Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The DeskRat Strikes again

D-sekou has struck again with an excellent post on the goings on in the Sudan
Filming While Innnocent

In America one can be stopped, searched, arrested, put in police line ups for simply, walking while black. Since 9-11 one can be detained for simply Walking While Turbaned. Today the NYT gave us an example of Filming While Innocent. This is a nice example of why the Supreme Court is asleep at the wheel.


e was a Buddhist from Nepal planning to return there after five years of odd jobs at places like a Queens pizzeria and a Manhattan flower shop. He was taping New York street scenes to take back to his wife and sons in Katmandu. And he had no clue that the tall building that had drifted into his viewfinder happened to include an office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation..

the Nepalese man, who spoke almost no English, had been placed in solitary confinement at a federal detention center in Brooklyn just because of his videotaping...

Mr. Bajracharya was finally returned to Nepal on Jan. 13, 2002. By then he had spent almost three months in a 6-by-9-foot cell kept lighted 24 hours a day. The unit of the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn where he was kept has become notorious for the abuses documented there by the Justice Department's own inspector general, who found a pattern of physical and mental mistreatment of post-9/11 detainees. Videotapes showed officers slamming detainees into walls, mocking them during unnecessary strip-searches, and secretly taping their conversations with lawyers....

Mr. Bajracharya recalled the fear, humiliation and despair he had experienced in prison. "I had nothing but tears in my eyes," he said through a translator. "The only thing I knew, I was innocent, but I didn't know what was happening."

He said he was stripped naked in the federal jail. "I was manhandled and treated badly," he said, becoming agitated. "I was very, very embarrassed even to look around, because I was naked."

The ordeal began when his videotaping aroused the suspicions of two detectives from the Queens district attorney's office, which has space in the same 12-story building where the F.B.I. occupies three floors. After taking him inside for questioning, they called upstairs to the F.B.I., and Mr. Wynne was dispatched to take over the interrogation. With no translator, Mr. Bajracharya tried to explain himself to half a dozen law enforcement officers, including two federal agents from the Immigration and Naturalization Service who verified his illegal immigration status.

It was Mr. Wynne, as the lead F.B.I. agent, who sent him to the federal detention center in Brooklyn pending a thorough investigation. The F.B.I. agent, now 50, describes himself as a lifelong New Yorker who does not take illegal immigration lightly. His specialty is international art fraud, not terrorism.
[but he apparently is qualified enough to grab up a man off the street -GG] But at a time of heightened anxiety about another terrorist attack, he maintained, it was reasonable to suspect the worst until he could check the man's history, discrepancies in his identity documents and questions about money wired to Nepal....

How is this really different from KGB secret police that Americans loved to thumb thier noses at Russia about? The whole thing stinks because he did not commit a crime. There was no probable cause to even take the man inside. Filming, regardless of purpose is not a crime. Why not just arrest people for driving their cars since driving could be a way to kill many people at one time. You think that won't happen?
Check This from Alternet:

Legislation weaving its way through the US Congress demands all 50 states pass laws granting police the power to drug test drivers and arrest anyone found to have "any detectable amount of a controlled substance ... present in the person's body, as measured in the person's blood, urine, saliva, or other bodily substance." Though the expressed purpose of the law is to target and remove drug-impaired drivers from US roadways, the proposal would do nothing of the sort.

Most troubling, the proposed law -- H.R. 3922 -- does not require motorists to be identifiably impaired or intoxicated in order to be criminally charged with the crime of "drugged driving." Rather, police have only to demonstrate that the driver has detectable levels of illicit drugs or inactive drug metabolites in their blood, sweat, saliva or urine. As many pot smokers know, marijuana metabolites are fat soluble, and remain identifiable in the urine for days and sometimes even weeks after past use. Consequently someone who smoked a joint on Monday could conceivably be arrested on Friday and charged with "drugged driving," even though they are perfectly sober!

