Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Monday, July 26, 2004

Dead End of Black Politics?

recently i read an article over at Dissident Voice Which proports that black politics suffers from "Head Negro In Charge" Syndrome. That is, black "leaders" tend to be charismatics who leave no viable institutions in their wake escept the NAACP which has avoided Charismatic leadership.

Jesse Jackson, the first post–civil rights HNIC, set this style of politics in motion in his 1984 and 1988 campaigns. He gave a rousing speech at his first convention, and then collected over 1,200 delegates in 1988, as well as 7 million votes (winning the second highest number in the Democratic primary). Yet nothing happened afterward; there was no follow-up to the millions of people who voted for him or helped him organize his campaign.

As early as the mid-1960s, leading civil rights strategists, like Bayard Rustin, were writing about moving from “protest to politics,” incorporating blacks into the Democratic structure without establishing an independent political and economic base. Jackson was merely following a script from the past: black mobilization as incorporated politics, or as pseudo-political mobilization. Jackson’s two campaigns failed to build an independent political apparatus to organize blacks, especially those at the bottom end of the food chain.

Jackson was hampered by another characteristic plaguing African-American politics: black church charismatics who can arouse people but not channel them into the routines of effective political organization needed to build any agenda-driven, grassroots voting machinery. No black charismatic — Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X — has ever left behind an efficient organization. Interestingly, the NAACP, almost a hundred years old, has never been a charismatic-based organization, which may explain, at least in part, its longevity.

While I agree that there is a huge draw to charismatic "leadership' I believe the author is gravely mistaken by comparing the NAACP with the UNIA. The author fails to inform the reader that the founders of the NAACP were in fact white persons. This is extremely important. The NAACP was set up by white people to be the "legitimate" organization for protest for American Blacks. And let us be clear the NAACP was solely interested in American Blacks. the UNIA on the other hand was first and formost founded by Blacks for Blacks and immediately ran into conflict with the established NAACP. In fact the publications of the time pointed out the descrepancy, which seemed to cause WEB Dubois, the then HNIC, much consternation. Furthermore, the UNIA was as indicated in it's name an Internationalist organization. It had adherents and members in more places than the NAACP even dreamed about. What is also very clear is that the UNIA was brought low, with the full cooperation of the NAACP under the leadership of WEB Dubois.

In short what the author fails to point out is that the movements lead by Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X, and a lesser extent (mostly due to his untimely death) Martin Luther King Jr. is that they were all black originated movements, with clear black agendas and were international in scope. The UNIA as well as Malcolm X poised a far greater threat to the international order than the NAACP could. In my view this is why these organizations fell by the way-side. What is perhaps the most telling about the strength of the platforms of the UNIA as well as tha OAAU, is how many of their platforms have shown up in the agendas of the surviving organizations.


Thursday, July 22, 2004

A fair critique of Bill Cosby's commentary

Today at the Black World Today I read the best, well thought out and fair critique of Bill Cosby's comments. Read it here:
Rhymes Reasoning

Over at The Black Commentator There is an article entitled"Acting White: Afican American Students and Education" This is a good read and I encourage all perusers of this blog to take a look. Dr. Rhymes suggests that a possible reason for the lack of achievement of AA students, even in the absence of poverty is a phenomenon refered to as "Involuntary Minority" status.

nvoluntary minorities are those who did not immigrate to a country by choice. They became minorities through enslavement, colonization or conquest, a status that continues to shape how they are treated by the dominant group and how they perceive and respond to that treatment. Involuntary minorities developed their identity in opposition to the majority group that had oppressed them. As a result, they are often suspicious of societal institutions run by the dominant group, including the schools, believing that the curriculum threatens and denigrates their heritage.

Voluntary minorities, on the other hand, are those who have chosen to immigrate in hopes of a better future. These minorities see education as a path to success in their new country. They are willing to embrace the new language and new ways, no matter how dissimilar to their own, in order to reap the benefits of an American education.

This phenomenon is the brainchild of one John Ogbu who has done 30 years of research on the subject. To bolster his argument Ogbu points out the Baraku of Japan

Ogbu points to the Buraku people of Japan as a comparison. They are ethnically identical to other Japanese. During Japan's feudal ages, the emperor designated the Buraku to be the laborers, the lowest class. They were freed from this designation in 1871; a few years after American blacks were freed from slavery.

To this day, the Buraku lag behind their Japanese counterparts in academic achievement. Yet when they immigrate to other countries, where they are seen simply as Japanese and not Buraku, the gap gradually disappears. Their school achievement rises.

Now I am not even going to begin to dispute the findings of Dr. Ogbu. However should we accept the conclusion then there are a few things that are worth examining. In the cases of the Baraku and Koreans in Japan, each group prospered and achieved once they left the country of their once masters and exploiters. This would strongly hint that individuals such as Marcus Garvey, Martin Delany, the early Nation of Islam were right in suggesting that Blacks would not meet thier potential unless they looked to Africa or some other geographic location to set up shop separate from the white man. That would also imply that the Civil Rights movement was largely..well..wrong. If the Baraku and Koreans who physically resemble Japanese can still have problems, then clearly African Americans are going to have an even harder time here in the US.

But let's look at Dr. Rhymes other assertion that he has not seen the so called "being smart is acting white" phenomenon.
Dr. Rhymes claimes:

have heard a lot of static concerning African Americans and their supposed disregard for education. “Our black kids look down on education” say many of the black pundits, “they tease the black kids who are doing well school and say they are acting white.” I’ve heard this repeated over and over again by African-American personalities and celebrities (none of which, by the way, have any extensive, classroom teaching experience). Let me also add, that in all my years as an educator and youth program specialist, I have never heard any student equating scholastic achievement with whiteness.

