Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Monday, July 30, 2007

New Blog

I've started a second blog called "So and Such" as in "so and so and such and such". In other words it is a place where I can comment on stuff that simply is not within the scope of this blog but I want to point out or write about.

So and Such

A Letter to a Friend


I hope this letter greets you in good spirits and health. I'm writing you this letter because I need to get this off my chest and I don't think a face to face conversation is going to cut it. I enjoyed my time at your place yesterday. It's not everyday I watch hours of non-educational TV and do absolutely no work. So I'm appreciative of the chance to waste time for a change. But, that's not what this letter is about.

One of the shows we watched was Chucky. I've caught pieces of the numerous iterations of that movie but I've never actually watched it from end to end. I'm sure the movie was quite the scare back in 1989 with the cussing homicidal maniac doll and all but let's be honest, It was really a comedy. Chucky want's to watch the news. Chucky throws aunty out the window. Great laughs. Chucky enters a house of a supposed Haitian with voodun symbols on the walls and whips out "voodoo doll" and proceeds to break the legs and arms of the poor "voodoo man" and ends it all with the "necessary" knife to the doll which of course caused the human victim to have blood spurting everywhere.

I was not amused. I said so. But you thought it was funny. Now it's not a secret that I follow Ifa and even though Haitian Voodun is not Ifa it is the product of African religions and you know where I stand on it. Yet you insisted on discussing how "devilish" the activities were.
We had the discussion where I told you that "we" do not believe in the devil or a devil of any kind. So why, after knowing and talking to me for as long as we have known each other would such disrespect for my religion be coming out of your mouth?

That's actually a dumb question really. Thing is, the reason you felt comfortable with it was because I accommodated you and your religious beliefs. See I forgot that the reason I could be so accommodating and understanding about your religious struggles is because firstly I do not proselytize so I don't use clear opportunities to "convert" to "win you over". Secondly, as you know already, I'm extremely well versed in your religion (among others) so I don't feel lost or uncomfortable relating to you in that way. Lastly though, and this is most important, I respect your choice of belief. Not that I agreed with it, but I respect the fact that it is what you draw strength from to live your life. I had hoped that as you grew and matured you'd gain that same respect for me. I guess not.

I guess I should have been clued in when you asked me if I saw myself "returning" to Christianity. I guess you, like apparently most people who think they "know" me have not been listening to me when I have been speaking. Simply because I enjoy Take Six does not mean I have some secret desire to be "saved." I simply enjoy good singing. period. Besides I didn't leave "the church" because of some life crisis or because I wanted to go out into the world to drink and lay up with women. Nor did I leave because I suddenly had some religious crisis where I suddenly needed to be a part of a "real" religion where people were "serious". No. as you know, I left after I studied the origins of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. I shared the information with you. You rejected it like my momma did. I was pretty irate about that back then and we've since had a good laugh about it, but where I've apparently grown up on the subject, you're still back there.

In any event Just so you know Damballah is the Voodun loa most associated with Obatala in the Ifa tradition. Haitian Voodun is a mixture of the Kongo religion on Ngola (Angola) and the Fon peoples found in Benin which is also related to the Yoruba. the Kongo portion generally represents the "hotter" portions of the religion. But in any case, both Damballah and Obatala are symbolized by white which is symbolic of their purity. Some people try to racialize colors due to the racism in America but be sure that the white symbolism in African traditions has nothing to do with race and everything to do with how easily white is stained. Anyway, in our religion there is no devil who is responsible for evil. We believe, and I've said this a number of times to you, that people are free to make good or evil decisions and actions on their own. In other words the devil is the one doing the evil so any person can be a devil. In retrospect I could have taken a different view of the particular scene of ire. The fact that the "Haitian' was so unnerved by the presence of "chucky" could be seen as a repudiation of the evil that "chucky" was doing that was out of line of the intent of the religion. But perhaps I was too annoyed by your constant references to the 'devilish" religion.

So, if I'm kinda distant in the next few days, or weeks, I hope you understand. I guess it was my fault to assume that you had grown some newfound respect for African religions. That would be my fault. I take responsibility for that, I'll just make sure in the future to not make that mistake again.

Friday, July 27, 2007

More John Conyers

Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr. commentary on John Conyers failure to do the right thing:

"To my African-American counterparts who take issue with the White progressive anti-war movement, I understand your criticism of our recent action in Mr. Conyers office, but I do not agree. It was extremely difficult to challenge a man that means so much to African-Americans, but impeaching Bush is critical to the future of our country. We cannot let the precedent stand that Bush has established, which severely oversteps the bounds of executive power. We cannot send the message that such actions will not go unpunished, or at least unchecked.

Impeachment begins in the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, which Rep. John Conyers chairs. He is in the position to begin the impeachment process or keep it from happening, and no other human being is in that position. "


Thursday, July 26, 2007

NYPD attacks Black Lawyers. No One Cares.

This is not new. Nor is this particular report new to me. I've simply not posted on it. Susie Day reports on the situation:

"At approximately 5:45pm, petitioner and his wife were in their vehicle, stuck in traffic, when they saw members of the New York Police Department apprehend a young man, handcuff him, and physically abuse him while he was prone on the ground. Petitioner and his spouse exited their vehicle to inquire why police were engaging in that behavior, but immediately returned when ordered, without getting near the police or the young man. Sergeant Steven Talvy, however, approached the petitioner and his spouse and, after they identified themselves as attorneys, proceeded to strike petitioner numerous times in the head and face and strike petitioner's wife in the face."

