Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Thursday, September 30, 2004

The Debates

Since Al Sharpton is not on the dais I'll post what I would have said if I had been invited to the debates.

Do you believe you can do a better job than President Bush in making America safe?

I can do a way better job than Bush or Kerry. The reason why I could do a better job is because I understand how it feels to be on the receiving end of flawed American foreign and domestic policy. I am not tainted with the disease of White Supremacy or racism. I do not need to stroke my ego or engage in cowboy showboating. I do not see the world as something to dominate and exploit. Because of this I have the unique ability to navigate the issues that cause America to be unsafe and bring the necessary changes in policy to assure that America is never put in a position to have bad karma and blowback cause the deaths of millions here.

Do you believe that the election of Kerry will lead to another Terrorist Attack?

To be honest the election of practically any white male who does not understand the global repercussions of white supremacy as practiced by many members of the US government and other governments, who is elected will certainly lead America to face another terrorist attack. It may not be in the form that we saw on September 11, 2001, but someone will strike because there are people out there who have had enough of our meddling in there societies, specifically their material assets. We need leadership that understands this and is willing to make the structural adjustments necessary to address these concerns and position the US as a true "Honest broker."

What Colossal Mis-judgment has the President made?

This President, as well as those who came before him continued in the grand tradition of bullying the world. But let us be fair here, in this country the president cannot start military action without the consent of Congress, So let's put some responsibility on those persons in Congress who in their thirst for revenge and their callus disregard for the consequences of legislation they wrote and passed, that allowed the president to make the mis-judgments he made. The invasion of Iraq was the biggest mistake in and of itself. It was unnecessary and in violation of international law.

Was it proper priority to go after Saddam or Osama?

Clearly in the wake of 9-11, Osama was and should have continued to be target #1. The invasion of Iraq was, as said earlier, simply unnecessary.

What would you do to increase homeland security?

The best thing to do is to change how we deal with the world. If you use your imagination you can think of many, many ways that "terrorists" can kill Americans and very few of the ideas involve planes or exploding shoes or even dirty bombs. The single most important means to increase homeland security is to change our foreign policy. Simply stop giving people reasons to come here and kill people. I also believe that the US needs, as any country should, an extensive intelligence gathering effort that keeps us informed of organizations around the world. Since the previous administrations have managed to piss off much of the world, we will also need to make sure that we properly fund law enforcement organizations in cities across the nation so that these cities do not have to tax their inhabitants or take away from public services.

When and how do you bring the troops home?

As soon as I am in office, I will put into place a team to deal with the necessary logistic plans to immediately withdraw all troops from Iraq, leaving an undetermined number of our forces in Kuwait. Some believe this is giving in to the enemy. It is not. The Iraq war was illegal and should never have happened and we are not going to compound the issue by remaining there. The Iraqis no longer have Saddam to worry about, and unfortunately we left them quite a mess, however, any government formed while we occupy Iraq will be seen as a colonial government and rejected by the people. After we withdraw and the Iraqis set up their own government we will need to offer reparations for the damage we did to the country.

Are Americans dying because of a mistake?

Yes. Not only Americans but many ,many more Iraqis. And the death of these Iraqis will come to haunt us.

What was the miscalculation for post war Iraq?
Well post war Iraq does not exist. There is still a war going on in Iraq. Just because President Bush said that “formal hostilities” are over does not make it so. This is the problem, which stems right from the start with going into Iraq in the first place. But if we are referring to after the fall of Baghdad then the largest miscalculation is that which every empire makes? No people will tolerate an occupying power. If we were supposed to be going after Hussein, then once we got him we should have left immediately. But it is clear that the reasons for going in and staying have little to do with justice for Iraqis.

Bush not telling truths in Iraq. Give examples
Well I’m not sure where to start: I believe that Bush, as leader of this administration is responsible for what his admin puts out. It was clearly known by the intelligence community that Iraq had no WMD. We had “no fly zones” which bombed anything that moved in Iraq in designated zones. We have satellites that can see people in homes. We had years of inspectors and they said there’s nothing there.

There was the Saddam link to 9-11, this was put out there by the admin and thus regardless of whether Bush actually said it, he is whom we hold responsible because that’s what leadership is about. He should have done everything to counter that message, so by his inactions I say he is guilty.

The claim that Niger had sold Saddam Yellow cake was another egregious lie put out by this administration. There are numerous websites that have documented the Bush Lies for everyone to see and verify and the list is extremely long.

Has the war in Iraq been worth the lives of US soldiers?
In the words of Malcolm X: We’ve been duped, bamboozled, lead astray. This war has not been worth the lives of the soldiers who have died. They have not died for justice for 9-11 nor have they died for democracy. They died for a group of greedy people in the Whitehouse and I intend to remove them from harms way immediately.

Specific plan for ending involvement in Iraq

As I indicated earlier, all US troops, according to the most efficient logistical plans would be removed from Iraq, orders being given as soon as I get into office. We will leave a small team in Kuwait in order to monitor the events in Iraq and be on the lookout for activity that may threaten out national security or lead us to Osama bin Ladin. Once we are out, then we show the world and Iraqis that we are not occupiers of conquerors. At the same time we will coordinate with the UN to bring in peacekeepers and personnel needed to train police and help elections or whatever form of government the people of Iraq decide to form.

Has the Iraq experience made it more or less likely to engage in other actions?

The Iraq experience should serve as a lesson on how not to engage in military exercises in the future. We will engage in actions as necessary regardless of this recent debacle.

Position on Pre-emptive strike
As a black person in America, I am a part of a group that has been the object of “pre-emptive” strikes. Amadou Diallo is what happens when pre-emption occurs. We will keep in line with the principles of the UN, which we host here in NY. That all nations have the right to defend ourselves and that offensive actions are the last resort after diplomatic means. Let us be clear we do not face a military threat here. We can destroy any place, in fact we can destroy the globe 7 to 10 times over with the military power we have. What we have here is blowback from decades of bad decision making by both Democrats and Republicans and this doctrine of pre-emption merely makes us more vulnerable because when we signal that we will attack anyone at anytime, we force them to develop WMD in order to defend themselves, It’s the logical thing for a country to do, therefore such a policy only increases the insecurity of America.