Well I don't expect that he would. most discussions of this type are not held with adults but between children and thier peers. Here's an exchange between a 9 year old and his peers on a recent field trip with other black students:

Scott is just 9. Scott is very friendly and tried to talk with the kids. Some of the responses were:

Nigga, what is you talkin' 'bout?

How da hell you know dat? You'se a lyin' muchfucka. I'm goin' inta 5th an' we ain't had that, so quit makin' shit up.

Naw muhfucka I aint goneta no gotdamned science center this summer. We gone on a fiel' trip and dat muhfucka borin' as hell, nigga.

Nigga you aint shit.

Nigga Ima give you fiddy cent fo' yo' glove. Whatchu mean, you ain't go'n sell it? Whatchu mean, yo' uncle gave it to you? Shit he ain't yo' daddy, bitch. Act like I an't got no uncle, nigga!

Nigga you thank you so damn smart. Nigga!

Dang nigga you soun' jus' like yo muhfuckin' uncle. Where ya'll from nigga, Africa? Black Africa muhfucka niggas!

Nigga, nigga, nigga!

So cleary Dr. Rhymes is in need of expanding his sphere of experience. Fact is that most of us "educated" blacks do not come into contact with people who hold education in disdain just as most poor people never run in the same circle as the rich.

Top be clear, I never heard my peers talk about scholarship in a negative light. But my peers were not the type to do so. I knew people who did have such attitudes and they were not in my classes or a part of my social circle. This goes back to my critique of Tim Wise who assumes to know what black people think or say simply because some blacks inform him of things.

But let's get to another point he tries to make. Dr. Rhymes is trying to Shed light on the the "why's and hows" and faults the "pundits' ,a current indirect means of saying "Bill Cosby," for not offering the whys. BUt in reality Dr. Rhymes offers just as little as Bill Cosby does in terms of solutions. His claims are no different than the usual Black establlishment mantra to beg the system (they call it making demands, but exactly what consequences are in the offing?) to treat black children better and wth more respect. We've seen what that has done.

In the end, despite vieled swipes at Cosby, which for some reason the Black Commentator has taken to, Dr. Rhymes ends up agreeing with Bill Cosby:

Although Ogbu’s studies offer some compelling reasons for the gap between African-Americans and whites in education, he also cautioned that we should not allow our righteous zeal to fight discrimination (and to break down barriers in education and in the opportunity structure), to cause us to ignore the personal behavior and attitudes that are conducive to academic success.

That at the end of the day that was Cosby's point. We've been and continue to get on the case of those who oppress us, but we act like thier is nothing we are doing to contribute to our own oppression.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004


This was supposed to be a part of that previous post but I had a hard time refinding the article in question.
The Pittsbburgh Tribune-Review has an article entitled Homicide plagues minority areas. that discusses the homicide rates of blacks in Pittsburgh, a place I visited in February 2004 and had no clue as to what was going on.

A wave of street killings is sweeping through Pittsburgh's black neighborhoods, leaving a trail of grieving families, overworked police and bewildered community leaders.

The onslaught pushed the murder rate in Pittsburgh last year to ninth-highest among cities in the biggest U.S. metropolitan areas, higher than in Miami and Los Angeles and triple New York's rate.

Ouch. But it gets "better."

One-fourth of Pittsburgh's population is black, but 22 of the city's 25 homicide victims this year have been black. Ten men have been charged in 11 of the black killings. All are black, though charges in one case were dropped...

...Murder in Pittsburgh and other American cities peaked during the crack-fueled gang wars of the early 1990s. By the mid-1990s, the killings had begun a steady decline as death and prison wore down the crack trade.

But the body count is creeping back up. The increase here is due almost entirely to murders of blacks, which have doubled in Allegheny County since 2000.

Turf battles over cheap heroin spur many killings, police and experts say...

..Statistics can't describe the pain of Clifford Wilson, 45, a Homewood resident for 35 years. His son, Preston Wilson, 19, was gunned down in North Braddock in September.

"When I was coming up as a kid, it was nowhere like the way it is now," he said. "There was unity in the community. There were fights, but we settled them with our fists. But then crack got in, and it just went crazy."

Wilson said his son was a drug dealer and gang member who lived on his own. The teen had a metal rod in his hip from a previous shooting and was on crutches when he was killed.

So that first shooting was not warning enough that his life was at risk? He just did not care.

Only one in eight residents of Allegheny County is black. But three in four of the county's murder victims last year were black, and the imbalance is growing.

Whites kill whites too, but the number of white murders has changed little since 1990, hovering at about 30 a year. Fewer than 10 percent of homicides last year involved whites killing blacks, or vice versa.

And while murders of innocent bystanders draw more attention, most black victims here and across the nation are men in their late teens or early 20s, usually involved in selling drugs, shot by other young black men in neighborhoods like Homewood, the Hill District and the North Side.

About 70 percent of Pittsburgh murder victims last year had criminal records, according to police statistics. Those victims averaged more than five arrests, mostly for drugs.