Again, Where is the probable cause? So you're speeding and an officer will demand a sample of your blood or urine? For what? Speeding is not indicative of illicit drug use. In fact other than a demonstrated impairment of ability you cannot have probable cause to believe someone may be on drugs. But ahaaa we gave that one up when we approved of random DUI checks didn't we? And we thought it would stop there. it is a very dangerous thing when government get's expanded "judicial" and "enforcement" powers. to paraphrase an IBM commercial:

"But you don't get it, so you fret"


Tuesday, June 29, 2004

The Supreme Court: What Constitution are they Upholding?

The Supreme Court of the US made few light decisions recently. I say light because it was clear to me that not much thinking went on in the justices heads. Not that there should have been much thinking because the cases were quite clear, but methinks that the Justices plain forgot that it is there job to make sure that the government abides by the constitution. Over at counterpunch There is an article entitled: Hamdi, Padilla and Rasul v. Rumsfeld and Bush Who Really Won? By ELAINE CASSEL which explains how the Supreme Court completely messed up.

Quote 1:
Padilla, recently vilified by a highly-placed Department of Justice attorney, is the American citizen arrested on a material witness warrant in Chicago two years ago. The government's story then was that he was planning to detonate a dirty bomb. Attorney General John Ashcroft held a press conference and announced the incarceration of Padilla and told us what a dangerous man he was. Of course, if they had evidence that he was planning to detonate a dirty bomb, they would have charged him with a host of crimes, and tried him. But they never charged him with anything. What does that tell you? A couple of weeks ago, Ashcroft sent out one of his top deputies to change the story on Padilla. That story may have influenced the Court's decision, though we will never know this. Though the official denied that the press conference-at which he announced that Padilla had "confessed" to plotting to blow up high-rise apartment buildings-may have been held when it was to punctuate the government's belief that Padilla was a very, very dangerous man. So if he is so dangerous, why is he not being charged.

This is very important to understand. Padilla, and thereby anyone, can be arrested and detained, without being charged for being "suspected" of anything. Lest one think I am being alarmist, remember that Blacks travelling along InterState 95 are stopped more times than whites travelling the same route and have thier property searched for drugs even though Blacks use and yes, sell, drugs less than whites do AND blacks make up far less a proportion of those travelling that corridor. Hence the government is already apt to "illegally" stop people on unspecified "suspicion." In any case, the law (used to) require(s) that you be given a timely trial and due process regardless of what crime you have supposedly been charged with. The Bush administration has thrown this out by detaining people and not charging them with anything. How is this possible?

Quote 2:
The majority opinion was written by Justice O'Connor, and we all know what that means-a tortured crafting of facts cobbled to law that tries to give everybody something. A little here, a little there. He is what we got: The Congress gave the President the authority to detain anyone involved with fighting with al Qaeda or the Taliban when it voted for war in Afghanistan.

Ahaaaaa. See This is why every and anyone must be declared a part of the All inclusive Al-Q. Let's remember the nice quote given by representative Conyers to Michael Moore: "Son sit down, we don't read most bills.." There we have it. The persons voted into office (not by me) to protect "our" interests handed Bush the ability to suspend Habeus Corpus when they handed him the wide powers to "deal with" Al-Q. So by giving Bush the ability to detain without charging anyone with a crime, Congress, in one fell swoop gave up the power to declare war AND suspended Habeus Corpus. Now the Supreme Court steps in a validates what happend. Clearly the Supreme Court should have exercized it's power to negate such a decision by Congress but it did not. in doing so they failed to uphold the basic principles of the constitution. They did not do their jobs ( second time for everything).

Lastly, the Supreme Court turned the supposition of innocence on it's head:

Quote 3:
he can file a petition for writ of habeas corpus, challenging his detention. Ah, but the government gets the benefit of the doubt in such a hearing. It puts forth is conclusory affidavit, like the one cranky Judge Doumar in Richmond did not like one bit, and Hamdi gets to try-just try, if he can-to prove them wrong. Yes, the burden will be on Hamdi to prove the government's allegations against him to be wrong. Now that will be kind of difficult, won't it, since Hamdi has been incarcerated for going on three years, has no contact with anyone in the outside world, and will have a hell of a time coming up with the witnesses to refute the conclusion of the government that he was indeed fighting with the Taliban or al Qaeda against the U.S. Let's see, even if he knew people to subpoena to support an alibi-if he has one-federal marshals don't serve subpoenas in Afghanistan.