No matter how high one climbs there is always a cracker out there willing to let you know you are still a nigger with no rights that need be respected.

John Conyers

Personally I've lost much of my respect for Rep. John Conyers. Before the election he was all about impeachment. Then he went all "yassa boss lady" on us after the mid-term elections. Apparently I'm not the only one dismayed at the "dean" of the Black Caucus. Ray McGovern shares his thoughts:

Conyers, on the other hand, was dripping with pretence as he met with Sheehan, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, and me yesterday in his office in the Rayburn building. I have seldom been so disappointed with someone I had previously held in high esteem. And before leaving, I told him so. Throwing salt in our wounds, he had us, and some fifty others in his anteroom arrested and taken out of action as the Capitol Police "processed" us for the next six hours.

Yep, that's "our man" on the inside.

Race m Trumps Gender and Sexual Orientation

New York City Council Speaker woman Christine C. Quinn, has been meddling in the affairs of City Councilman Charles Barron's office. On May 30th, the City Council voted down a proposition to rename a portion of Gates Avenue after Abubadika Sony Carson. After the vote, Councilman Leroy G. Comrie Jr., a black Queens Democrat, who had voted against the renaming, was singled out by Viola Plumber who said that he would be "assassinated". The reference was a clear political statement in which Viola was saying that his political career was to be targetted (ie: his political career was dead). Whether or not Viola Plumber would be able to make good on that charge remains to be seen given the general anesthesia that black people are under these days.

Regardless to that though, the hand wringing and outright over reaction to Ms. Plumber's comments are part and parcel of white supremacist actions that even people who are also in so called "oppressed" communities ought to know better, fall into. Hence the title of the post.

Ms. Quinn who is a white female lesbian, by her own admission, has shown that at the end of the day, for all the posturing that white Gays and lesbians do regarding the parallels or equality of the Civil rights movement, that when it comes down to it, they are white and will ID as such and act in such "typical" white power ways when the opportunity arises. See I'm the vindictive type that would vote down any kind of recognition civil unions or marriages over this. You mean to tell me that I'm supposed to be down with men marrying men yet be OK with the denial of a community to recognize one of their heros? Fat chance. But back to the events.

Quinn "fired" Plumber after acting in typical cracker form in requiring Plumber to sign a letter promising to "behave". How out of her mind Quinn must be to think that any self respecting black person is going to shuck and jive and promise to be a "good nigger" on paper in this day and age. As councilman Barron stated in an interview on Like It Is with Gill Noble, Speaker Quinn doesn't even have the authority to fire Ms. Plumber.This was agreed to by a judge overseeing a case that has been filed. I expect Speaker Quinn to be on the losing end of this lawsuit (hopefully one that has the effect of bankrupting this woman).

Once again it seems that it is the black women who are standing up to house negroes and white people in power.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

On Chavez: Clinton is Bush

Ahhh politics as usual from the front runner of the Democractic party. When Obama said that he would talk with people the current administration does not speak to, or well of, Hilary Clinton went on to say how she wouldn't be talking to people such as Chavez and Castro because she will not be used for propaganda. Commentators said that it showed that Clinton had "experience" and Obama did not. What it really showed was that Clinton is more of the same and Obama is right on this point.

In regrads to Chavez, anyone paying attention knows that Chavez has no love for Bush. Chavez also has no love for (and probably from) rich elites who think Chavez is wasting oil money on the poor rather than the rich as is done here in the US. I would lay a wager that if the next president of the US spoke respectfully to Chavez and treated him like the duly elected head of state that he is, we would not see another "I smell the devil" moment at the U.N. Obama, had he been on his game and about real different politics would have called out the Bush administration for supporting the abortive coup of the duly elected Hugo Chavez and that Hillary Clinton must not be in support of "democracy" if she thinks the same way as Bush in regards to Chavez.

But if anyone is confused about Mrs. Clinton, one should just go read the special report available over at counterpunch that shows exactly why Mrs. Clinton is not the "Democrat" folk think she is. Once you read that report her seemingly contradictory statements make a whole lot of sense.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Curtissss. Part 2

I wanted to revisit the "currtiss" post because I neglected to touch on one of 50's arguments regarding Hip Hop music, specifically the negative type, and movies. 50 cent has proffered the argument that movies such as Scarface and Goodfellas are more destructive to children and other people exposed to those forms of entertainment than a single track because the movie is two hours and a particular track is 4 minutes. Let's take look at that argument.
In my iTunes library I have discovered that the most played track I have is Musiq Soulchild's "Stop Playin'" which I have listened to 238 times since 5/7/2004 when it was added to my library. The track is 4:03. so I've listen to this track for 16.4 hours or .66 days.

By contrast Goodfellas is 145 minutes long. or 0.1 days long. In order for me to have the same exposure to Goodfellas as I have had to "Stopplayin" I would have to watch that movie 6 times.

Now imagine that my top listened to song was David Banner's "Like a Pimp" instead of Musiq's playful track? Now let's consider that in my top 25 played songs on my iPod amount to 4,465 plays. if we were to assume a track length of 4 minutes each that's a whopping 17,860 minutes or 297.6 hours or 12 days. So for my top 25 tracks, I would have had to watch Goodfellas 120 times. Now there are places where people listen to nothing but "gangster rap" all day. All day. If they are listening to this material all day AND watching gangster films, it doesn't take a genius to figure out what their basic thinking pattern is like.