So let's put the theory to bed, once and for all, about how whites are killing each other too. The fact of the matter is that blacks (at least here) at killing each other at a higher rate than whites. let's do the math:
Pittsburgh PA has a population of 350,363 people. Allegheny County has a population od 1.3 million people. According to the article only 1/8 of the population is black. That's 162,500 people. 125 people were killed in Al. county last year, 30 of which were white meaning 95 were black ( or at least non-white) which is 75%. Since less than 10 percent of involve black victims of white pepetrators (<10) then we can see that the number one killer of blacks, and specifcally black males are in fact other black males. Most of these murders are done by people who are involved in drugs. This is not to say that black males are inherently violent. I personally know this to not be true. even with the large 75% numbers we must me mindful that 95 represent only .05% of the total black population of Allegheny county.

But why do these murders keep happening? simple:

"I've been on the job long enough now that a lot of people who didn't hear nothing, see nothing, know nothing -- now I'm standing over their son's body, and they're (asking), 'Why won't somebody come forward?'" he said.

"And you almost want to say, 'Well, remember I interviewed you last year? Now you want everybody to come forth, but when I talked to you last summer, you said, "I ain't no snitch. I ain't got nothing to do with that."'"

Sometimes witnesses are scared, Logan said. Many times, they want vengeance and prefer to take care of the matter themselves.

Some dumb, Street code that protects absolutely nobody. When this so called "code of the streets is broken:

In an infamous case from 2002, masked men sprayed a Homewood sandwich shop with gunfire, killing 8-year-old Taylor Coles, her father and another man and wounding her mother.

After neighbors and authorities responded with indignation, the shootings subsided. Only one more person was killed in Homewood that year.

So clearly the reason for the high rates of murder in some black communities is simply because the community tolerates it. "That's the way niggas is." It's not the schools. It's not the jobs it is simply the willingness of the people to accept the actions of the few.

Remember a few posts back I discussed the ideology of recent bantu refugees from Somalia. Here's an example of the sharp contrast in attitude:

Philadelphia native Ron "Karim" Watson Jr., 43, said he moved to Pittsburgh to turn his life around after four years in prison for armed robbery.

Watson said he makes a decent living now as a crane operator. He goes to bars in Homewood and elsewhere to recruit workers for the union, with varying success.

"Some guys will pull out $2,000," he said. "They say, 'This is my job.' I say to them, 'But you might not live to be 30.'"

There you have it. unwilling to make the long buck. Rather have large money now and take a few people out when you go. And these are the individuals that people would rather Cosby talk nice about?

A last comment too for those parents of the largely teen perps and victims:

Adrienne Young founded Tree of Hope, a group that helps families who have lost loved ones to murder. Her son, Javon, was a freshman at Carnegie Mellon University when he died in 1994 during a robbery. He had no police record and was an excellent student, she said.

"There's lots of mothers out there who think as long as their son is helping them pay the light bill or make a car payment, or buy a house -- and I know people like this -- that whatever he's doing is all right, until he gets killed," she said. "I say to them, 'Don't you realize you were a part of your son's demise?'"

Who's Fault? and Other Observations

Over the last few days I read a few articles that really underscored how we Africans are simply not doing what we need to do to get ourselves together. The first article I need to bring to our attention is one of a seriesfeatured in the LA Times by reporter Dava Maharaj entitled Living on Pennies Part 4: Living on 100 Square Feet. This article covers a slum in Kenya and the living conditions ( If you want to call it that) there.

Plastic bags, knotted and sagging, soar across the slum late at night.

They bounce off tin roofs, splatter against mud walls patched with tin cans and tumble down the steep hillside, where they sprout every few feet like plastic weeds. In the morning, they are trampled into the ground.

After 33 years in this shantytown known as Deep Sea, Cecilia Wahu barely notices the bags anymore. They are called "flying toilets," and because no one here has a bathroom, everyone has thrown a few...

Survival in Deep Sea is a matter of staying above an endless tide of mud and waste. All that separates Wahu from the filth is a dirt floor, thin plank doors and a stubborn sense that even this place is a neighborhood.

About 1,500 people are crammed into this treacherously steep four-acre warren. They live on less than a dollar a day, and this is the best shelter they can afford.

There is one water faucet, one toilet and no electricity. The homes are jumbles of tin, red-baked mud and sticks that barely keep from tumbling into the fetid Gitathuru River below.

Tropical rains eat away at the walls. Roving bands of thugs threaten to break down homes unless they are paid protection money. Wealthy neighbors across the river lobby the government to clear the hillside.

Now let's ask an important question: Who own these slums?

Nairobi's slums, where more than half of the city's 3 million people live on 5% of the land, are the first stop for the new arrivals. Despite the wretched conditions, most people must pay to live here. As the slums grow more crowded and destitute, the land becomes more precious. A network of tribal leaders, government officials and other slumlords profits handsomely.

According to a U.N. survey, 57% of the dwellings in one Nairobi slum are owned by politicians and civil servants, and the shacks are the most profitable housing in the city. A slumlord who pays $160 for a 100-square-foot shack can recoup the entire investment in months.

Next question: How do these 57% think about the people that they make live in these conditions?

Loud Congolese Lingala music blares from Deep Sea's shacks and wafts over the river to intrude on the splendor and solitude of the rich.

"They only make noise and cause trouble," says one longtime Muthaiga homeowner. "We will get them out … at any cost."

But much as they complain, Muthaiga residents need Deep Sea for the cheap labor it provides.

From the kitchens and gardens of Muthaiga where they work, the slum dwellers see rolling coffee plantations, lush forest and monkeys swinging over fences into backyards.

It is a stark contrast to Deep Sea, which is barren of vegetation and dotted with litter.

