of the addict causing a backlash of hysterical media and sending hate mail to the team and to those speaking out. Removing an addict from their drug of choice can bring on rage and all associated behaviors.
White rage is no joke. The white lynch mob can take a variety of literal and figurative forms. When the white egocentric world is interrupted, feels offended, rejected or threatened, that white rage can be unstoppable. When the target of white rage is chased there is no law, no reason, no doctrine or nobody that can turn it around. This is why a backlash by white support for Imus will not be stopped. The California radio station (per a report on MSNBC) that’s playing the best of Imus in protest of his firing will not be interested in a changed Imus, but the good ol’ Imus.
The notion of free speech blankets harmful speech only when it involves those who are not considered human. It takes an argument, debate or some other protesting action before the matter can even get minimal attention. Conflict and discomfort from the protest and resistance will be blamed on the victim or whistle blowers.
Perpetrators of other chronic crimes (serial killers, pedophiles, etc) are able to repeat their behaviors based on the freedom they feel allowed by a sense of access to their victims and entitlement to their gratifications giving them freedom and ability to act out their crimes. They can’t (won’t) distinguish or make connections to the harmful results. It didn’t hurt them so it shouldn’t have hurt anyone else. It isn’t the words of Imus alone but this applies to all those who seek enable the behavior by diminishing and trivializing the incident in his defense aka defense of the normalized racism. All the other good deeds, monies raised for charities don’t change anything.
Some years back there was a call to end what was called hate radio. Shock jock was a name given to the offending hosts. I remember the faces of Howard Stern, Don Imus and a “Black radio” talk show host, Imhotep Gary Byrd on a station in NY, WLIB on the front page of one of the New York newspapers. The big story was about the crack down on hate speech being broadcast on the air.
The call to end hate radio at the time was suspect even back then that this was really a move on black radio by another talk show host and activist, Bob Law. Black talk radio was a voice for Africans in America syndicated across the country. Networking and innovative approaches to education were shared. The audiences from various cities were able to talk about what was happening to them, their movements, systemic police brutalities and killings. Histories that had been left out of educational institutions and materials revealed information that threatened the esteem of those in power. TOO MUCH COMMUNICATION!!! Black talk radio had to go.
Don Imus and Howard Stern not only kept their shows, but also kept the format, which became more fired up as new shock jocks came aboard with new shows. The bad boys of radio seemingly got their wrists slapped. It wasn’t the first time Imus radio talk resulted in underserved assault on others. The networks and sponsors looked away or laughed along all the way to the bank. But for certain, the format for WLIB, the station where there was live call in black radio hosted by Imhotep Gary Byrd was replaced by another format. People could still call in, but the discussion and the format was radically changed.
At about that time rappers Public Enemy had a video, “Burn Hollywood, Burn”. Some people had a fit at the mention of Jewish mobsters in Hollywood being responsible for the racist images in the film industry (now these days the History Channel will tell you all about the hold Jewish mobsters had on Hollywood). There were other rappers and others publishing books, writing poetry, etc encouraging the audiences to learn, think and challenge injustice such as KRS1 Boogie Down Productions “You Must Learn”, and Leaders of the New School. Those groups who did not denigrate women were eliminated from the backing given to groups who bragged about getting’ paid, their diamonds, cars and objectified women by the corporate record labels. Eventually a new market for another type of rap and radio took over the major communication media.
It is also a common experience among those in oppressive systems not to be able to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate actions (like good touch/bad touch). There were discussions in the media around who is allowed to say what with regard to popular language, which includes racial slurs. It really isn’t difficult but victims of chronic abuse can be so intellectually and logically incapacitated when it comes to common thoughts that very simple ideas can be a great mystery.
What is said, how it is said, the motivation, and the purpose very much matters with regard to the communication. Of course, this requires thought, competence, and moral consciousness. When Spike Lee used terms like jigaboo and wannabees in the film School Daze, the intent was to provoke thought around certain issues. I say this not knowing how to read Spike Lee’s mind, however, the entire context of the film brought about specific ideas.
When Imus used words with no apparent understanding of what was behind those issues against specific people who he does not know, it is very different. Simply repeating what one heard somebody else say is a ridiculous defense. When a bat-wielding individual brutalizes someone on a public street and beats him while calling him a racist epithet, the attack is not cleared of its racist violence because the batboy was a fan of rap and heard the word in the music as his attorney tried to incredibly justify.
Ain’t No New Thing, the title of a poem by Gil Scott Heron illustrates how throughout history so-called white people have mimicked African people in America by copying creative ideas and intellectual property. It is typical that “white” people copy the styles, vernacular and other expressions of the culture. On another level, Lloyd Boston published a book about the historical trend setting fashions of African men, which were borrowed. Dress, music and dance have been copied and imitated time and again. So it isn’t surprising to hear words mimicked and repeated especially when “white males” are young, rebellious, coming into their own testosterone. There were some who even at one time called themselves “wiggers” to make it clear how they wanted to project themselves. All ages and walks of life also used words like “my dog”, “thug”, “peeps”, etc.
However, there is another layer of this “Ain’t No New Thing”. A professor, Dr. Levine, from a California university said in a documentary about white entertainers in blackface that it seemed as though “white people needed to release themselves as black.” Why this comment struck me was because of the contempt that typically merges with the obsession. Frat parties in blackface (complete with a lynched black effigy), parading firefighters in blackface, high school talent shows in blackface were supposed to be fun and the participants at times expressed confusion at the objection and hostility by those who came to their defense. A specific confrontation must be made to examine this toxic relationship between black and white, the conflicts and related triggers.