Thus it is pretty clear that the impact of "a song" is just as damaging, if not worse, as a violent movie, simply based on the fact of the repetitive nature of most music listening. Something to think about.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007


There is an interview that Curtis Jackson AKA: 50 cent gave to Spin magazine. I want to dissect two portions of that interview. The first point is this one:

He gets up and asks me to follow him out of the recording studio and down the hallway. We enter a room where members of the G-Unit entourage are congregated. HBO is blaring from a wide-screen TV. A scowling Tony Yayo sits at a table to the right, his back against the wall, as he methodically constructs an enormous blunt. 50 Cent addresses the group.

Yo, let me ask you a question. People who have been incarcerated, for whatever reason, around us in the hood, how often do they watch movies like Menace to Society, Goodfellas, Casino, Scarface?

The entourage immediately barks answers: "All of them, all the time." "Repeatedly, repeatedly." "People watch Scarface 100 times a year, B." "Over and over and over."

Let me tell you this. He and his crew are NOT lying. I had a roommate at Tuskegee. Yes, folk, College man, who was ob-sessed with goodfellas. In fact he and his boys, from the stories I had been told, were doing their best to live a "legal" goodfellas life. It is not said enough times how influential Goodfellas, Godfather and it's ilk are on black youth. And believe it when 50 says it: Just about every one of these young men think that they will be the exception to the "jail or dead" rule. I will agree with 50 cent 100% that if we are going to discuss banning Hip Hop or certain types of Hip Hop, then Goodfellas,the Godfather series and all that need to be banned as well. If "we" are not going to do that then all the talk of "reforming" Hip Hop is simply blaming black folk for a problem we didn't make.

The next point is this:

You got people who are inspired by the music. They see it and they see where it comes from. You see this [holds up a platinum, bling-encrusted cross]? I don't wear this all the time. But when I go out in the street, I put it on. You know why? Because these kids, I'll blow their high if they see me without it. And they sure don't wanna fuckin' be you if you don't have the stuff that excited them about you in the first place.

So should kids look up to you?
If they're inspired by me. People who come from where I come from, I give them hope. I make them believe that what they want to achieve is actually possible. If they see me going from a space where I didn't have anything to a space where I have everything, they're inspired. But you can't tell people they should do what you've done, because everybody's made big mistakes. It's like, publicly, all the things I say are good, if you watch what I do. What I say on record is entertainment; but what I'm actually doing with my life and the things I've had the opportunity to do is what makes me inspiring.

I've had this "Ghetto Fab" discussion with many people. This ghetto fab thing is costing middle class and poor black people a whole lot and needs to be nullified by any means necessary. It is unfortunate that indiscriminate display of material wealth is what is required to motivate them. The very first problem with this is that as anyone with even a slightly critical eye will note, not everyone can be a multi-platinum selling MC. In fact You can probably count all current Top billing MC's on your hands. So with 30 million black folk in the US, the odds are severely stacked against anyone who wishes to enter the industry. Secondly there are many many millionaires out there who are not rockin' a blinged out cross. In fact most of us pass them everyday and have no clue. That's why black folk have so little wealth to pass on. We are, as a group, way way way to stuck on "demonstrating" wealth then actually gaining wealth. 50 cent is in a position where he can take the attention these young bucks are giving him and school them on real wealth building and maintenance.

Sekou Sundiate Joins Egun

Gifted Poet Sekou Sundiata
(August 22, 1948 -- July 18, 2007)
by Louis Reyes Rivera

On Wednesday, July 18, 2007, at 5:47a.m. (ET), poet Sekou Sundiata passed away. A highly esteemed performing poet, Mr. Sundiata wrote for print, performance, music and theater. Born Robert Franklin Feaster in Harlem, on August 22, 1948, Sundiata came of age as an artist during the Black Arts/Black Aesthetic movements of the 1960s and 1970s.

While attending the City College of New York (CCNY), where he began reciting poetry publicly, Sundiata converged with several other student activists, including once-mayoral candidate of Pittsburgh and longtime friend, Leroy Hodge, to form the basis for what soon became known as the Black and Puerto Rican Student Community of City College (BPRSC). This phalanx of 400 students soon made their own history, closing the 21,000-student campus during the Spring of 1969, to demand, among other things, that CCNY be renamed Harlem University. The net effect of the student takeover culminated in both an Open Admissions Policy that took effect in September 1970, the full legitimization of ethnic studies departments throughout the nation, as well as the requirement that all education majors within the City University take courses in African American History and to have Spanish as a Second Language.

Among his acknowledged mentors at City were Toni Cade Bambara, June Jordan, and fellow student Louis Reyes Rivera, with whom Sundiata helped to establish the first Black student newspaper in the City University, CCNY's The Paper. Their association would span close to forty years of mutual respect and admiration.

Upon completing his Bachelor's Degree (circa 1974), Sundiata enrolled and completed his Master's in Creative Writing while regularly producing community-based poetry readings that were known to draw SRO crowds. In 1976, his creative sensibilities, his innate organizing skills, and his associations with a convergent generation of excellent poets, musicians and dancers immediately led to a collaborative project he directed that would commemorate 100 years of Black struggle for freedom and Human Rights. Titled The Sounds of the Memory of Many Living People (1863-1876/ 1963-1976) , this production, which included upcoming novelist Arthur Flowers and such poets as Safiya Henderson-Holmes, BJ Ashanti, Tom Mitchelson, Louis Reyes Rivera, et al, was staged in Harlem over a period of two days, signaling much of what was to come from Sekou's sense of vision, steadily breaking ground for what was then a new literary genre,
Performance Poetry, fully anticipating elements of both Hip Hop Culture and Spoken Word Art.