How else are these individuals exploited:

in some months they are able to set aside a dollar for access to the single water faucet that a Catholic church recently installed near the entrance to Deep Sea.

Many of his neighbors, unable to afford access to the faucet, pay peddlers the equivalent of 8 cents for a 5-gallon container of water. That's about 20 times what the city charges for tap water in better neighborhoods, according to a recent United Nations study.

To use the toilet, Mutua pays the church another dollar a month.

The faucet and toilet are in a small wooden structure at the top of the hill. The building, with a concrete floor and walls painted lime green, is the sturdiest piece of Deep Sea.

Now there is no word as to who owns the other 43% of the slums but that is of little consequence. It appears to me that these relatively well off people could really care less about the conditions in these slums. Perhaps it was errant reporting by Mr. Maharaj. Perhaps he left out the parts where the landlords said they were saving up to put in some plumbing and trying to make the living conditions better. But I'm inclined to believe that they are not doing so. so to quote a poet: "Explain to me just how the white man make you do that."


Bob Herbert's recent OP ED piece in the NYT entitled An Emerging Catastophe puts Bill Cosby's apaprent angst into sharp perspective.

A new study of black male employment trends has come up with the following extremely depressing finding: "By 2002, one of every four black men in the U.S. was idle all year long. This idleness rate was twice as high as that of white and Hispanic males."...
Among black male dropouts, for example, 44 percent were idle year-round, as were nearly 42 of every 100 black men aged 55 to 64.

"I was surprised by the magnitude of the population that was idle all year-round," said Professor Sum. "Typically, some groups will find work part of the year, but not the other part, and you end up with a high joblessness rate. But here we've got a growing number of men just not working at all."

Black men, already in an employment crisis, were hit particularly hard by the last recession and have not done well in the fitful recovery that followed. Jobless rates for some subgroups, black teenagers for example, have been all but off the charts.

Education is one of the keys here. As Professor Sum found, 44 percent of black men with no high school diploma were idle year-round versus 26 percent of those with a diploma, and 13 percent of those with a bachelor's (or higher) degree.

That last statement is extremely instructional for those who are quick to dismiss Mr. Cosby and others. When a Black male child "decides" that he does not want to finish High School for reasons other than extremely deprivation, he has set himself up for all kinds of nonsense. I'm talking about people who will be seated all day long. Who will stand on a corner from sun up to sun down but will not go to school. And what of our daughters? Who will they marry? yo ucan't knocvk off 44% of the Black male population and not put the black family in a serious bind.


AIDS in Lesotho

Also in the NYT is a startling article about HIV in Lesotho and how the globalisation of the textile industry that produces the Gap pants I have on right now, among other articles that we purchase at incredibly marked up prices, have contributed to a pandemic that seems the threaten the very existance of the African woman:

Ha Thetsane is home to thousands of women who have fled Lesotho's impoverished countryside to seek jobs as garment workers. But the average wage for such jobs, about 70 cents an hour, is seldom enough to both sustain a worker and allow her to send money to the family she left behind.

Thus the detergent boxes in the windows. They signal that the women's husbands or boyfriends are visiting - and that the men who have been supporting them in exchange for sex should lie low.

"One woman will go out with four or five men," said Bolelwa Falten, a 26-year-old former seamstress. "One will help with the rent. One, maybe, will drive a taxi and take her to and from work. One will help with food. One will help her pay her installments."

Experts refer to such desperate arrangements by the dry term "transactional sex." This is one reason, though hardly the only one, that in Lesotho H.I.V. infects one in four men aged 15 to 24 - and one in two women...

..."There's a growing feminization of this epidemic," Tim Rwabuhemba, the Lesotho coordinator for the United Nations Program on H.I.V./AIDS, said in an interview. "More and more women are becoming infected at an earlier and earlier age."

In an interview in Bangkok, Stephen Lewis, the United Nations envoy on AIDS in Africa, said he envisioned a southern Africa 20 years from now in which "you are going to sense and see the loss of women."

"There will be portions of Africa," he added, that "will be depopulated of women. "

The article attempts to lay the blame for the transmission of HIV directly on Africans themselves. it states:

Those battling this trend face two intractable forces: biology and African tradition.

H.I.V. easily passes through vaginal mucous membranes, especially the immature membranes of girls and young women - and in much of sub-Saharan Africa, early sex is the norm.

The larger reason, however, is that few African women have a say in sex, or in any other life-changing decisions.. In Lesotho, married women are legally minors, unable to open a bank account or own property without a husband's approval. Men decide all sexual matters, down to the number of children a wife will bear.

"Once you get married, you become a child, in a way, of your husband," said Dr. Itumelang Kimane, a senior lecturer in social anthropology at the National University of Lesotho. "You cannot use devices like condoms and contraceptives without the husband agreeing."

While I Agree that the rights of women ( not neccessarily their roles) need to be changed yesterday, such commentary still does not address why the women are paid so little by Taiwanees, Chinese, and "Western" companies as to need to sell themselves in order to "Survive.

AIDS arrived here during apartheid, when Lesotho's men brought H.I.V. home from South Africa, where many worked in mines. But after 1994, democratic South Africa shunned foreign labor, the mines became mechanized and Lesotho's mining work force shriveled.

The garment industry, however, has staved off economic collapse. Fueled by an American program that slashes duties on African clothing imports, more than 50 Taiwanese-owned clothing factories grew here, shipping $400 million of jeans, T-shirts and other apparel to American stores last year alone. They also brought the second great wave of migration - 55,000 textile jobs, four-fifths of them held by women, largely from drought-ravaged rural areas where farming has collapsed.