Here lies the third leg of the conspiracy. once detained, but not charged, the (what do we call them) can petition a court. But all the government has to do is say the magoc phrase: Al-Q and "terrorism suspect" and that's it. The court assumes the government to be right simply's the government. Never mind that the founder explictly wrote the constitution to prevent the very actions mentioned above. this is the problem with Pre-emptive detention. No one has committed any crime. They are being held for what they think, say or believe. None of these are crimes. If Padilla was in fact going to blow up apartment buildings then the FBI or whatever org. should have tailed him until he was almost ready to commit the crime in question and then move in arrest and charge him for what he did.

But that makes too much sense.


Monday, June 28, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11

No. I have not seen the movie. Why? I hate and despise lines. I knew it would be packed so I didn't even bother. I will probably see it this week. What I wanted to point out was the following found at Alternet in an article entitled: Moore Light, Moore heat.

DISNEY'S EFFORT TO CENSOR MICHAEL MOORE: At the direction of CEO Michael Eisner (who is a Bush campaign contributor), the Walt Disney Company prohibited its Miramax division from distributing "Fahrenheit 911." The company enjoys a cozy relationship with President Bush's brother, Jeb. As governor of Florida, Jeb Bush serves as a trustee for the state employees' pension fund. That fund owns approximately 7.3 million shares of Disney stock. Eisner told reporters he was refusing to distribute the film because Disney is "such a nonpartisan company, do not look for us to take sides."

...DAVID BOSSIE'S HYPOCRISY: The conservative front group "Citizens United," which is headed by Clinton attacker David Bossie, is trying to get the Federal Election Commission to intervene and censor advertising for "Fahrenheit 9/11". Just two years ago, however, it was Bossie who led the charge against FEC interventions. On 6/12/02, The Hill newspaper reported him saying his group feels "FEC rules and regulations are abhorrent...they restrict the American people's ability to have an influence in politics."

The first paragraph had a big 'duh" factor about it. but that second one was a nice surprise. As soon as the news broke last week that certain republicans wanted the ads for F-9:11 to be pulled ahead of the Presidential Elections, I smelled a rat. To have these people exposed for the two faced rats they are is nice. "it's about the rules" said David on ABCNews. yes I'm sure it is.

Back at the Ranch

D-sekou over at The Deskrat has an excellent post regarding the "culling" of the Black voter roles. Check him out.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

The Color Complex

Those of us who are of African descent know that due to the desire of whites to be "pure" they disowned their own offspring. as a result "black" people (and I use the term loosely here) come in "all shades" (very contradictory but...). Some spec of humanity in those early folks caused a general attitude that showed a preference for these persons, not necessarily because they were light but but at the very least because they were in fact children of whites. There are many exceptions to this but I'm not trying to write a thesis on the matter. As a result of this and other social issues there became in many ex-slave and ex-colonial societies a color system that also generally demarcated a economic and social status where the darker one was the more likely one was poor and of a lower economic status. Indeed in the United States Marcus Garvey noted that the NAACP had a habit of putting light skinned men and women in the front offices. This also resulted in friction between members of this "race." Please do note that it was not the decision by the blacks in the US to included any person with some black in them as black but rather a socially imposed decision by whites. Thus it is in fact a continuation of that imposition, when blacks discuss unity "within the race" when it concerns the "many shades." One way to confirm this would be to read the interview of Thandee Newton, who's mother is from southern Africa ( The exact location escapes me) and she stated that she was not considered black by her mothers people. However upon moving to England she was considered African, and in the states "mistook" for an African American. Confusing indeed. Anyway, many blacks are unaware of how pervasive the color complex is. Today I read an article in Indo Link entitled Color Complex In The South Asian Diaspora where author Francis C. Assi discusses interviews he had with woman and men from South Asia:

Nasir, a twenty-two year old from New York has this to say of his preference for fair skin: “Would I personally be attracted to lighter-skinned Desi girls? Of course. I mean, it’s natural to find those girls more beautiful, to tell you the truth.”