In 1977, the aforementioned poets, along with Zizwe Ngafua, Rashidah Ismaili, Fatisha (Hutson), Sandra Maria Esteves, Akua Lezli Hope, Mervyn Taylor, and Sekou, among others, formed the Calabash Poets Workshop, which group signaled the arrival of a new literary heat in New York, regularly producing soirees and forums (1977-1983) that included all of the arts and culminated in a three-year attempt (1979-1982) to establish an independent Black Writers Union.

Upon the release of his first vinyl album (circa 1980), Are & Be, Sekou Sundiata was dubbed by Amiri Baraka as "the State of the Art." Since then, Mr. Sundiata established a longtime relationship with CCNY's Aaron Davis Performing Arts Center, through which venue he intermittently produced new material for the stage, consistently collaborating with musicians, dancers and actors. He was eventually selected for a number of earned fellowships, including a Sundance Institute Screenwriting Fellow, a Columbia University Revson Fellow, a Master Artist-in-Residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts (Florida), and as the first Writer-in-Residence at the New School University in New York, in which university's Eugene Lang College he remained a professor.

He was, as well, among those featured in the Bill Moyers' PBS series on poetry, The Language of Life, and in Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam on HBO.

Among several highly acclaimed performance theater works in which he served as both author and performer are: The Circle Unbroken is a Hard Bop, which toured nationally and received three AUDELCO Awards and a BESSIE Award; The Mystery of Love, commissioned and produced by New Voices/ New Visions at Aaron Davis Hall in New York City and the American Music Theater Festival in Philadelphia; and Udu, a music theater work produced by 651 ARTS in Brooklyn and presented by the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, the Walker Art Center and Penumbra Theater in Minneapolis, Flynn Center in Burlington, VT, the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, and Miami-Dade Community College in Florida. Throughout this period and since 1985, he developed a close association with co-collaborator and legendary trombonist Craig S. Harris.

blessing the boats, Sundiata's first solo theater piece, an exploration into his own personal battles with kidney failure, opened in November 2002 at Aaron Davis Hall, NYC. It has since been presented in more than 30 cities and continued to tour nationally. In March 2005, Sundiata produced The Gift of Life Concert, an organ donation public awareness event at the Apollo Theater that kicked off a three-week run of blessing the boats at the Apollo's SoundStage. in partnership with the Apollo Theater Foundation, the National Kidney Foundation and the New York Organ Donor Network with support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Since 2006, his the 51st (dream) state has been presented throughout the U.S. and in Australia. Both blessing the boats and the 51st (dream) state were produced in collaboration with MultiArts Projects and Productions (MAPP). In addition to working within community engagement activities at Harlem Stages/Aaron Davis Hall, the University of Michigan and University Musical Society (Ann Arbor, MI), the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, NC), the University of Texas Austin (Austin, TX), in Miami Dade College (Miami, FL), and the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis, Sundiata has appeared as a featured speaker and artist at the Imagining America Conference (Ann Arbor, MI), at the Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston, MA), and at the Pedagogy and Theater of the Oppressed Conference (Minneapolis, MN), among others. Prior to his demise, he was engaged in producing a DVD documenting the America Project for use by universities and presenters as a model for art and civic

In addition to the 1979 Are & Be album, Sundiata's other releases include a second album, The Sounds of the Memory of Many Living People, and two CDs, The Blue Oneness of Dreams, nominated for a Grammy Award, and longstoryshort. Each of these works are rich with the sounds of blues, funk, jazz and African and Afro-Caribbean percussion, with the latter two featuring Craig Harris.

He is survived by his mother, Virginia Myrtle Feaster, his wife, Maurine Knighton, daughter Myisha Gomez, stepdaughter Aida Riddle, grandson Aman, brothers William Walter Feaster and Ronald Eugene Feaster, as well as a host of relatives, admirers, students and friends.

A private funeral service of family and friends is scheduled for Saturday, July 21, and a commemorative celebration of his life and work is scheduled to take place on August 22, his birthday, at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Opera House. Details to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in the name of Sekou Sundiata to the New York Organ Donor Network or to the National Kidney Foundation.

A Note on the War on Terror

Last night I lay contemplating, of all things, the supposed war on Terror. I try not to post too much on the subject since just about every political blogger is doing so and quite frankly I'm pretty surprised that Bush is not in court right now on treason charges, but anyway.

I did want to point out the following:

In the time between the invasion of Iraq and now, George Bush has gotten more US citizens killed than were killed on 9-11. Think on that for a minute. Mr. Bush has no problem with being directly responsible for over 3,000 deaths of US citizens (and perhaps some wanna-be citizens)in his completely illegal war in Iraq, but Cynthia McKinney is "nuts" for suggesting that this same person would have failed to prevent the 9-11 Attacks. Just think about that for a second. I won't even get into Iraqi casualties since, any head of state that is not particularly disturbed by getting US citizens killed in an illegal war, is not particularly concerned with the fate of Iraqis.

The second thing of note is the clearly absurd claim that the war in Iraq has made the US safer. It is common knowledge among at least the media that the so called "Al-qaida in Iraq" did not exist prior to the illegal invasion of Iraq. Understand that: No A-Q in Iraq before invasion or even 9-11. Now there is not only an A-Q in Afghanistan, but there is an AQ in Pakistan and Iraq. So there is more A-Q NOW then there was prior to 9-11. So the actions of the Commander in Chief has exacerbated the issue of A-Q and yet and still he has support.