Clearly 70 cent a day to make Gap Khaki's is insuficient top live on. these companies can easily pay a living wage to their factory workers. If they did so, then women would not need to resort to sexaul trading to get by. The effect would be immediate. What should be clear is that unlike in the US AIDS in Africa is largely man made and a direct result of the so called "new" global economy and post colonialism.

When does it stop?

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Corporate Welfare

Those who know me know that I'm all for playing the corporate game for community needs. There are things I won't do and handing out 600Mil to a very profitable organization is one of them. I haven't commented on the proposal for NYC and NYS to give the Jets $600 Mil. and the nets $400 Mil. because it is obvious to me that it should not happen. over at the Black Commentator Margertte Kimberly breaks it down lovely. To see how foolish the claims of "many jobs created" are. Simply look at how a stadium works. The management jobs in any organization are few and far between. So there aren't any jobs at the top. The Jets and Nets already have mid level workers in place in their current locations so those jobs are not going to be opening up. Next down are concession stands, janitorial, ticket sale booths, security and parking lot attendants. These are not high paying jobs and they have a high rate of turnover. What about businesses? Well if you already have a business in Midtown or downtown Brooklyn then you're set. But since the stadium will no doubt increase the property values of the surrounding area ( amybe not seeing what is around Yankee Stadium), who among the "job seekers' will be able to rent property and start a business? The people who are going to benefit in the short term are contractors. Black men have a difficult time getting work on contruction in Harlem. What says they are going to get work at the Javits? In the long term, Union contractors will see a windfall when conventions come to town ( I know I got vicked by a few myself. $75 for an electrical outlet for a booth?) The Nets and Jets will make a killing while passing off minimum wage to the 'support staff." The city will make a killing on the parking tickets and taxes. the people who sell confectionary to the stadiums will continue to make large amounts of money and of course the cable operators who broadcast the games will make thier dough. And all they want from you is $600 million to make all this dough.


Wednesday, July 14, 2004


on occasion i read the NYT Op Ed pieces. I usually avoid William Safire, cause, well... I'll not say. latest piece is an illustration as to why I avoid him:

Consider the official pressure to get with the latest groupthink: the 9/11 commission staff assured us recently that repeated contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda (including the presence in Baghdad and Kurdistan of the reigning terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi), "did not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship." This week, the Senate Intelligence Committee chimed in, saying these contacts "did not add up to an established formal relationship." (Italics mine.)

Think about that. Do today's groupthinkers believe that Osama bin Laden would sit down with Saddam in front of the world's cameras to sign a mutual assistance pact, establishing a formal relationship? Terrorists and rogue states don't work that way. Mass killers collaborate informally, without a photo op, even secretly.

Ready? Remember after the Collapse of the Twin Towers when it was determined that the Taliban of Afghanistan were formally protecting Osama as a guest of thier country? That sir is what an "established formal relationship" looks like.

So while he carps about "groupthink" it appears that Mr. Safire is a victim of "dumbthink."

links: New Groupthink By WILLIAM SAFIRE Published: July 14, 2004
Cosby Quotables

Given that everyone and their momma claims to know what Cosby means and says; Here is a set of quotes from Cosby from his appearance on NPR ( Thanks D-sekou for the link)

"We take it for granted..I do anyway, that what I'm talking about is not all of them. If I say 55 % or 50% it means that. it doesn't mean everyone..."

" The Children should be guided. now the parents happen to be children also, then they too need to be guided."

" We're not listening to our children and they're telling us something."
Facts? What Facts?

Today I ran across Earl Ofari Hutchison's critique of Bill Cosby's commentary. I usually ignire much of what Mr. Hutchison wrotes because I was put off by the illogical position he took that Black clergy were responsible for the rise in AIDS in black communities. However, since I'm still arguing with people over the stats and actuality of Cosby's comments, I find myself again, picking apart critique of Cosby's words. The problem with most of the critique against Cosby is that none of it, thus far, has been done by presenting facts that contradict Cosby's positions. And some of it has been simply pointing out that one of his daughters was a crackhead. As if that somehow invalidates Cosby's message. So let's look at Mr. Hutchison's facts:

Cosby myth: "You've got to stop beating up your women because you can't find a job, and you want to get an education and now you're minimum wage."

Truth: It's not clear what bed and living rooms in poor black households Cosby peeped in to make that charge, but a Justice Department study in 2000 found that since 1993, domestic violence plunged among all groups. It further found that the murder rate of black females killed by their partners sharply dropped, while the murder rate jumped among white females killed by their partners. The Justice Department study and a UCLA School of Public Health study in 1996, however, found that blacks are more likely to report domestic violence than whites, Hispanics and Native Americans.

In the UCLA study, the blacks who physically abused their partners were young (under 30), lived in urban areas, had lower income and were less educated.

The fact that domestic violence is supposedly dropping does not mean that it is not happening. Cosby did not say that domestic violence is on the rise, he simply pointed out that in black communities a significant amount of domestic abuse happens because black men feel powerless in other areas of thier lives and take it out on thier women. it also does not help with the glorification of Pimpin' on popular black music. And for the record, beating women is part and parcel of the pimp game. What is worse about Hutchison's critique is that after claiming a "Cosby myth" he goes on to site that the UCLA study were the exact group to which Cosby was referring to. Did anyone call this to Hutchison's attention?

quote 2

Cosby Myth: "They think they're hip, they can't read; they can't write, they're laughing and giggling, and they're going nowhere."