Diplomacy & sanctions work against Iran and N. Korea?

Again, The reasons we have to even THINK about Iran is because of the Dictator we put into power. That was the work of the people represented here today by Bush and Kerry, The people who manipulate the politics of other countries because we “hated communism.” Of communism is so bad it will fall under it’s own weight. The situation in Korea and Iran are due to the “pre-emptive” policies of this administration, Korea was fine until Bush declared them a part of an Axis of Evil and subject to “pre-emptive strikes” Same with Iran. So because this administration has been so reckless in its approach to these nations, we now have a nuclear Korea and a coming of nuclear Iran. Yet this president claims to have made the world safer. Who is he fooling?

Darfur. why no discussion of military intervention?
On this subject I part with many of my colleagues and peers. I do not believe in military intervention in Darfur other than a blockade on the importation of arms to the government of Sudan. There have been a series of devastating wars in Africa that have killed millions. 2 million in the DRC alone. Many times as I watch the footage I see people clamoring for the US to come in and help them. It is high time for the people of Africa to stop killing each other. It is also high time for America and companies that sell arms to these armies to stop aiding in the killing. The late Marcus Garvey clearly stated that the Black man and woman should rise up and do for self. So again, I believe that the US should blockade the country for arms. We should hold companies and countries responsible for funding the Sudanese government by freezing their assets and putting them on trial in the international courts and putting them out of business, but on the ground it is time for Africans of whatever religion or ethnicity to stop killing each other and start building up their countries.

Any character issues that should deny your opponents the presidency?

I’m not going to get into that. I say that each candidate’s records should speak for themselves.

If elected, what do think is the single greatest threat to the US?

The biggest threat to the US is not nuclear material because nuclear material is inanimate. Guns and WMD are not threats because they too are inanimate objects. It is the people who use these things that are the greatest threats to the US and the world. We have some very bad people out there and we have some equally bad people here. It has been the racist policies of the US that has caused a great deal of our current problems. How do we claim to support democracy yet illegally remove the elected head of state in Haiti? How do we claim to respect democracy yet support a coup in Venezuela? How do we claim to support the rights of people to choose a government of their own choice, and put up blockades and economically strangle Cuba? How do we claim to be an honest broker yet supplies Israel with 4 billion in aid to occupy Palestinian land? No it is the people and attitudes that threaten America. These things must change and they will change when I am in office.

Do you feel that what Putin is going with democracy to combat terrorism is ok?

Well this goes back to the issue of Iraq and pre-emption. In fact Putin has said this before, How can we judge Putin for changing his government in reaction to terrorism when we have created Patriot Acts and claimed that we will go and do anything anywhere? I think again that what Putin does in organizing the government in Russia is not our business if the people of Russia are for it. I really need to stress this point: We need to learn in America that we should not be running around the world threatening people and passing judgment on their forms of government. It is right to critique and analyze and make suggestions but you don’t go about meddling in internal affairs of countries.
Equal Treatment

many black conservatives talk junk about how America is basically not racist/white supremist. Blacks complain too much about problems with police, etc. rather than do what they should be doing. No doubt that many of us doth complaineth too much, but I'd like to see the usual conservative suspects make a case of This case


In an incredible (and true) story, a 19 year-old New York University undergraduate student was recently arrested and charged with committing three felonies, including criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance, and criminal sale of a controlled substance on or near school grounds – each charge carrying a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. The undergraduate student sold high-grade marijuana, cocaine and hallucinogenic mushrooms to an undercover New York City police officer on eight separate occasions from the lobby of her dormitory. But that’s not the incredible part.

Despite facing up to 75 years in prison for her offenses, the student, a white female from a wealthy family, will actually never see a prison cell if she satisfies the gracious terms of the deferred prosecution agreement brokered between a Manhattan District Attorney and the defendant’s private attorney. The sweetheart deal – brace yourself for this one – includes 10 months at a drug rehabilitation center in Idaho followed by 8 months of work or school, and 5 years probation. Moreover, she will be permitted to plead guilty to lesser charges (perhaps misdemeanors) in 2006, pending successful completion of her “sentence.” Perhaps most importantly, her case was handled by state, rather than federal, authorities, allowing her to avoid severe federal mandatory minimum laws that would have likely resulted in a lengthy prison sentence.


Kemba Smith was a casualty of America’s “war on drugs.” Like the New York University student, Kemba was a college student in 1995 at Hampton University. But unlike the New York University student, Kemba never handled or sold drugs but was in an abusive relationship with a drug dealer. Unlike the New York University student, Kemba is Black, which is a critical distinction.

Law enforcement spent months trying to make a case against Kemba’s boyfriend, but he was murdered before police could catch him. Incredibly, Kemba was sentenced under federal sentencing guidelines to nearly 25 years in prison for her “involvement” in the crack cocaine conspiracy. Although prosecutors admitted that she had never sold drugs, Kemba was held accountable for the crack cocaine distributed by her boyfriend. It wasn’t until President Clinton granted Kemba’s petition for clemency that she was finally freed after serving 6 ½ years of her sentence.

Clearest case of double standard to date. chick sold drugs to this undercover agent 8 times. There was a student at Michigan State University who was led out of the dormitory in chains for dealing drugs on campus. At this point I will simply repeat the wise words of poet Talaam Acey:

"Ain't got no cops on your payroll
Ain't got no judges in yo pocket
and if listening to hip hop got you thinkin
you're abover the law you need to stop it"

In The Long Run

Of late there have been major conflicts going on in Nigeria. The two that are of most interest to me and probably are the largest distraction of the Nigerian government (and perhaps people) are the conflicts over Oil and Sharia. As was pointed out by Adekunle Ajisebutu this week
The fact that some northern states have enacted Sharia, with no real opposition from the Federal Government or president Obasanjo speaks of a serious weakness on the part of the state apparatus. Clearly there is fear of another Biafra, but you really cannot have a whole other set of laws, based on religion, operating in parts of the country. As predicted, the claims of Sharia "only" applying to Muslims has given way to harrassment of non-Muslims.