Pretty sad state of affairs.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Lamest Excuse for N-Word Usage

So a friend of mine send me this link right here:

So I'm reading this piece and it appears that Roger Williams University chairman Ralph Papitto, was in a board meeting and became frustrated at the pressures of increasing the diversity of the university's Board. At first I was like: yeah, there we go with another white person who let what was on his mind pass his mouth. But then I read some more and stumbled on this:

He said he had never used the term before.

"The first time I heard it was on television and then rap music or something," Papitto told WPRO.


What 80 year old in the United States has learned of the "N-word" from Rap music? Is this some kind of joke. It's bad enough he let the mental chains loose. Now he wants to do an Imus and put that on Hip Hop? Unless this cat is a regular viewer of uncensored Rap concerts he ain't heard a single utterance of the N-WORD on the public airwaves 'cause the FCC is NOT having that. But that is entirely besides the point. This "gentleman" has been on the board of this school for 40 years. It is 2007 that means this cat has been sitting on this board since 1967, and he first heard the "N-word" in a rap song?

Exactly what kind of fool does he take me for?

When I was in elementary school (Corlears) I was called an "N-word" to my face by a 3rd grader. That was the 70's. If a 3rd grader knew the word then no way, no how does Papitto get to say he got it "recently" off of TV.

At least be a man about the issue and admit that the word has been floating in your head for at least 40 years.

Monday, July 16, 2007

African Union Vs. Pan-Africanism.

I haven't been posting here because I've been over at discussing the recent AU summit and Pan-Africanism. I want to address the subject here because of a few things that I have experienced during that conversation. The first thing is that I noticed that much of the coverage of the AU Summit was by people who are NOT Pan-Africanists. Simply because one is interested in Africa does not make one a Pan-Africanist. If there are going to be discussions of Pan-Africanism, it would seem appropriate to me to actually find Pan-Africanists to discuss the issue. Now back in Garvey's day the press could easily find him and ask him about Pan-Africanism. Equally they could ask his wife about the same and get an actual Pan-Africanist's position on the subject. Today, in the absence of 'high profile" Pan-Africanists, just about any and everyone with an opinion can be asked about Pan-Africanism and be taken at their word. It's similar to how I've noticed how at some colleges and universities "anyone" who is black is offered the luxury of teaching a "racism" course, as if all black people are qualified to teach the matter in an in depth and critical manner. It cheapens the subject. Similarly talking to people about Pan-Africanism, who only have questions rather than people who have spent a lot of time coming up with answers is pretty much a waste of time.

Pan-Africanism is not an intellectual exercize as it has been reduced to in many universities. Pan-Africanism is a structural working framework for action in regards to the multiple issues facing African people world wide. I spent some time last year at a "Pan-Africanism" conference at a ivy league university that shall remain unnamed, where there was much discussion of African culture, art and some politics but nothing that I would classify as Pan-Africanism. Garveyism, the earliest functional expression of Pan-Africanism, was most profound in it's insistence on action. It was about problem solving and making hard decisions in order to achieve stated goals. Gareyism stressed the point that the African, if he did not "wake up", would fall further and further behind other people and fall into a state of dependency. Garvey famously used the phrase "in 50 years..." This indicated that Garvey was well aware in the 1920's that time was indeed short for the African.

Studying the programme of the UNIA one would note that Garvey was heavy on the need for technical expertise. This is very evident with the Black Star Line Corporation as well as the Black Star Factories and the like. While there were clear execution issues with these ventures, Garvey understood full well that engagement with the modern world was important. Another thing that Garveyism and indeed what is the underlying premise of Pan-Africanism is the end to things such as "tribalism". The trans-Atlantic slave trade had the side effect of creating a group of Africans who were "de-tribalized". The realities of white supremacy as well as the reality of transplantation required that the African in the Americas to become conscious of that which he had in common with each other: being African. Unfortunatly the situation in Africa proper was not amenable to the same issue. Yes, the continental African came to understand that he was looked down upon for being black, but the colonial system made use of the fractionalization of various African groups in order to facilitate control. So while the continental African could unite to overthrow colonial systems, They quickly fell into ethnic power grabs Such as that which we saw in Kenya, Zimbabwe, The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola.

Fanon warned us about the failure to create a national consciousness. We can apply this same critique to Pan-Africanism. We as Pan-Africanists must be vigilant to raise the consciouness of black people as Africans first and whatever else, be it religion or ethnic affiliation second, third, fourth, etc. This brings me to the issue of the "failed" African Summit. If you want to find out who is a Pan-Africanist and who is not, simply look for those who use the differences among Africans as an excuse to not do anything at all. And, unfortunately these are usually the same people who will do the complaining when Europeans do something they don't like. You see, the Garveyite doesn't want to know when the oppressor will stop being the oppressor. The Garveyite understands full well that the oppressor will continue to oppress AND will convince certain persons to join them in the oppressing for material gain. Knowing this, we don't waste our time bickering over what the oppressor needs to do, We ask when and what are we going to do to prevent the oppressors from continuing to oppress us.