Truth: But many do think it is hip to read and write. The U.S. Dept. of Education found that in the decades since 1975, more blacks had enrolled in school, had improved their SAT scores by nearly 200 points and had lowered their dropout rate significantly. It also found that one in three was in college, and that the number of blacks receiving bachelors and masters degrees had nearly doubled. A survey of student attitudes by the Minority Student Achievement Network, an Illinois-based educational advocacy group in 2002, found that black students were as motivated, studied as hard, and were as serious about graduating as whites.

Many of the blacks that now attend historically black colleges – and probably other colleges – are from lower income, disadvantaged homes. In a majority of cases, they are the first members of their family to attend college.

What we will note here is that except for the 'one in three" comment, Hutchison offers no numbers. He can't offer numbers and bolster his case. Fact is that in NYC ( which is where Cosby was referring to) the drop out rates of blacks is 51%. It is worse in some other states. You can't go to college unless you complete High School ( or get a GED) Therefore in NYC it is simply impossible to say that "one in three" blacks of college age are in colllege. Also it has been recently exposed in the Black Commentator that in Illinois (specifically Chicago) there are more Black males in prison than enrolled in undergraduate studies at state institutions of Higher Education. So again the "one in three" comment is false for that area too. And these are the people that Cosby is talking about. Those of us who were/are not well off and attended Black colleges or any college are not the target of Cosby's commentary so why even bring us up?

quote 3:
Cosby Myth: "Well, Brown versus Board of Education: Where are we today. They paved the way, but what did we do with it." They ...don't hold up their part of the deal."

Truth: The ones who aren't holding up their part of the deal are Cosby's lower income whites and middle-income blacks, not the black poor. According to the latest census figures, a higher percentage of lower income blacks were registered to vote, and actually voted, than lower income whites. The same can't be said for their more well to do black brethren. The census found that a lower percentage of higher income blacks were registered, and voted, than their higher income white counterparts. The quantum leap in the number of black elected officials in the past two decades could not have happened without the votes of thousands of poor blacks.

What is this talk of Voter registration? That has nothing to do with Brown V Board. Brown v. Board was prior to the Voting Rights Act. furthermore it is agreed by most black educators that the logic behind Brown v. Board was seriously flawed. Furthermore, as is pointed out by many analysts, the higher the amount of education a person has, not only are the more likely to be iinformed of politics but are less likely to engage in voting because they know that voiting is perhaps the least effective means to influence the political process. remember that the upper 10% of the US population ( and a few outside nations) pour millions into the respective political parties and largely determine who get's heard and who does not, The poor simply vote for those who they have been told they can choose from Anyways... that has nothing to do with Brown v. Board. So that whole line was simply irrelevant.

Quote 4
Some poor young blacks can't read or write, join gangs, deal drugs, terrorize their communities and beat up their wives or partners. Many whites, Hispanics and Asians also engage in the same type of dysfunctional and destructive behavior. Cosby did not qualify or provide any factual context for his blanket indictment of poor blacks. He made the negative behavior of some blacks a racial rather than endemic social problem. In doing so, he did more than break the alleged taboo against publicly airing racial dirty laundry; he fanned dangerous and destructive stereotypes.

Like almost everyone else, Hutchison not only assumes what Cosby said (probably from the same news sources as everyone else...except me), but he assumes wrong. Cosby, on Like It Is, with Gil Noble, which aired on ABC Channel 7 in New York Stated that he did not mean to imply all black poor do the things that he said AND that he was wrong to imply such a thing. Why is it that Cosby has been big enough to admit is error (he had another error which he has not owned up too) but none of his critics can do so? Furthermore; Cosby made it clear that he was talking to and about blacks and could care less about whites think or do. So he didn't racialise the issue. He made the issue within' the race. I know it's hard to see the difference, but surely someone of Hutchison's education can tell the difference. Perhaps not.


Monday, July 12, 2004

Hip Hop Cointelpro?

I was over at alternet and ran across This Article on Hip Hop and the police. While much of the article was on point regarding the police surveliance of Hip Hop artists (I'm not surprised), what got me was the idea that Hip Hop is unders surveliance much like Dr. King and Malcolm X, the Black Panter Party, US or other Black organizations.

ome see motives that are even more nefarious. Cedric Muhammad, publisher of the webzine and former manager of the hip-hop collective Wu-Tang Clan, ran a series linking police harassment of rappers to the infamous COINTELPRO programs of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI. Muhammad recently wrote a public letter to the Miami Herald, suggesting that reporters should shift the focus of attention beyond police harassment and racial profiling, "properly placing it where it belongs – at the federal level."

The feds already have used antiterrorism strategies to crack down on domestic street gangs, and some officials have even linked such gangs to terrorism. Muhammad writes that linking gangsta rappers to genuine gangsters allows a COINTELPRO-like program to continue under the guise of homeland security, thus preempting the potential for a militant mass movement of black people.