Meanwhile, to the South the Ijaw are giving the government hell over the use of their land for oil recovery. This last point is interesting because the main reason for these clashes is that the Ijaw ( and others) want compensation for the use of their land. Fair enough. But given that Peak Oil has come and gone, and prices for Oil will go up forcing the consumers of oil to move to more plentiful and efficient means of fuel, there soon won't be a need for Nigerian oil. What do the Ijaw and the Nigerian government have planned for that time. Earlier this year i did some research that showed that at the current rate of consumption by the US and China, each of whom consume more oil than any other nation, will cause the world known supply of oil to run out within our lifetime and at our childrens lifetime if estimated conservatively. Now it is not well known that the Saudi's own a great deal of stock in US, European and Asian firms. Some other OPEC nations have been adding other types of industries to thier economies in order to not be left holding the bag of sand at the end of the road. What is Nigeria doing? What major fuel alternatives have they invested in? While it is known that Nigeria and other Oil producing states have contracts with oil companies regarding the use of their lands, how many actually have investment in Energy firms so that they continue to reap energy profits after the oil is gone?

If things continue as they are, Nigeria will end up split in two and broke. Well, more broke than it is.

Sometimes there are large gaps between posts. Sometimes it's because I'm really busy and other times..well I'm stressed. Sometimes following the news and commentary can be extremely stressful. All that information and disinformation. I think it's the disinformation that gets me the most. It really aggravates me how arogantly stupid some people can be. Sometimes I really want to seek out the authors of some of the material I read and break their fingers and cut their tongues out so they can't write or dictate any of the crap that comes forth from thier brains. This particular "mean" streak is why I know I would be unfit for the Office of President of ant country. I have a slow to get to, but nasty temper. Once i'm set off I'm off. I think it's good of me to recognize this streak and subsequently remove myself from situations where such anger would lead to very bad things. Anyway I ran across this piece of crap today. Apparently some pastor decided to make a "blacklist" of people he and his ilk deem "Anti-American" simply because as he put it:

""I'm sickened by these black entertainers who drive $350,000 Bentleys crying racism," said Peterson, who acknowledged he's looking for a more positive message for the black community — especially for young people.

"Why not teach them how to overcome, rather then encouraging anger and doubt and fear in the hearts and minds of many young black Americans?"

Who's on this list? Thanks for asking if you point your browser to:

You'll find the complete list along with the details of why these individuals are on it.

"Too many people are being bowled over by Bush and Tony Blair in Britain.
It's ludicrous to expect the whole world to follow what they want. America
doesn't have the moral right to tell other people what to do... I hope more
people will rise up."- Spike Lee (Director, Producer, Writer)

" We must stand vigilant against Bush in these times and work with the abolitionists." "One of the main purveyors of violence in this world has been this country [the U.S.], whether it's been against Nicaragua, Vietnam or wherever." - Danny Glover (Actor, Producer, Activist)

" When you grow up black in America you have a completely different view of the world than white Americans. We blacks live with a constant feeling of unease. And whether you are wounded in an attack by a racist cop or in a terrorist attack, I'm sorry, it makes no difference.” - Will Smith (Actor, Rapper)

”I not only think that they [U.S. leaders] are misguided, but I think they
know exactly what they are doing and I think that they are men who are
possessed of evil." - Harry Belafonte (Actor, Singer, Entertainer)

I'll pass on P-Diddy. I'll also not comment on Will Smith, but it is a shame that this "pastor" is incapable of understanding the facts that Danny Glover put forth, In fact the full page link to Glovers "sins" states:

Yes, he’s [Bush] a racist. We all knew that but the world is only finding it out now. As Texas's governor, Bush led a penitentiary system that executed more people than all the other U.S. states together. And most of the people who died from [the] death penalty were Afro-Americans or Hispanics . . .. [Bush] promoted a conservative program, designed to eliminate everything Americans had accomplished so far in matters of race and equality."

Read that last sentance, 'everything Americans had accomplished so far in matters of race and equality" So exactly how is that "un-American" or 'unpatriotic?" I mean really, if you're going to level charges at someone at least get the right quotes!

But this is but a sad state that stresses me out. and I don't see it getting any better. really. The black community, much like the larger white community is becoming seriously fractured not only along the lines of money but on some serious classist/racist lines. There is an increasingly growing number of black so called conservatives, who have taken the neo-con vision to heart, even the parts that don't apply to them and taken on the same language as these "cons" and lashing out at so called "liberals' who have their own problems, as being coddlers of criminals, etc. My mind is really being seized by anger right now, and psychologists can tell you that certain brain functions go south when that happens, so i'll stop writing now. But there is a huge fissure growing in the "black" community and each are going to do battle for the "real black" title (as seen with McWhorter, et al) even though many of the black conservatives speak on the "no monolith" platform, the notion of "black" representation is monolithic itself, just not the monolith that they claim to see. Problem is that both of these groups, black libs and cons, make it nearly impossible for those of us who hold onto principles and ideas that cross the entire spectrum from being seen or heard.


Monday, September 27, 2004

Religious Freedom or Freedom of Speech

Today, on eof my friends, a Christian, sent me an email about a pastor in Sweden who apparently was jailed for making remarks about the Biblical condemnation of homosexuality. This alarming e-mail was of the type that I was used to hearing back when I was a Seventh Day Adventist. We would hear about how such a such a country was stopping Christians from practicing their religion or spreading the Gospel. Oddly, at least to me, no one ever addressed the question of whether the people being "missioned" wanted to become Christians or had even asked to be put upon by Missionaries who felt that it was their right to go any and everywhere and terrorise people with stories of Hellfire. It is my opinion that many of those who converted were far more impressed with the worldly material things that many missionaries brought with them like medicine, technical know-how, than the actual religion. But that's off the point. The e-mail wanted me to wun and sign an online petition to let US legislators know that I object to churches being threatened with revokation of their tax-exempt status for engaging in politicing as well as the passage of hate-speech legislation in parts of the country. To which I responded:

A couple of things here:

a) Tax exempt status for churches or religious institutions: This isn't a right. It is a tax code priviledge extended by the state to religious organizations with the explicit instruction that the said organization does not enjoin in partisan politics. Nothing in the tax code, civil or criminal code prevents any members of any religious organization from forming PACS ( Politcal Action Committees) and advocating for whatever issue they feel like. The tax code currently in vogue for such actions is the 507's.

b) Hate Speech Legislation: I have never been a fan of hate speech legislation as it criminalizes a supposed "fundamental right" of freedom of expression. Thus such legislation is an example of "careful what you ask for, you just might get it." You can't run after Klan members and Nazis on "hate crimes and not expect that other "oppressed" groups would no go for theirs. I'm a believer in the right for a fool to say whatever he or she wants, and i think that such fools have the right to get punched in the face for what comes out their mouths with no legal repecussions. But that's my own personal opinion. What should happen is that all "hate crime" and 'hate speech" legislation ought to be recinded and people should only be prosecuted for actual criminal activity. You can call me a N**ger all day long, the minute you touch me or my property you've committed a crime that already on the books. Same for people who are against Homosexuality: they have the right to say whatever they want to, it is the people who take the liberty to assault, kill or otherwise violate a gay persons right as a citizen and human being that should face prosecution for whatever law they have broken.

Enforce the laws against criminal behavior and stop making up new crimes.


Mr. Tunji

_- Edited 4:27 PM:

Is there something in the air at churches that I managed to be immune to? When I sent the above response to the e-mail, I recieved this:


If a person holds himself/herself accountable to God, then in man's eyes all
that person's decisions and actions are consider foolishness. But if a
person holds himself/herself accountable to man, then in man's eye's all
that person's decisions and actions is consider being wise. I rather be a
fool in man's eyes than a fool in God's eye.

What is this? Why is that a large percentage of Christians seem to have very poor reading comprehension skills and seem to be very proud to put that fact on display? What exactly was the point (aside from the usual attempt to prosylitise)? It was clear that I object to any restriction of speech that does not immediately endanger the public (shouting "fire" in a crowded room) which would include the speech given by the Swedish pastor (though I have my issues with him outside of his homosexual opinions). Here's a bit of free advice to any "Born Agains" of anyh particular expansionist faith:

1)God (in whatever way you concieve of it) created everything, including logic, Use it in your conversation.
2) You weak attempts at conversion will only work on weak minded, unread individuals. When you encounter someone who is well read I suggest you either exit the conversation or be prepared to have a logical, fact based discussion and no, the Bible, strictly interpreted, is not fact. Sorry to have to tell you that.

Monday, September 20, 2004

National Shame!!!

How do you lose a whole ship?

Today in the BBC I read that NIgerian officials have lost not one but two huge ships filled with crude oil. Now let's think about this for a minute. I can understand losing a bag of crack cocaine. I can understand perhaps losing a container. I could maybe understand "somehow" losing the oil in the ship. I mean we know about corruption in Nigeria (as well as elsewhere), but how do you lose an entire ship. You can't take it appart with nobody seeing. And I thought that these ships had trasponders? How is it that two ships are completely off the radar? Exactly where do you hide a ship that weighs a couple of tons? There are satellites in orbit that can see what you are doing in your living room but we can't find an oil tanker? Is this serious?

Nigeria's navy seized MT African Pride tanker along with 13 Russian sailors, on suspicion of smuggling last October.

But the tanker, laden with crude oil, disappeared last month. Navy and police officials have blamed each other.

MT African Pride? Better rename that ship quick!!


Friday, September 17, 2004

Kenyan MP's Stylin'

It has bothered me for the longest how many African Countries have leadership that wear European style clothing as "normal business attire." It seems that some Kenyans have had the same feelings and have done something about it:

The search for a national dress began early this year, a few months after three Kenyan MPs were barred from entering parliament for wearing brightly-coloured Nigerian robes called Agbadas.

Rules dating back to the colonial era stated that male MPs must wear suits and ties in the chamber.

"This argument that the only dress that can be decent is European dress is to me awfully colonial. And I am not sure that even Europeans would today dare advance such an argument," MP Koigi wa Wamwere said at the time.

A small step for Pan-Africanism. I have a number of Agbadas and it is good to see Africans from a whole other side of the continent and a whole other cultural heritage to embrace that clothing.

Good news is good.


Thursday, September 16, 2004

More Cosby Hate

Last week Black Commentator republished a post from yours truely entitled "Cosby on the Brain." BC's response was that if the media ceased to put Cosby in our faces then they woudl no have Cosby on the brain. fair enough, I agree that Cosby is getting way more press than he should. I will also agree that the purpose of such press is undoubtedly to try and sour the population on "traditional" black leadership. That being said, There still has not been a detailed, fact based rebut to anything Cosby has said, except his waaaaaaaay off remark regarding black names. Cosby, if you are reading this: It was wrong and you should apologise immediately!!!

Anyways today i glanced at the BC and foudn that Margaret Kimberly, blogger and regular contributor took a swipe at Cosby. She points to Bill Cosby's recent remarks at a CBC event:

The continued appeal of the certifiably disturbed Bill Cosby results from the particularly noxious combination of triumphant right wing ideology and black self-hatred, but is also the latest example of the unwritten law that says blacks must support prominent blacks, even when they make statements that are both useless and mean spirited.

Cosby’s latest rant, performed at the Congressional Black Caucus annual conference, was part and parcel of his new comedy routine. He legitimized the worst, most offensive assumptions about black people, in this case telling stories about immoral black women exposing their children to abusive relationships with men who are “…lower forms of life.” Speak for yourself Cosby. Even the black caucus has abetted turning a villain into a figure of hero worship, all because he is black, successful and famous.

Certifiably distrubed? Ms. Kimberly must have caught the same disease as the Swift Boat veterans. As proof of her claims she offers a link to MSNBC found here:

The "offending" quote:


Now, Bill Cosby speaks his mind and he‘s at it again.  And this is what he said last night at a conference sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus. 


BILL COSBY, ENTERTAINER:  When a mother brings in three different men in the course of about 12 years and all of the men coming from some low form of life, when a child witnesses helplessly the mother being battered and then making love to the man and then being battered and then putting him out and taking him back in, then this child is helpless and scarred forever. 