Sahar, a nineteen-year-old Desi from New Jersey, bemoans the plight of the single girl deemed unattractive: “If a girl has a major flaw, she’s just stuck. It’s sad but . . . in society, if a girl is extremely overweight or extremely underweight, if she’s very, very dark complected. These are all physical things, just physical abnormalities.”

Grewal has noted in her study that ‘particular physical qualities are always fetishized in constructions of beauty. However, in these communities, the stigma attached to dark color intersects with broader racial discourses in the U.S. That’s why a Desi mother of three daughters in their twenties, explicitly refers to dark coloring as a physical abnormality and deficiency.’

As another informant, Sultana, says: “Well, in [South] Asian communities, because there are so many shades, most everyone prefers light skin. And if they are dark, they have to at least be charming and pleasant looking. If they are not, then they are in big trouble. And it is much, much worse here than in India and Pakistan because over there if you are ugly . . . if you have any kind of deficiency than at least you can make it up with money. “O.K. my daughter’s not beautiful, but I can give you a house.” But here no one needs money. They all have money and so they can’t compensate deficiency with money. See, we parents are afraid [of our children marrying dark skinned mates] because, if not for this generation, then the next generation, our grandchildren. Because dark color is dominant over light color . . . and the children will carry the dark color [because it] is a dominating feature . . . and it stays over the generations.”

What I found revealing about this article was how dark skin was spoken of as a physical deformity. It is quite clearly known that the non-production of skin pigment is not only a genetic recessive, it is also a type of albinism ( as any person with vitiligo can tell you). As much as I've heard blacks talk about skin color I have never ever heard it referred to as a physical deformity. Clearly there are higher levels of self-hate out there.


Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Welcome D-Sekou

Our good friend D-Sekou who has graced us with commentary every now and then has joined us in blogdom. You can check him out via our links section he's the DeskRat

Friday, June 18, 2004

What is a "civilian'

Today it appears that Paul M. Johnson was beheaded by "Al-Qaida Militants.' Many people are very disgusted by this and understandably so. However once one has gotten over the queasiness of beheading we need to realize something. Mr/. Johnson worked for Lockheed-Martin. Lockheed Martin is one of the largest defense contractors in America ( if not the world). It supplies the US with the infamous Apache helicopter such as those used to kill Iraqis. Furthermore, Mr. Johnson worked directly on this killing machine and is therefore, by US definition, indirectly responsible for any and all killing done with that machine. He aides and abets the US Military. In other words He is no civilian as say you and I ( maybe) who have no contact with the military other than our taxes (and that right there is another debate). The "Al-Qaida militants" even made this very statement:

"Let him taste something from what Muslims tasted who were long reached by Apache helicopter fire and missiles," the statement said, according to the A.P.

Mr. Johnson, 49, worked in Saudi Arabia for the past decade in cooperation with Lockheed Martin on the Apache helicopter.

You really can't argue with that logic. We have seen it in Palestine and Iraq and elsewhere. Who knows if the missile that has killed many a Palestinian was not in fact worked on by Mr. Johnson.

"But" you may say, "HE wasn't in the military." That is true but one must realize that the US has involved many private "enterprises" to do work that the military would do. Simply because an organization falls outside the Armed Services does not make the people in it civilians. If you want protection as a civilian I suggest not working for a company that does work on military projects and be careful of where you relocate. After all, we are expected to not have any sympathy for those that help terrorists and in a reversal of fortune Mr. Johnson, seen as a terrorist by others has been caught up. Perhaps the people of the US will stop ego tripping and understand that this is not some game and there are better solutions to what is going on.

Two Stories continued

I guess I would have to change the title to "Three Stories" if I wanted to be accurate. Today I stumbled on an article in the Philladelphia Inquirer entitiled: Minority firms lag in city deals wherein' the following statistics were offered:

Today, that program has long since been ruled unconstitutional. In a city where well more than half the population is African American, Hispanic or Asian, minorities' percentage share of the government's business is still stuck in single digits, according to a city study....

According to the U.S. Census, the Philadelphia area has fewer black-owned firms per capita than any other major metropolitan area with a substantial minority population.