It isn’t simply a matter of rappers inventing the negative words (which is incorrect), but how and why others choose to repeat them. Stopping or censuring rappers isn’t the answer. That requires a totally different kind of address. But certainly using the fact that one is repeating words used in other contexts is no defense.
If the cause of a symptom is not resolved, the symptom will not go away and can’t be controlled away. Much of the language heard in rap came out of resistance and the telling about experiences that were ignored or suppressed. Demanding that record labels “fire” the rappers is just silly. Remember, the art form started in the parks and communities in the Bronx – not at fancy record label headquarters. Rappers started out by selling their tapes in local and available venues. There is too much money to be made and the corporations are not about to miss out. So simply forcing or controlling a ban on what is not acceptable won’t work. Don’t like the supply? Then stop the demand.
To say America is about power, race and money is to threaten the idealistic notions this society has about itself. Even though there may have been the power to change and manipulate events, the truth cannot be denied. This is pure science. What would happen if there was such a country where brutality, exploitation, violent racism, hegemony and oppression prevailed? What kind of country would that be? America is dysfunction in a specimen jar.
A great society isn’t a perfect society, but rather what it does in the face of conflict, how the conflict is processed and how the conflict is resolved,
What happens in a family of repeated abuse and dysfunction generation after generation? The result of repeated abuse and oppression is the destruction of everything and everyone. The consequences evolve into massive reactions of collective grief, collective rage, collective depression, collective despair and collective desperation out of which come seemingly unexplainable disasters and tragedies. Society will collectively react, miscalculate and continue the cycle so that everything will happen all over again.
We also have a collective ability to make choices to bring about collective change. Chronic oppression requires our participation in the behaviors, relationships and rationalizations. It is clear that such a revolution will not bring big profit shares, uphold invented superiorities or preserve domination so it will take the will and determination of our individual power to once and for all, be free and at peace.
PO Box 987
Dover, DE 19903
Saturday, April 14, 2007
So today, we find that after the white boy gets fired for his racist remarks against Blackwomen, (not just the Rutgers women), white folks accuse Us of being hypocrital when it comes to the use of the "bitch", "ho", and "dawg" to describe Ourselves and place Sharpton and Jackson at the head of the hypocristy.
Now for some facts which are often ignored when we drink the vomit of white supremacy.
1. 28 organizations condemned Imus' remarks (many of them white) and not just Jackson's Rainbow Coalition and Sharpton's National Action Network. The white supremacists want you to think that Imus' firing was orchestrated by Sharpton and Jackson, because *they* are the only two "Black leaders" recognized by a white public woefully ignorant of the rich and varied leadership in the Black community.
2. Sharpton and Jackson have consistently condemned the use of such language by rappers AND the white corporations that pay them to utter this filth. It has not only been Sharpton and Jackson, but Minister Louis Farrakhan who has met, organized and attempted to dissuade *all* rappers from using the degrading language, e.g., "I got a ho in every zip code", used by some rappers, and not all. There is no hypocrisy on *their* part (Sharpton & Jackson) because they have a long history of such condemnation.
3. We need to stop uttering any words that degrade Us. "Nigger", "Nigga", "Bitch", "Ho", "Dawg", etc., and understand that MCA, SONY, Def Jam, etc., are all run by people classified as white with Blackpuppets in front of them, who pay millions of dollars to young Brothers and Sisters who are taken advantage of because they are victims of white supremacy and are deprived of understanding who they are in a white supremacist world. CONDEMN THE WHITE FOLK WHILE YOU CONDEMN THE BLACK FOLKS WHO HAVE CONSISTENTLY OPPOSED SUCH LANGUAGE.
4. The face of hip hop has become Snoop, but what about Dead Prez, "old school" (a term I despise) Public Enemy, Talib Kweli or NYOil? Most of the white folks (and an increasing number of Black folks believing the hype) can't name two hip hop groups/artists who CONDEMN this garbage because they believe that all hip-hop is what the iconic Snoop says it is.
5. STOP USING THE WORDS YOURSELF and CONDEMN those in your company who do. Watch the reaction when you do. It will be an expression of disgust as you tell them why you have rejected the white supremacy that this society forced upon all of Us to degrade Ourselves.
6. The Sharpton, Jackson AND the Blackwomen of Rutgers basketball team *are receiving death threats* even as I write this (see http://wcbstv.com/watercooler/local_story_104002437.html and http://www.belleville.com/mld/belleville/news/nation/17077741.htm). If past is prologue, the white supremacists MUST retaliate in response to what has happened to a white male that they adore. Who is the hypocrite? These young women AND Sharpton and Jackson did absolutely nothing but attempt to replace white supremacy with justice. That's all. Period. End of sentence, yet *they* are becoming targets of the same vicious hate that oozes out of the pores of white supremacy's body and are attempting to exact revenge on whom they *PERCEIVE* as the source of thwarting Imus' white supremacy. It is the same ***American*** violence that killed Martin Luther King, who had Fanni Lou Hamer beaten senseless, who hosed down pregnant women in Birmingham, who castrated Blackmen who attempted to escape from enslavement, who raped Blackwomen who defied them and who threatens Our Afrikan Queens who staged the most glorious comeback in NCAA women's basketball history at Rutgers. See the big picture folks and not small and white supremacist "news" you see/hear on CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX. It's the vomit of white supremacy, wanting YOU to think that this is all OUR problem and deflect criticism away from the white supremacy that is at the root of this vulgar and racist nation.
7. As the *conscious* Flava Flav would have said, "Don't believe the hype"...