There is no doubt in my mind that COINTELPRO exists in black communities, but Hip Hop artists of today, with very few exceptions are anywhere near the caliber of a Malcolm X or Huey Newton. COINTELPRO was made to prevent the rise of a Black messiah, The only place where most Hip Hop artists are leading black youth, are to jewelry stores, car dealerships, the local Mall and music stores and consumer debt. I don't care how talented Tupac or Biggie Smalls were, they were no Malcom X's. Period. This goes back to a yet to be posted write up I am doing on the Hip Hop summit. Hip Hop may be the voice of a generation of black folks, but It isn't political. Many political blacks may listen to hip hop, but most of us who are intelligent only view Hip Hop (or we shoudl specify Rap music) as entertainment and seek mental stimulation elsewhere. I'll end this with two quotes:

"It's bigger than Hip Hop" -Dead Prez
"it won't teach you how to raise a child or treat your wife"- Tribe Called Quest.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Fahrenheit 9-11

So I finally saw the documentary. Well done. Let me take on some of the critism of the film. First off Many critiques pointed to the fact that Moore didn't state that Senator Kennedy (I believe it was him) actually had a child in the military. Instead he used the Senator's bewildered look as exclamation point behind his point that none of the Senators wanted to sign up their kids ( or more likely didn't want to deal with Moore). Well before that particular senator Moore repeatedly states that only 1 Senator had a child in the military. He said it at least three times so unless you have ADD how could you not remember that only one Senator had a child in the Military.

Next was a critique that I saw at Alternet that Moore indulged in racist imagery to make his point about the so called 'coalition of the willing." Well I saw it, And I got the point and I don't think it was racist. yes it did use stereotypes but it wasn't racist why? because Moore took an equally "low" blow at Denmark with a national lighting his Weed pipe. Was that racist too? Methinks the white reviewer was trying to win "multi-culti" points. I don't give out those types of points.

What I did appreciate about the film was how Moore humanised the Iraqis. It was a stroke of genius to show the lives of Iraqies as they may have been right before the "bombs went over Baghdad." Yes, believe it or not people actually lived normal lives under Saddam. Not all, and that doesn't excuse Saddams behaviour, but it's an outright lie to make it seem like Iraq was like say.. Haiti, prior to the US bombing them for 10 years. Saddams stupidness aside, Iraq had one of the highest living standards in the Middle East prior to the Gulf Wars.

I do wish Moore spent more time on the recruiting techniques of the military and done as he had done in Bowling for Columbine where he took a long view of the racist nature of gun control. Perhaps though, Moore just didn't have the time. It is very evident to me that Moore had to ruch the film. There is very recent footage in the documentary and having done a documentary trying to get everything in somehow can be painful. But it's a credit to Moore that though Republicans have problems with him, they have not thus far shown Moore to be lying in the material he produced. He caught UNOCAL out there and well as Enron and Haliburton. If Kerry and Edwards are unable to capitalise on the PR bonanza that F-9-11 is then they don't deserve to sit in the White House.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

A critical Error in a Critique of Fahrenheit 9/11

Long title eh? Over at counterpunch is an article entitled Stupid White Movie: What Michael Moore Misses About the Empire by Robert Jensen. Among Jensen's critique are the following:

Moore also suggests that the real motivation of the Bush administration in attacking Afghanistan was to secure a gas pipeline route from the Caspian Basin to the sea. It's true that Unocal had sought such a pipeline, and at one point Taliban officials were courted by the United States when it looked as if they could make such a deal happen. Moore points out that Taliban officials traveled to Texas in 1997 when Bush was governor. He fails to point out that all this happened with the Clinton administration at the negotiating table. It is highly unlikely that policymakers would go to war for a single pipeline, but even if that were plausible it is clear that both Democrats and Republicans alike have been mixed up in that particular scheme.


When the film addresses this question directly, what analysis does Moore offer of the reasons for the Iraq war? A family member of a soldier who died asks, "for what?" and Moore cuts to the subject of war profiteering. That segment appropriately highlights the vulture-like nature of businesses that benefit from war. But does Moore really want us to believe that a major war was launched so that Halliburton and other companies could increase its profits for a few years? Yes, war profiteering happens, but it is not the reason nations go to war. This kind of distorted analysis helps keep viewers' attention focused on the Bush administration, by noting the close ties between Bush officials and these companies, not the routine way in which corporate America makes money off the misnamed Department of Defense, no matter who is in the White House.

Apparently Mr. Jensen does not believe that the US or any other imperial power is going to waste resources over such small things as oil and money. It is clear that Mr. jensen is not familiar with history. The English in the 1800's did just this. At the begininng of the Industrial Revolution the lubrication for machines was Palm Oil. This Palm oil was souced from Nigeria. A clever Nigerian (who's name escapes me but I'll find it) Discovered that the British liked to play divide and conquer and would pit various sellers against each other to get the best price. This Nigerian made a pact with all the sellers that they would not sell below a certain price that he determined. The British were livid. How dare this "Negar" mess with their profits. So the crown decided to send a contingent of warships to Nigeria and they made war against this king and establlished a monopoly presence in Nigeria until of course petroleum came around.
Thus we have a clear example, among many, of where military might was used against black people (and other people of color) for the express purpose of feeding the energy and financial needs of the conquering country.

Everyone who is keeping up with events knows that China is the #2 consumer of Oil and is a large reason why Oil Prices have gone up. This coupled with drying reserves, means that there is a great incentive to "secure" US interests in the Middle East and having compliant governments in places with large reserves or land where oil must be piped over to reach ports, is extremely important.

It's not that far fetched


Monday, July 05, 2004

Who 50 Cent Think He Foolin'

I just finished reading an interview 50 cent gave to The Guardian UK back in Sep, 2003. In this interview 50 cent makes some statements that were just plain dumb.