Those businesses, which numbered 17,863 at last count, generate less than one-half of 1 percent of all the revenue from firms based in the city and eight neighboring counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

So of all the economic production in Philladelphia, black businesses generate less than .5% of that production. So if the total revenue from all businesses on Philly was say $10 Billion that black take on that would be $50 Million. Spread out over 17,863 black businesses AND assuming that all these businesses generate the same revenue (not) The take for each business would be: $2799.00. YOu read that right. Clearly then many of these black businesses are operating at a loss. Again this is the progress from 1912.


Thursday, June 17, 2004

So it's Official

Confirming what most conscious people knew since..oh...Oct 2001, the 9-11 commission has reported that Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with the events of 9-11-01. Furthermore it appears that Saddam didn't give Mr. Bin Laden the time of day.

"We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al-Qaida cooperated on attacks against the United States," the commission's statement reads.

The statement says bin Laden did explore possible cooperation with Saddam Hussein, asking for space for training camps and help getting weapons, but Saddam never replied to bin Laden's requests.

So again we have facts that directly contradict what President G. Bush has claimed about Iraq and still there is no impeachment proceeding being planned. Iraq is now in the throes of urban gurilla civil war. The Kurds are threatening to cede from Iraq unless they retain veto power over the new iraqi "government" and Iraq "security forces" and government officials are being killed left, right and center. And what is there to show for it? Weapons of Mass Destruction? No. Terrorist hideouts? No. Proof of alliances with so called Al _Qaida? No. Just a bunch of US businesses making off with millions of Dollars. I'm going to repost a portion of one of my poems:

"As sure as the Bible is missing books
George Bush is missing sense
and violence only breeds more violence.
this ain't really about Hussein
Regime change
crashing planes
or buildings falling in flames.
It's all a game
Those that know the rules
play the average citizens for fools."


Monday, June 14, 2004

Two Stories..One Moral

Today while perusing I found two articles. One entitled State marker to honor 'Black Wall Street' contained the following reference:

Two years later W.E.B. DuBois came to town. He was Washington's ideological rival, but his reaction to Durham was similarly effusive. In the journal World's Work of January 1912, DuBois wrote:

"There is in this small city a group of five thousand or more colored people, whose social and economic development is perhaps more striking than that of any similar group in the nation. ...

"A singular group in Durham where a black man may get up in the morning from a mattress made by black men, in a house which a black man built out of lumber which black men cut and planed; he may put on a suit which he bought at a colored haberdashery and socks knit at a colored mill; he may cook victuals from a colored grocery on a stove which black men fashioned; he may earn his living working for colored men, be sick in a colored hospital, and buried from a colored church; and the Negro insurance society will pay his widow enough to keep his children in a colored school. This is surely progress."

Now check the date. According to the late WEB Dubois, head negro for the NAACP clearly stated where black, social and economic ( And therefore political) independence was a sign of progress in 1912. Later there would be a great push by the NAACP to "integrate" America. As a result of the integration push and a rejection of so called 'black power" politics, The scene described above does not exist. And let's be clear Phat Farm, and Sean John, have their clothing manufactured in Asia and shipped here, the only thing 'black: about most black clothing companies is the audience that gives it cred ( on a side note, according to Black Enterprise, Sean John, is not, by BE's standards a black owned company. Neither is HARPO).

Anyways, let's look at story number 2. The Art Newspaper has an article about the financial straights that the Wright Museum of African-American History. It appears that the museum has fallen far short of it's projected visitation goals and has no endowment How come this museum has no endowment?

The museum, named after the founder of Detroit%92s first African-American museum, was set up in the late 1980s as the world%92s largest museum of its kind. Those who had campaigned for its establishment had argued that although Detroit%92s population is predominantly black, the city was largely spending its money on projects that, they said, catered to the tastes of white suburbanites. The scheme to establish the African-American museum sailed through government, voters rubber-stamped a bond for its construction, and the museum was built.

When the huge 120,000-square-foot $38.4-million structure opened in 1997, it had no endowment and an annual budget of $6.8 million. It was expected to draw 500,000 visitors annually, but had a poorly installed collection of mediocre quality and failed to gain the stability necessary to attract gifts. Visitors have fallen dramatically from 200,000 in the inaugural year to 38,000 last year.