This the primary reason why many people got mad at Bill Cosby. It is currently not popular to critique black folk unless they are obviously toming for white folk. Bill Cosby decided in his presentation to focus on what WE should be doing to get the oppressor off of our backs and how to avoid the traps set by the oppressor. People got mad at him because he didn't spend enough time speaking on the well known evils of the oppressor. They wanted the standard: use the oppressor's behavior to explain your own speeches that we always get. Thing is, if one is familiar with Garvey's speeched (both Marcus and Amy) you will see stining critiques of black behavior from top to bottom. Self critique is part and parcel of Pan-Africanism. Clearly if we were perfect people we would have everything solved by now. But getting back to the African summit, You'll note a number of questions about forming a Pan-African government many of which are permutations of:

1) There are many cultures within Africa how do you integrate them?
2) What to do with the current "leadership"?
3) What languages will be official?
4) What form of government?

Really not important questions when one considers the alternative. In terms of different peoples: AIDS doesn't care. Nor does China or any multi-national corporation. In fact the more Africans are concerned with their own ethnic identity over and above the common good the better it is for these entities. Corporations love when nations in poor countries split up along ethnic lines. Smaller groups are easier to control and exploit. We should know better from the Atlantic slave trade. Secondly do you really think a hungry child or unemployed man or woman is really all that concerned whether the job or food comes from Nigeria or Chad? Really? is it all THAT important?

In terms of the current leadership it is my opinion that if they were really leaders then Pan-Africanism wouldn't be a discussion it would be a reality. Not necessarily smooth running and all, but it would be set up. It is NOT that hard. As I've stated in other forums, the current presidents would be governors of their particular state (formerly country). They would be doing much like they do already (with hopefully less corruption).

In terms of language support, since we know that much of the continent speaks English and French and the same goes for much of the diaspora I have already suggested that these languages be adopted as official means of communication. They should, in my opinion be used side by side with dominant regional languages in the various states (Kiswahili, Zulu, etc.) Arabic may even need to be included here. Some people have said that this is some kind of internal imperialism. I disagree, cultures and languages come and go. The more we hold on to languges that are essentially dead, the more communication problems we'll face. it is of the utmost importance that one be able to go anywhere in the federated state and be able to communicate and transact business. Until there is an affordable and usable "universal translator" the need for official languages is going to be present. The ego's of those on the "losing end" of the language issue may present a problem. That, to me, is an issue of education. Why would any group wish to harm the whole because of language?

Be careful when one reads critiques of Pan-Africanism that is large on critique and short on solutions. The unfortunate truth is that many black people have been trained to complain. They are trained to see what everyone else is doing to them or doing wrong and to complain about it. They can tell you what they want to see but most cannot even start to discuss how to get from point a to b. Many of the people that opposed and ridiculed Garvey ended up being advocates of Pan-Africanism (Dubois comes to mind). Even the NAACP, members of whom colaborated with the US government to get rid of Garvey has been endorsing "Black business" as a means of "advancement."Yet this same organization ridiculed Garvey for setting up trans national steam ship companies and having the gall to sell stock to the common person.

There are also those that unfortunately see an African State as an imitation of The EU. While this may be true in terms of the current so called leadership, Garveyism and even the ideas of Edward Blyden preceded the EU by many decades. The EU has been formed with the same thought that Garvey had for a United Africa: To protect it's market and its citizens against aggressive competition. If we must compare the proposed African state with the EU, let us note that even though there are differences in opinion over the founding principles and some technicalities, the EU has not been stopped from forming. Meanwhile Africans will sit and bring up all manner of objections and excuses for not even starting.

I am of the opinion that rather than wait for all the "heads of state" to "agree" that a few pioneering nations go ahead and do it. They should get together and form whatever committees are necessary. They should put whatever they need to before their populations. They should form the advance guard of the African super state. open borders, singular passport, aligned currency. New decision making bodies with appropriate representation from each member "state". It may take time but it is NOT THAT HARD. Lets stop dickering around and ego tripping. Our children will thank us.

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I saw Sicko this weekend. Let me tell you, Americans ought to be ashamed of themselves that they tolerate such a backward ass system of medicine simply because they have been made to fear communism and socialism. That a hospital actually puts unhealed patients into a cab and drops them off at a homeless shelter because they don't have health insurance is OUT of Effin order! I had no idea that type of tripe was going on here in the States. US citizens ought to be effin embarassed to even open their mouths about countries with so called "socialized" medicine. "We" and I mean "we" loosely can find billions to drop bombs on Iraq, but cannot fully insure every citizen? WTF? W.T.F?

And to that dick who runs a website that slanders Michael Moore. I hope that he has stopped his junk since it is now public knowlege that Mr. Moore (a better person than I) paid for his wife's surgery. If he hasn't he isn't worth the dust under his feet.

Bravo Mr. Moore. This film was better than 9-11.