Now someone needs to explain to me how the above statement makes one "certifiably disturbed." Is ms Kimberly saying that what Cosby said is untrue? Is she saying that there are not women, mothers out there who enter into brutal relationships? Is she saying that children who witness such brutalities are NOT scarred for life? Exactly what is wrong with that statement? How useless is that statement? Maybe Ms. Kimberly does not know of people who exhibit such behaviour but I do. I know plenty and maybe they'll listen this time. Maybe Cosby's words will embolden someone to step in and help a mother in such a situation.

But of course this isn't the case, What this is about is perception. This is about people having knee-jerk reactions to critiques of segments of the black community. Ms. Kimberly is in the same boat as Malik Shabazz, an otherwise intelligent person, and member of the New Black Panther Party:

SCARBOROUGH:  Malik, let me ask you the same question.  What did you make of Bill Cosby‘s speech last night? 

MALIK ZULU SHABAZZ, BLACK LAWYERS FOR JUSTICE:  The reason why I disagree with Mr. Cosby is because he may have some genuine concerns, but he uses so many stereotypes.  Not all black people and mothers are sleeping with three men in the black community.  Not every black man that gets with a black woman comes from a low form of life. 

There are many black children that come out of impoverished areas and ghettos like berry farms that have gone on to get their degrees.  So I really think that sometimes Bill just has sipped on a little bit too much Remy-Martin and may have had a little bit too much Jell-O pudding.  And he just gets up there.  I‘m starting to call him big-mouth Bill.  Sometimes, he doesn‘t make any sense to me. 

...SHABAZZ:  Absolutely.  He‘s broad brushing and overstereotyping the conditions in the black community.  And he‘s taking them out of context, out of the context of racism, oppression and their legacy of slavery. 

Now, in terms of doing something for ourselves and taking care of our community, our children, I can support that, but I think Bill is on another sense hypocritical. 

Now looking back at Cosby's statements I don't see anywhere, where he says all black women are involved in bad relationships. only an idiot would assume that he meant all. But we all know of the type that Bill talks about. Ms. Kimberly cannot deny their existance and neither can Mr. Shabazz. And regarding doing for self, there was Cosby in Newark NJ talking with Gang members to urge them to put down the guns and pick up the books. To be better men, husbands and fathers. There was Bill in Newark talking to the audience and telling them how he nows how nasty we all can be to each other. So for those of us informed on the topic, the image that ms.Kimberly, et al. want to project of a callous and confused Cosby does not stand up and is as bad as the swift-boat veterans lying for Bush.

So exactly is being mean spirited here? Who the cap fit.


Friday, September 10, 2004

"Im a Negro Dammit!! 2

Apparently The Black Commentator Chose to publish our rebut to Dr. Rhymes article which can be read below along with his response in the comments section. As a result I've seen a small spike in traffic to the blog. So thanks to BC for the link.

One of our new readers commented on our McWhorter piece. They said that they agreed with McWhorter "in spirit, if not in letter" contending that, as McWhorter claimed, there are plenty of domestic examples of black achievement. and that as Dr. Rhymes put it ( they quoted him) we have little self pride that the reach for Africa is a grasp at self-esteem.

I'll say this, In my time at Tuskegee and elsewhere I do know of many people who used Black Power politics to prop up damaged self-esteem, so I won't say that it doesn't happen, but to claim that many of us who identify ourselves with other Africans, be they here, there or anywhere, are doing so out of a lack of self-esteem does not make sense. Let me illustrate:

When we go to school we are exposed to the history of the French, English, Romans, Greeks, Italians, Spanish, etc. Why is that? When you see white people who happen to be of Irish descent blowing bagpipes and wearing Kilts are they somehow proping up damaged self-esteem? What about Italians who never stepped foot in Italy but proudly talk of their italian heritage and name thier kids with Italian names and are largely Catholic? Are they proping up some damaged self -esteem? What of Chinese who may never have stepped foot in china, who give their kids Chinese names instead of "American" ones, Who enjoy Chinese food, and have little Buddahs in thier homes? Are they nursing damaged self-esteem?

Of course not, the link to ones past and ones history is natural for humans. The damage that African Americans have is that they were forceably cut off from their cultures. As a result what we have a a very damaged culture. Much of "Southern Cuisine" is in fact slave food. And the worst thing about it is that it is largely not any good for us and is possibly the largest contributor to African-American incidences of Heart Disease, Hypertension, Diabeties, etc.

But let's not even dwell on that, If Italians, Irish, English Chinese, and other hyphenated Americans see no conflict in claiming their past as well as their current, why is it bad for blacks? Why is it a sign of mental weaknes for us to do so? again, why should we be limited to only use the past 400 years of a single geographic location as a means of inspiration and example? Why reject a Phillip Emeagwali for a Ben Carson when you can have them both? Why reject a Cabral for a King when you can have both? Everyday white Americans appropriate the cultural artifacts ( living and dead) from people all over the world, yet we tell our youths to just look in America. That's silly.

But rejection is at the base of McWhorter's arguement whereas the Black Power movement was about acceptance and cooperation. It was a Blackness based on the commonality of our existances and the diversity of our culture. What McWhorter advocates is a blackness of rejection and division. We should know better than this.

Anyway, the commentator failed to answer out final question: How does McWhorter and those of his Ilk deal with people, like me, who are not Christians or Muslim, Do eat African food, among others, practices a specific African religion, and have African names (self designated or given by parents)?


Wednesday, September 08, 2004


" The Negro, strictly speaking is an American creation and does not exist anywhere else."
-James Baldwin (paraphrased)

John McWhorter recentlty wrote a commentary piece entitled Why I'm Black, Not African American which I was going to put on blast. Instead i decided to take on the subject with seriiousness because I know for many people of African descent or "of African Ancestry" or " African Descended" as Gill Noble often puts it, this issue of what we call ourselves is a sensitive one, one that brings up all kinds of feelings of inferiority, displacement, pride, shame, etc.