There is still no endowment and the museum reported a deficit of more than $2 million in 2001. Despite trimming staff, programmes, and opening hours, the museum has more than once failed to pay its employees.

With a record number of black millionairs, and a relatively large black middle class and those "Black CEO's." Why has there not been an endowment set up? Is this Museum not important to Winfrey, Parsons, Aaron or Johnson? So while we here at GG agree with Cosby's commentary, we'll send equal scorn on these rich blacks who are not doing what they are supposed to be doing as people that high on the totem pole.

But lets be real here, why are the two stories connected? Simply put, there is no longer a real concern about black economic or social development in the independent sphere. Integration has sucked out no only the talent of black communities, but it has also instilled a "could care less" attitude in the population where such things as AA museums are not only unimportant, but when done, done poorly. So we move from the excellence of Black Wall Street of 1912 to a half-assed black museum of 2004. Where's the progress in that?


Tuesday, June 08, 2004

The Police State is Now in View

Mark today on your calendar. Today the Transit Police in Boston Mass. started to "randomly" search commuters. This is in response to the train bombings in Spain. There is a saying that those who would discard liberty for security deserve neither. I agree. Apparently Americans are so bull headed, so arrogant. So..racist that they are willing to live in a police state in order to feel "safe." And be clear this is now a police state (until the Supreme Court steps in and does with it is mandated to do: uphold the constitution). And do not think for a minute that this will stop with "random" commuter searches. Soon you may be pulled off a bus or train for no apparent reason. You may soon find that you may be accosted in your house and have your house searched for no apparent reason. And what if you refuse? Well given what happens at Airports around the nation, You can expect Abu Gharib type treatment. I'm Black. Black people have been here and done this. Some apologists will say that they have nothing to hide and if you don't then you should not be worried or concerned. That's not the point. The reason the 4th and 5th Amendments exist is to maintain the citizens presumed innocence. Innocence that is legally presumed until conviction of some crime by a Judge and/or Jury. Unfortunately, America, ( besides it clear breech of constitutionality in regards to black people), has been moving very quickly in the direction of guilty upon suspicion. Thus anyone can be treated as a criminal simply for being percieved as suspicious. The other reason for the 4th Amendment is that one is protected by the forces of the State to not only sieze your property but to also prevent the state from attempting to use your property to frame you. Thus the law specifies that a warrant must be for specific items. Clearly a search on an innocent person for possible contraband in order to determine "guilt." is in violation of ones constitutional rights. For example, If a search wielded a knife, would that person be suspected of being a terrorist? A murderer? Does not a citizen have a constitutional right to bear arms? What law is a person in a public place on a publicly funded transport system, breaking by having a knife? Furthermore, If such "random"searches are upheld? Soon Police would be able to grab up anyone on any suspicion.

Full text follows:

OSTON (AP) -- Transit police will begin randomly stopping riders on Boston's subways and commuter trains next month to search their bags and packages, a procedure transportation officials say was largely prompted by the March 11 train bombings in Spain.

The new policy is set to be in place for July's Democratic National Convention, MBTA Police Chief Joseph Carter told The Boston Globe for a story in Tuesday editions. It will include explosive-sniffing dogs and all 247 uniformed Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority police officers, he said.

"I have no trepidation about being first (in the nation with the policy)," Carter said. "I don't want to be the first to do an interview about having a serious incident that may have some terrorist indications to it. ... We want to do this to encourage people to feel safe on the MBTA, to utilize public transportation."

Carter said MBTA has not announced the new policy formally because officials still are working out the details on how to balance security and privacy concerns.

Last month, MBTA police announced the entire force has been receiving counterterrorism training that includes spotting suspicious behavior. MBTA police already can request to see the identification of passengers they perceive to be acting suspiciously.

Last month, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration unveiled a pilot program to screen the bags of all passengers at a single Maryland Rail Commuter station in suburban New Carrollton.