One of the weirdest things about becoming successful, he says, has been hearing commentators and critics, academics and journalists analysing life in his old neighbourhood from their position of luxury outside it. "I was really closed in. I'm from Queens, New York City, and I hadn't seen very much more than that. I mean, I've been places where I've heard references to 'gun culture'. And, um, where I'm from, we don't even speak like that. It's just a part of that environment."

Full Disclosure here: I grew up in Queen, NY. Southside Off Rockaway Blvd and the Conduit. Yeah, there were some knuckleheads as there are in just about every black neighborhood but by no means was it all guns and drugs. 50 cent is merely 4 years younger than me and from his bio, grew up a mere 10 blocks from me. Trouble was to be found if you wanted to find it (like anything else), but to make it sound like Queens, by it's nature is all 'hood is plain and simple wrong

When he was 12, Fifty started hustling on the street to take the financial pressure off his grandparents. It was, he says, a simple case of economics. "My grandparents had nine children, and they raised them at a time when shoes might cost $10. And times have changed: your shoes will cost you $125. Big difference. I wasn't comfortable asking them to provide for me like that. So I asked the people who appeared to have it, who I had met through my mother's activities. People who had really nice cars and seemed to have the finances. They gave me an opportunity to hustle. So I started that early."

Ok...what type of BS is this? Full disclosure, again 50 cent is merely 4 years my junior which means the sneakers (shoes) that I had access to he did. I didn't have a pair of sneakers that cost more than $21.64 (19.99 plus NYC sales tax of .25%) until my junior year in High School ( Which would have put 50 in JHS at that time). So what is the $120 shoes he's talking about? He could have hit Models on Jamaica Ave (right off Guy Brewer Ave). What he should have said was that he didn't have the guts to wear the $19.99 Lottos or Skore (Shell top Addidas knock offs which I got teased about when I had a pair) so he felt himself above...ohhh..the Bantus spoken about earlier. And, not a few blocks away there were landscapers who would hire local kids to but lawns and such for a few bucks....but anyways

All smart kids at Andrew Jackson High did the same. "Someone says to you, if you stay in school, in eight years you can have a new car. And the kid looks round his neighbourhood and sees someone who got it in six months. Hustling doesn't seem like one of the options, it seems like the only option. My grandparents thought I was in after-school club. The only time I could hustle was between three and six."

Andrew Jackson High School. Take the Q44 Bus past John Bowne HS. No all the smart kids stayed off the corner and in thier books. How many hustlers and dealers are alive today and living large? Just 50 cause the people I knew that wanted to be high rollers are now living at home with parents. Some are just out of the clink, some stand vy the corner store getting their chemical escape on. So 50 cent is tryin' to say that hustlin' was smarter than hitting the books? And the main motivation is a fancy car? Cars that now are worth maybe $500? That's smart?

Look I'm not hating on 50 cent. He's doing the American thing and getting paid. But some of the things he's saying makes no sense. The Blacks in Queens NY currently have a higher per-capita income than whites (Mostly from dual employment). There are hood sections of Queens, but to act like there were no Jobs to get to ( The airport always hired) and the like is just plain wrong. I grew up there and I'm calling him on it.

Of Bantus and Bill

Bill Cosby was on the mic recently at a Rainbow Coalition meeting. He repeated much of his critique of "certain" Blacks for not doing their part. Again I had disagreements with many people over Cosby's points. The most common argument made being that schools are poor, the people are poor, racism and other things like that. Today the NY Times had an excellent article entitled: For Bantu Refugees, Hard-Won American Dreams, by William L Hamilton which is about some "bantu" refugees from Somalia now living in Tuscon Arizona. One point that was brougt up was:

The children, a 15-year-old and two 8-year-olds, are in school, earning good grades and, like other Bantu children, school officials say, outperforming the general student population. Mr. Edow is saving money to buy a house...they make a wary peace with African-Americans at home and at school who consider them foreign.

Now Arizona does not keep graduation rate records, but it's neightbor New Mexico does, The black graduation rate in NM is 50% and Nevada's is 40.5%. So why are the Bantu children, who mind you have parents who were illiterate AND skillless prior to coming to the United States, outperforming thier peers? AND they did not say they were out performing their black peers they said all their peers. So here we have a large part of the critique against Cosby falling apart.

Mind you, these individuals have received much help from various agencies that may or may not be available to citizens. however I seriously doubt that such services ( job training, etc) are not available to American blacks. But apparently the attitude and behaviors of these Bantu are so odd to previously imported "Bantu ( African Americans)" that we have a tenuos relationship with these arrivals.

at Mission Vista one Friday, Ms. Osman's son, Abdullahi Osman, 15, sat at home at the dining table, homework assignments and an English-Somali dictionary in his lap...Until I finish my education, I don't want to do anything else," said Abdullahi, who dreams of becoming a doctor. He said that books were his most valued possessions, though he checks them out of the public library.

...Hamadi, who goes to school and helps his brother at his job at a Boston Market restaurant, said of his new life, "I don't have time for watching TV"

The "Bantu" exhibit the behaviors that many young AA's, and specifically the ones Bill Cosby was referring to:

1) Doing Homework on A Friday. Not playing basketball or looking for some "late night Basketball program."
2) Valuing education (books) above all else
3) Working low paying food service jobs as a means of income (exercising collective work and responsibility) rather than sell drugs and shoot up thier own neighborhoods.

So for those who want to rail against Bill Cosby for trying to hold up "white standards" or of infairly targeting the (as the Black Commentator termed them) Downwardly Mobile. Take a look at the Black Bantu Africans are doing with their black selves,