[edit: 4 PM] I was reading an online forum where a poster said that regardless of what party was in office, Freedoms are taken away. The freedom at the top of his list was the "freedom to have all the money you earn". This is the central problem with why the US has an ass backwards healthcare system and thinks it's OK to put a sick patient in a cab and drop them off on a corner somewhere. Americans, specifically rich and wanna be rich Americans do not want to pay taxes. I do not understand the sheer greed that someone has to have where they earn say $300,000 a year and has a problem with paying taxes on that in order to pay for say, education and healthcare. I simply do not understand that type of sheer greed. It is not like even after a 50% tax on that $300,000, that individual would be hurting (unless they simply have no clue how to use money). I have a standing order with my accountant: No funny business. I have serious issues with what my money is going towards, but I'm not opposed to paying my taxes. We don't need tax cuts, we need tax reforms that has these corporations paying into the system in proportion to everybody else (seeing as how corporations are deemed "people"). We also spending reform starting with the defense department. It is simply unconscionable that the military can get what amounts to money on demand, when school systems are failing and people are getting tossed into cabs by hospitals. No, It's unconscionable that people actually go bankrupt because they got sick. [edit]

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Brown V Board Revisited

Today I've read quite a few articles by the usual talking heads regarding the recent Supreme Court decision, the worst of which charged the betrayal of Thurgood Marshall. While I don't claim to know what Thurgood Marshall would have decided on this case, I do wish to revisit the topic because thus far, all the talking heads have been outright wrong in their characterization of the return of Plessy V. Furguson in the wake of the recent decision. The reason for this is the complete misunderstanding of the Brown V. Board decision, which none of the talking heads I've read have even bothered to quote. I will direct the reader to the text of the decision here. Let's take a look at the decision so that we understand just exactly what the point of the decision was and was not.

These cases come to us from the States of Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware. They are premised on different facts and different local conditions, but a common legal question justifies their consideration together in this consolidated opinion.

In each of the cases, minors of the Negro race, through their legal representatives, seek the aid of the courts in obtaining admission to the public schools of their community on a nonsegregated basis.

Note that the case here dealt with a challenge to the states in question having legally separated schools for students soley on the basis of race and regardless of the geographic location of the student in question. In other words, a middle class black student who may be far away from the "black" school would end up at the black school (not that such a thing was common).

In each instance, they had been denied admission to schools attended by white children under laws requiring or permitting segregation according to race. This segregation was alleged to deprive the plaintiffs of the equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment. In each of the cases other than the Delaware case, a three-judge federal district court denied relief to the plaintiffs on the so-called "separate but equal" doctrine announced by this Court in Plessy v. Fergson, 163 U.S. 537. Under that doctrine, equality of treatment is accorded when the races are provided substantially equal facilities, even though these facilities be separate. In the Delaware case, the Supreme Court of Delaware adhered to that doctrine, but ordered that the plaintiffs be admitted to the white schools because of their superiority to the Negro schools...

We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other "tangible" factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does.

Again, the question is whether legal segregation of students, that is forced separation of various races of students, deprive students of equal educational opportunities. And you'll note that they asked not if white students are "deprived" but whether "minority" students are deprived. In other words, the court believed that white students were doing just fine in their educational settings.

In Sweatt v. Painter, supra, in finding that a segregated law school for Negroes could not provide them equal educational opportunities, this Court relied in large part on "those qualities which are incapable of objective measurement but which make for greatness in a law school." In McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents, supra, the Court, in requiring that a Negro admitted to a white graduate school be treated like all other students, again resorted to intangible considerations: ". . . his ability to study, to engage in discussions and exchange views with other students, and, in general, to learn his profession."

Again, you find that the issue is whether the "negro" can fully cooperate in the functions of school just as a "model" white student could. Clearly if a school is segregated, then the student cannot fully cooperate and therefore does not have equal access to the same educational experiences that is afforded to white students.

To separate them from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone.

Here we have the infamous "Negroes feel inferior by being separated from white students" statement. Clearly the court did not feel that white students were feeling inferior by being separated because of their race. They didn't think that white students were feeling inferiority complexes about their communities either. Here's the proof:

Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law, for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the negro group.A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn. Segregation with the sanction of law, therefore, has a tendency to [retard] the educational and mental development of negro children and to deprive them of some of the benefits they would receive in a racial[ly] integrated school system.

Again, we have the implied inferiorization of "Negro" students made possible by laws creating segregated educational institutions.

We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. This disposition makes unnecessary any discussion whether such segregation also violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment...

We have now announced that such segregation is a denial of the equal protection of the laws.

Again, the issue at hand was equal protection under the 14th amendment. Not diversity. Not anything else. Equal protection. Legally sending black students to black schools due simply to their race was a denial of due process and equal protection. That also meant that sending white students to a school simply because they are white is ALSO a denial of equal protection. The ruling cut both ways. It is simply the fact that everyone was focused on the poor downtrodden Negro, to see it until now. The thing is that the whole "diversity" thing got attached to Brown as if THAT was the point of the decision. It was not and anyone who says so has either not read the decision or does not understand what it meant.

What the hand wringers are actually concerned about is the Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education case which established bussing as a legal means of integrating school systems. What this recent decision does is deal with the following specific point of the Swann case:

(2) One-race schools. While the existence of a small number of one-race, or virtually one-race, schools does not in itself denote a system that still practices segregation by law, the court should scrutinize such schools and require the school authorities to satisfy the court that the racial composition does not result from present or past discriminatory action on their part. Pp. 25-26.

An optional majority-to-minority transfer provision has long been recognized as a useful part of a desegregation plan, and to be effective such arrangement must provide the transferring student free transportation and available space in the school to which he desires to move. Pp. 26-27.

You will note that the "majority" student must "desire" to move. The case recently decided was clearly about students (and parents) who did NOT desire to be transported. Again it is clear that once a student is forced to attend a school SOLEY on the basis of their race, that the act is unconstitutional. Period. That is clear from the original Brown decision.

Also of importance in the Swann decision is:

8. Neither school authorities nor district courts are constitutionally required to make year-by-year adjustments of the racial composition of student bodies once a unitary system has been achieved. Pp. 31-32.