MBTA Deputy Police Chief John Martino, who is overseeing the development and implementation of the search policy, said police, sometimes accompanied by explosive-sniffing dogs, will randomly pick out riders for inspection throughout the transit system daily. He said the number of inspections would increase dramatically during the convention July 26-29.

Carol Rose, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, said that while she understands the need for security, the MBTA plan is deeply flawed and may violate the U.S. Constitution's ban on unreasonable search and seizure.

"The Fourth Amendment doesn't stop at your wrist when you carry a briefcase; it includes your bag," Rose said. "It either has to be truly random, or it has to have a root in a reasonable basis of suspicion."

The March terror bombings in Madrid, Spain, killed 191 people and were blamed on Islamic militants with possible links to al-Qaeda.


Friday, June 04, 2004

Andre Crouch: 2004 Negro

The term Negro never really sat well with me. Linguistically it was either a color descriptor derived from the Portuguese or it was a coined term to refer to the people who live among the Niger River devolving into "Nigger." Either way it was in my mind a label put upon Black people by whites for their own use. Of course at the end of the 60's most of us relegated that title to the dustbin of history and only used the term in historical context or as a reference to those whom we felt were less than men or women when dealing with black issues. We call them "Knee-grows." Today most Blacks in the United States are referred to as "African-American." This goes along with every other group that now has some hyphenated name. An unfortunate side effect of this name is that many Blacks have gotten into the habit of calling any and every black person they see "African-American." Furthermore; very few people seem to realize that technically, African-American would include any and all people in the Americas, including those in the Caribbean, and Latin-America. Me I do like Malcolm X and refer to myself as an African in America. I often get silly questions like what tribe I come from. I just say the one that survived the great Maafa. Unlike many of my peers, I also hold a very Traditional" African worldview in that I practice an African Religion (Ifa) and a few other things in addition the the things that are a result of the unique experience of being in America. I would never call myself a Ghanaian or a Nigerian or a Kenyan simply because I did not grow up in any of those places. I am a "generic" African. Damn proud of it too.

Today I ran across what has to be one of the silliest articles I have ever come across. This one is up there with the Jamaican writer who insists that Black people cannot govern themselves. Andre Crouch was republished in the NY Daily News in an article called 'Why I use the word 'Negro'"

Let me deconstruct Mr. Crouches arguement:

Some people are particularly disturbed by my use of the word Negro as opposed to the latest fashionable label. I am not bothered by such people, but I am disturbed by the reliance on cosmetic identity that has become so important to black people over the last 35 or 40 years.

Some people just don't think of themselves as straight products of the social engineering project of Slavery and Jim Crow. Some of us wish to self identify rather than retain the label handed down to us by others. Furthermore for many of us The rejection of Negro is more than cosmetic rather it is a statement of who we are. Some call ourselves "African-American' because we recognize the duality of our identity. One would have had to have embraced ones past and integrate that into oneself in order to understand that.

The argument was that "Negro" separated black people from their African identity. It did not acknowledge the greatness of Africa, wonderful Africa, that lost paradise where everything was perfect. It did not recognize that black people had not always been slaves - that they were, in fact, a separate nation descended from kings and queens.

Hmm. No one, of course, ever considered that if most of the millions of black Americans really were descended from kings and queens, one would have needed a lot more land than Africa provided to support all that royalty. Millions of kingdoms definitely present a challenge.

It was, at best, cult thinking. But it was also a way of getting people to think of themselves as perpetual victims who were oppressed at every turn. That seems to me the greatest impact of believing that the history connected to the name Negro was all second-class travail and injustice.

Some 40 years ago, Malcolm X said: "You're not an American, you're a victim of Americanism."

That's too crude and simpleminded. But the crude and simpleminded are not unusual when the subject is the Negro. While such statements might sound good on a podium, they miss a great and substantial truth.

Now in one sense I agree with this argument. No way could we ALL have been descended from Kings and Queens. But this is too simpleminded for even Mr. Crouch to grasp. The argument is meant to inform the unknowing that believed that all we were capable was begging for scraps from white people that there were in fact large kingdoms and Queendoms in Africa. And therefore the Black man and woman was just as capable of greatness as any other group of people. I suppose such an idea was way too simple for Mr. Crouch to grasp.