Strictly speaking, there are few if any "black" people on the planet. Indeed within' the United States it may be safe to say that there are no "black" people whatsoever. What exists in the US that is classified as "black" or "African-American" are people of varying shades of brown and yellow lumped together largely because whites were unwilling to lay claim to their own offspring.

Going back in history there are/were people in various regions of Africa who were indeed so brown they were black. Many of us can attest to meeting someone so dark they were blue. It was the stark contrast between blacks and Europeans ( and some Arabs) that caused them to signify us with the color black. So in reality the reason why we have referred to ourselves as "black" regeardless of our actual genetics or skin tone, was an issue of common culture, Black and African is and was interchangeable. To say that someone was black was to say they were African. Of course in the US (and elsewhere) with the huge stigma attached to being black, those who were able or by social custom, were designated as "colored." Now of course this had two implications, The first was the implication that the person was a "colored in white person" and/or that this person was not "as black" as a "real" black. All said and done, when the 'black pride" movement took over, the use of the term black was an attempt to dismantle the coded language and to express solidarity with those of us who were black but not neccessarily "American." Indeed if one looks at some of the old literature, it would be immediately apparent that many of the early blacks regarded themselves as Africans, hence the various 'African-Lodges" and "African Churches" that existed way back in the early history of the United States. This of course does not dove with the image that McWhorter attempts to project:

But what about the black business districts that thrived across the country after slavery was abolished? What about Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. Du Bois, Gwendolyn Brooks, Richard Wright and Thurgood Marshall, none born in Africa and all deeply American people? And while we're on Marshall, what about the civil rights revolution, a moral awakening that we gave to ourselves and the nation.

But let us look at the mentality with which McWhorter attempts to frame his newfound "blackness:"

It sets us apart from the mainstream. It carries an air of standing protest, a reminder that our ancestors were brought here against their will, that their descendants were treated like animals for centuries, and that we have come a long way since then.

But we need a way of sounding those notes with a term that, first, makes some sense and, second, does not insult the actual African Americans taking their place in our country. And our name must also celebrate our history here, in the only place that will ever be our home. To term ourselves as part "African" reinforces a sad implication: that our history is basically slave ships, plantations, lynching, fire hoses in Birmingham, and then South Central, and that we need to look back to Mother Africa to feel good about ourselves.

How stunted and cut off McWhorter feels. For him, and indeed many "blacks" of his mentality, all they can see in the past is slave ships and lynchings. Indeed, if that was all that Africa meant to me, I would be ashamed too. In regards to Slavery, I choose to take a positive view of the experience. Unlike those who thank thier "god" for the white man to bring Christianity to us and 'rescue us from each other." I choose to see myself as the descendants of survivors. I am among the toughest of the tough. The most cunning of the cunning. The survivors survivor. And if over all the odds against it, I could be here today, then there is nothing that can stop me from suceeding except myself. When I think of Africa, I think of the great religion of the Egyptians, still being practiced in the forms of Judaism, Chrisitanity and Islam, Ifa and santeria. I think, "how powerfully relevant and timeless these religions must be to have survived thousands of years and brutal attempts to eradicate them. Unlike McWhorter I refuse to be parochial in my acceptance of being "part African." For being "part African' allows be me take the examples of Toussaint L'Ouveture and Jean-Jaques Dessalines. Of Paul Bogle and Kwame Nkrumah, of Nandi Azikwe and Kwame Toure, of Marcus Garvey and Amilcar Cabral.

That same "Part African" allows me to embrace, Martin Luther Kings, Frederick Douglass, Martin Delany, Denmark Vesey, Ida B.. Wells, Harriet Tubman, Sojournor Truth, Mae Jemmison, Assata Shakur, James Baldiwn, Duke Ellington. See being part of the global African family means being part of a huge tapestry of culture. only a person of limited understanding would want to "simply be black.' But wait, I understand why. See blacks see what is going on in Africa, War, AIDS, Poverty and they are not proud, They see people who are dependent and can't get their act together. McWhorter fails to understand that by virtue of being "black" he had a 74% chance of being one of those "Africans." To paraphrase a writer; it is not whether you are my friend when times are good, but whether you stand with me when times are bad.

Lastly I want to address this point McWhorter makes:

Modern America is home now to millions of immigrants who were born in Africa. Their cultures and identities are split between Africa and the United States. They have last names like Onwughalu and Senkofa. They speak languages like Wolof, Twi, Yoruba and Hausa, and speak English with an accent. They were raised on African cuisine, music, dance and dress styles, customs and family dynamics. Their children often speak or at least understand their parents' native language.

Living descendants of slaves in America neither knew their African ancestors nor even have elder relatives who knew them. Most of us worship in Christian churches. Our cuisine is more southern U.S. than Senegalese. Starting with ragtime and jazz, we gave America intoxicating musical beats based on African conceptions of rhythm, but with melody and harmony based on Western traditions.

Also, we speak English. Black Americans' home speech is largely based on local dialects of England and Ireland. Africa echoes in the dialect only as a whisper, in certain aspects of sound and melody. A working-class black man in Cincinnati has more in common with a working-class white man in Providence than with a Ghanaian.

On his first point, had "Modern America" been in the 1700's then he same statement would apply. When does the African become 'just black." But what is most interesting and which was a point brought up by the US organization under Maulana Karenga, the culture gap. Africans in America ( the old ones) have a serious choice to make. We have adopted so much of European lifestyles (from which American life is based upon) that we are killing off our own culture. We lost our names die to the slave trade and many of us keep those names, why not reclaim the names? many say that they have no idea where they are from so they won't do it. Well I guess the name of one of your relatives slave masters is better than any old African name. Why are blacks still Christians? It is beyond contention that most blacks in this hemisphere are Christians by heredity rather than by choice. Why not reclaim an African religion? Same excuse probably. To be sure there are many differences between Africans of the Diaspora and of those 'at home," There are differences between Finns and Italians too. MAny of our differences are the result of historical inertia and simply not choosing to do things differently. A question that Mr. McWhorter should ask is, how would one classify one who does eat "African food', has an "African" name, practices an "African" religion but has never stepped foot in Africa?