What does a "unitary system" mean? It means that the school system and resources are equitably allocated. Once that is done there is no constitutional requirement to intervene.

The result of this decision and the Brown II and III decisions was that people became focused on how many black bodies were in which schools and any school that had too many black bodies was deemed segregated. Failure to understand that the patterns of residency is what fuels so called "segregation" is lost on most people. Simply put you go to school near to where you live. There is no legal bar to any black student going to any public school. Therefore there is no return of Plessy V. Ferguson. What we have is actually a return to the fundamental issue that needed to be addressed: the proper funding of school systems regardless of geographic location. The problem with majority black schools is not that there are a majority of black students there, it is that the usual economic situation is that which results in a poorer educational experience. The hand wringers are busy seeing that each and every instance of majority black school systems (and it is black folk business they are always meddling in) as a result of past segregation or current redlining. Yes it is definitely the case that much of the housing patterns in the US are a result of past discrimination, BUT, it should be equally clear that busing students here there and everywhere has not done squat to change those living patterns. It is a matter of fact that the majority of black people such as those in Queens, NY, are quite fine choosing to live around other black people just like the Asians like to live in Flushing. If white parents want their kids to go to school with black kids, let them move into black neighborhoods and send their kids to the local school. Black parents have been doing that for decades. It's called moving into a "good school district" and every parent knows the game. You need to have the bucks to play that game. There's that problem again: Bucks.

So when you hear and read these talking head people (mostly so called "liberals") digging up Thurgood Marshall and the spectre of Plessy, know that they have absolutely no clue. None. And on a side note, ask how many of them went to an HBCU? expect a very very very low number.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Father's Day Tribute to Marcus Garvey

I missed this in my preparations for my trip to Miami, but d-sekou of the deskrat Chronicles has an excellent tribute to Marcus Garvey on his blog. Check it out.

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To Be Male, Connected and White: American Big Man again

The Bush administration has, once again shown it's stripes. While young black men and women get automatic 20+ year prison sentences for holding a vial of crack cocaine and white female students get slaps on the wrist for doing numerous illegal narcotics, "Scooter" Libby gets his jail sentence commuted by US President Bush because Bush felt that the sentence was "too much".

When I first started the American Big Man series in response to the clear violation of the FISA laws, some "conservatives" namely the blogger at No Oil for Pacifists, went to bat for the administration. I found it troubling that so called "law and order" Republicans would be so quick to cover for a clear violation of basic constitutional rights of all citizens (regardless of political affiliation). I knew that when a President, or any other office holder believes that the law does not apply to them, that the entire system is in trouble and the abuses would just continue and continue. Mind you the abuses of the Bush administration started long before the NSA wiretapping, but that case was so clear cut that I mistakenly thought that not even the worst of the so called "conservatives" would stand for an attack on the most basic of constitutional protections from the hated "big government". Boy was I wrong. What is probably even sadder than the Republican capitulation to a criminal president has been the about face of the Democratic party and specifically John Conyers, on the issue of impeachment. But that is off topic.

When Lil Kim was convicted of perjury and sent to jail, I wasn't sad. She knew she was lying and was too dumb to realize that there was evidence that would prove that she was lying. All to keep some kind of street cred. Send her butt to jail I said. You lie you go to jail. When Martha Stewart was sent off for lying about her stock deals. I was cool with that too. We want people to be honest with the justice system, because the truth is what "keeps" the system "honest". I put those items in quotes because I'm very much aware that the system is not honest, but work with me here. Even Paris Hilton got hers for breaking the law. Bush and Co. knew full well that the American populace was not having it, in the case of early releases for celebrities or rich people.

Bush, who has seen fit to have mentally ill people executed, felt that "scooter" Libby's sentence was too extreme for the crime. I guess that since libby wasn't holding a crack vial on a corner of Martin Luther King Blvd. he didn't "deserve" to be put in jail. Jail is for poor people, women and the unconnected. But there is more to the libby commutation than meets the eye. Libby was the fall guy. He fell on his sword for Cheney. The plan was to have Libby out on appeal and any other scheme until the after the next election. Then Bush was to pardon Libby when he was headed out the door. However, the judge was not having the whole game playing and was to promptly put Libby in the big house. Bush had to then make good on his deal with his boys. It's not like Bush has a popularity rating to worry about.

Knowing this, it should be clear to anyone watching that this is a gang we're dealing with here. We can call it the Bush Mob. Personally I think that had the Democrats gone forward with impeachment, the Libby thing would have gone a whole lot differently since when criminals are under pressure it's every man for himself.

Some people point out that Libby is still a convicted felon and has that 250,000 fine to pay. First off. Libby is Rich and has rich friends who clearly sympathize with him. Unlike the unfortunate black men of Newark, NJ and in other 'hoods across America, Libby's felony record will not preclude him from real gainful employment. I smell a book in the works that will make him a couple of million. I also smell not a few speaking gigs worth many grands. I also foresee that some of the connected friends of his will kick in with some ends to pay down that debt. No, Libby was walking around with smiles 'cause the worst he had to worry about was jail.

The funniest thing about this whole thing is that Bush ran on a platform of bringing integrity back to the office of the presidency which was a reference to Monica Lewinsky. Yet this president has done more to tarnish the office of the presidency than Clinton ever did and I'm not even a Clinton fan. It shows the serious sexual hang-ups that a large number of Americans have, to have made a huge issue of Clinton getting head in the oval office, but can not even work up a stink over the assault on their basic constitutional rights.

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