The other problem with Mr. Crouch's statement is that he seems to think that Malcolm X was in the business of victim-hood. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Perhaps Mr. Crouch should spend more time studying before attempting to critique Malcolm X.

Being called something other than Negro will not better the state of the people who now walk around challenging others to call them African-Americans. They think that to be proud and effective, people with dark skins of a certain pedigree need to know they are connected to the grandeur of Africa, the fountain of civilization. Hogwash.

Clearly, knowing that they are Africans has done nothing special for Africans themselves, as we can see in the massacres in Rwanda during the 1990s, the many brutal African dictatorships and the abundance on the continent of backward ideas about women, slavery and a number of other things.

People can call themselves whatever they want. But the challenges facing this nation and its darker ethnic group will not be solved by anything other than deep thinking and hard work. Pride comes from accomplishment. Cosmetic nonsense will not get it.

Well thank you Mr, Crouch for stating the obvious. Clearly White Power did not prevent Hitler from visiting War upon the world. It is strange that Mr Crouch wants to whip the Black man and woman for having pride in their ancestry and history but appears to have no problems with the constant pride movements directed at white youths. These take place in various "History" classes about Greco-Roman Civilization. The renaissance, and various stages of American history. So it is only bad for Black people to revel in the history. Everybody else gets a free pass. I'm sorry that Mr. Crouch is sop ashamed of the Dictators and Coup leaders and massacres that have happened in Africa. I'm sad that such things shame him. Perhaps we'll soon be seeing an article entitled : " Why I am no longer a Negro."


Thursday, June 03, 2004

Haitian Floods Inevitable

I was discussing the flood situation in Haiti with friends and commented that the flooding in Haiti was inevitable. Recent news I had read in the New York Times indicated that the situation in Haiti was so bad that people were stripping the forest of trees in order to make charcoal to cook food and other needs. The trees provided a natural way to prevent flooding as their roots kept soil erosion at a minumum. Without the trees the soil would simply turn to mush become saturated and allow flooding to occur far more rapidly than normal. Today I read in The Militant the very same discussion:

One of the main reasons for the catastrophic flooding and mudslides was the severe deforestation of the hills and valleys in the border region. Haiti’s forests have disappeared because, without access to electricity or other sources of fuel, thousands of Haitian workers and farmers depend for survival on charcoal made from cutting down trees for heat, light, and cooking fuel.

It is of great sadness that we obvserve that the well off in Haiti appeared to be more concerned with Aristide than the looming environmental catastrophy that was awaiting them. They collaborated with outside forced to get arms and uniforms, yet there is no evidence that any of these coup members even thought about the wellbeing of the Haitian masses. But then again that's the requirement to get on the US' good side.


Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Thank God For The White Man!!

Odd title for a Garveyite. But no, It's not me saying this. I stumbled across the following:


Tokelau became a British colony in 1889 and was passed to New Zealand in 1925. Since the mid-1970s moves had been made to give the country independence, but many Tokelauans fear change could leave them unable to support themselves.

Tokelau's head of government, Patuki Isa'ako, told a meeting of the UN Committee of 24 on decolonisation last week that the UN and New Zealand, not the islanders, were behind the moves.

"Life as a New Zealand colony has brought many benefits to the country. There is no poverty, no unemployment, and full literacy. Although electricity does not run 24 hours a day, all houses now have internal flush toilets."

The New Zealand-appointed administrator, Neil Walter, said:

"Clearly independence is not on Tokelau's screen. A decision to become self-governing in association with New Zealand would do little more than recognise and confirm the status quo."

So apparently the Tokelau simply cannot imagine life without the White Man. So they have shrines to the British too? There is full employment not because of the White Man, but because they all (mostly) engage in subsistence farming. Any culture operating at the Agricultural level with areable land should have 100% employment. Note to Tokulau: Your ancestors had 100% employment too. And what of those toilets? Well you mean these folks have not, after 1000 years learned how to make glass or at least smealt iron? Just what have they been doing all these years. Oh yes that's right, Worshipping The all mighty White Man.