We usually call ourselves "new Africans." we embrace both our Americaness and our Africannesss. We too usually reject the term "African-American" and self identify as "black" on occasion. But most people can't seem to figure us out.


Friday, September 03, 2004

A Lasting Lesson From Tuskegee

While I attended Tuskegee University, I joined a group called Ka Het-Heu Ka Ra. one had a 9 week initiation in order to become a member of the organization. I can't go into what was entailed but there was one lesson that I can share that I have found to be of great value and I believe should be shared by others. We were required to read portions of, if not the entire book, The Art of Leadership by Oba TShaka. As a part of our leadership training we were taught a means of evaluating arguments, programs, and the like. The concept was called : Compliment, Critique and Correct.

Compliment: when presented with an argument, one was required to note what was good, correct, or otherwise positive in that argument, even if you disagreed with it. The reason for this, I soon learned, was to avoid the human tendancy to ignore all parts of a discussion except for the ones we disagreed with and forced us to listen to the person who was speaking instead of sitting (or standing) there are formulating a response in our heads.

Critique: After finding whatever compliment we can make, which sometimes is merely that the person spoke well, we can then lay out our critque of that argument. I prefer, especially in written forums, to be very quotidian as to not be accused of twisting or changing the words of the person I'm critiquing.

Corrective: This step is also very counterintuitive for many people. We tend to want to chop off the head of our opponent and walk away and say "see!!" This is a very common problem among people who discuss black issues. We disagree and often have no other suggestion. We just know that we disagree. When dealing with racism (white supremacy) what we do is talk about what white people have done, or are doing (we often do not discuss future plans). Then our entire conversation steers towards how to convince white people ( and thier black cohorts) to stop doing whatever it was we found them doing. In so doing, we have left ourselves open to charges of "playing the victim" by our opponents. Our opponents will often say: "Look how far we've come." "Look at what we can do." The usual problem with this group is that they tend to act as if there is no racism or that it is minimal. They fail to see that there is often a high cost associated with thier success. Let me use an example here. Oprah Winfrey, arguably the most successful black woman in modern America, has had to (or decided to) make some serious compromised due to white supremacy to achieve her success. Back in the early 1990's she endeavoured to use one of her daily shows to talk about racism. Not only did her ratings drop but some of those same white folks who professed so much love for her turned on her. There hasn't been anything close to that on Oprhas show since. One time after that she made some off the cuff remark about latent white racism and was rebuked again. Oprah does not often get caught making such statements anymore. Will Smith, in an interview with Barbara Walters, talked a little bit about racism and his belief that AIDS was man made. He was ridiculed( as much as a comedian can be) and since then I have not heard him repeat such statements or make any kind of commentary regarding racism. There are numerous other examples I could give, but the general idea is that even the most successful black person is usually sucessfull by shedding the more "uncomfortable" aspects of being black in order to "do business."

But what is not often discussed about these succesful blacks, including those we don't even hear about who are not celebrities, is the fact that many of them started off poor, with nothing. The very same conditions that mire a significant number of black youths. The singular thing that they all have in common were the choices they made. Dr. Ben Carson decided to stop trying to follow the crowd and became a top neuro-surgeon. Oprah followed her dreams. In each case they no doubt had their detractors, kids who teased them, times when money was short. Times when "The body was calling." Times when whites put obstacles in their path. In Oprahs case, she no doubt had a triple set of problems: Black, woman, and "overweight". Let's not make little of the fact that all of the sucessful people got that way not only because they worked hard, but also because people extended help to them. Ultimately, in the end, they made choices as to how they would deal with their environments. choices that opened up other choices for them. It is often this concept, the power to choose to change how one deals with the circumstances handed to you, is what many of these successfull people tend to speak about. And this is a good thing: Ultimately we cannot control what other people do or say to us, but we can determine how we react to such behaviors. It is often at this point where the disagreements begin. because the sucessful person is talking about what you can do to change your situation and not about what external party caused your situation, they are said to be soft on racism. Thus someone like Bill Cosby; gets slandered by numerous blacks for being quoted (out of context) talking about "those people not holding up their end" and is ignored when he shows up at a Gang-summit to discuss how the gang members can change thier lives. Such is the reason for the "compliment, critique, and correct" program. It allows critical thinkers and problem solvers to sift through information in a manner that does not lock them into inflexible ways of thinking. It allows the critical thinker to take Cosby to task for errant statements such as those refering to African and African_American names, while seeing the overal value of his criticism.

I fear that if we do not as conscious black people begine to be more careful in our discussions of race and racism, we will find that we are going to alienate the very people we should be able to call upon for help. Calling us "fools" and "misinformed' or "mis-educated" is not going to fly. Only by admitting both the rights and wrongs of all discussion will lead us forward.


Thursday, September 02, 2004

Cosby on the Brain

I'm not sure if Bill Cosby has ever gotten so much midshare among AA's since the heyday of The Cosby Show. It is most disturbing to see how otherwise educated and informed people choose to demonize Bill Cosby on the basis of incomplete reporting and a whole mess of supposition and innuendo. The Black Commentator, whom has had some of the best "progressive" black writings found on the Web, has continued to sink into the quagmire of Cosby hating, and has employed numerous others ( white even) to continue to pile garbage on Cosby. After a two week reprieve BC came back with more vitrole in the sideways commentary of one Dr. Edward Rhymes. Now after Dr. Rhymes last guest column on that site I sent him a copy of my original commentary and we had an pleasant exchange where we ultimately agreed to disagree on the specific subject that some blacks equate being eduucated as being white. Now we are all entitled to our own opinion, but as a Dr. and teacher, Dr. Rhymes knows that he should be able to present alternative arguments or at least indicate that such positions exist. To begin is latest commentary Dr. Rhymes says:

It is the relative ease in which we as a people appear to believe the worst about ourselves. While a great deal of time and dialogue has been spent, lately, on our presumed sociopathic behaviors, we have ignored something even more sociopathic – our disturbing tendency to demonize ourselves.

I must agree. In fact just today I had to respond to someone online who insisted that blacks were inherently intellectually inferior to whites and possibly everybody else on the planet. Their "proof" being the apparent lack of "known" geniuses" and "accomplishments" in the hard sciences. So on this point I must agree with Dr. Rhymes.

Rhymes continues:
It appears that if we hear something negative about ourselves we are quick to take ownership. “Black people are drugs addicts and drug dealers,” and our response? “Yep, that’s us.” “Most Black folks are lazy and on welfare,” and our response? “Yep, that’s us.” It seems that we don’t challenge, we won’t question and we do ourselves a great disservice.

I'm not sure who Dr. Rhymes is talking about. Certainly I have not heard any black celebrities (including Dr. Cosby) make any claim that most black folks are lazy ( though the argument could be made, but not the way it's being set up here). Nor have I heard any black "leader" or "celebrity" (including Dr. Cosby) claim that blacks make the most of the persons on welfare. Most of the blacks that I know, who are critical of black behavior themselves, will quickly point out that whites make up the majority of the welfare cases regardless of what the TV tells us. So I would like for Dr. Rhymes to at least substantiate his claim by pointing out which celebrity has made such claims and when.

Rhymes continues:
Nowadays I can rarely turn on my television or radio without hearing some African-American analyst defending affirmative action (almost apologetically) as if we, as blacks, have been the greatest beneficiaries of it. This just isn’t the case. Although ethnic minorities have greatly benefited from affirmative action policies, white women, statistically, have benefited more than any other group from affirmative action.

Again, Dr. Rhymes has it right when he says that blacks have been the main defenders of Affirmative Action. He is also correct when he states that white women are the main beneficiaries of such programs. Again, I would like for Dr. Rhymes to provide us with the names of Celebrities or leaders who have been saying that blacks are the main beneficiaries. From my perspective the leadership, celebrities and educators that I know of , all decry the fact that Affirmative Action has been diluted to be a "diversity gimmick" rather than a true repairative tool for African-Americans.

Rhymes continues:
We are portrayed as oversexed or lascivious and yet the porn and adult entertainment industry is dominated by whites. Luke Skywalker, R. Kelly and Snoop Dogg are mere drops in the bucket compared to Hugh Hefner, Larry Flint and the Hustler, Penthouse and Playboy empires. Nevertheless, it is African Americans that get accused of being rampant, sexual beasts, unable to control our urges, unable to keep our legs crossed, unable to keep it in our pants. And do we take a stand against such flawed and misleading characterizations? No, on the contrary, we are more than willing to accept full title to them.

Well we all should know about the source of sexual anxiety in white America. But, ummm, has Dr,. Rhymes been studying the porn industry? I mean, I want to know? what kind of research has he been doing? Well ok.. I'm kidding. I just wanted comic relief.

Rhymes continues:
It also seems that we love to decry the notion that our young people can tell us what the words are to the latest rap album, but can’t tell us who James Baldwin is. My beautiful brothers and sisters, allow me to let you in on something: I have taught more white students than I have black students and I know a great many white students who cannot recite the preamble to the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence and can’t tell you who William Lloyd Garrison is, but can tell you the lyrics to the latest Ludacris song. How come they don't come under the same condemnation as our African-American students? Once again, a shortcoming that is prevalent in society becomes a specific black identifier.

I was going to save this one for lastm but I'll touch it now. Again, I don't believe that a single celebrity or leader has stated that black people have all the problems and whites don't. If I'm wrong I would invite Dr. Rhymes to provide us with specifics as to who said what and when. The issue with many of us "self critiquers", especially those of the Garveyite strain, is that while "all have fallen short" what we do has a larger impact on us than those of whites. One common comment I hear among my peers is that a white youth who wants to act a fool in school can decide later in life to straighten out and take advantage of tha racial preferences afforded him in hiring, housing etc. Not that it's fair or right, but that it's an option, and option often taken. However when black youths squander their time in school, the sysem is so crafty that they may find themselves at a permanent extra disadvantage. When a group has as many disadvantages on it, such as those detailed in the Urban Leagues numerous reports, it should be understood why blacks who want us to "rise up" would be extremely critical of negative behaviors of certain black youths. It is a mistake to then imply that by being so critical we are overlooking the dumb behaviors of whites. I believe that this is the point missed by Dr. Rhymes and, unfortunatly, The editors of The Black Commentator.

Dr. Rhymes continues:
We are crossing the dangerous threshold where myth is becoming reality and reality is becoming myth (this is increasing with each passing day). We have cloaked ourselves in the stereotypes of the most contemptible aspects of this society and have treated them as if they are unique to our culture and identity. Makes no difference to us if the majority of drug dealers and users are white, makes no difference if the “typical” criminal is a white, non-Hispanic male or that black males are less prone to abuse their partners than whites.

Dr. Rhymes puts out questionable information here. The Department of Justice in a report entitled Violence By Intimates published in 1998 showed that while Blacks have shown the greatest decrease in incidences of murders by intimates, the rate of murders by intimates are 3 to5 times the rate of white males/females. So while it would be correct to state that blacks have been putting in work to decrease the rates, the fact is that at the end of the day we are killing each other more often than whites. Also according to the same publication poor people, regardless of race, have up to a 7.8x rate of domestic violence than those making $75,000 or more. So, for instance, when Dr. Cosby directed his attention to "the lower economic people" and asking them ( the men) to stop beating on the women, he was dead on target. Of course we can argue that all people should stop domestic violence, but as stated earlier we, my peers, are concerned with what blacks are doing.

Similarly, with the issue of drug dealing:" It would be agreed that most drug dealers and purchasers are white. But what does that really matter to those in housing projects and other places where the black drug dealers are killing their kids and making thier neighborhoods unlivable? They are concerned with the black drug dealers and users they have to face each and everyday, Why should we NOT address those individuals? Again, this doesn't negate the facts of use and dealing it merely puts them in a context.

Dr Rhymes Continues:
Where was the “well done” for our young black sisters when the press release from the National Center for Health Statistics (dated December 17, 2003) stated that teenage pregnancy had gone down by 30 percent in the past decade and that the sharpest drop of any group was African-American teenage girls – 40% in the last decade and 50% since 1991? Where was the collective “bravo” for our young people when the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of the Census acknowledged that the African-American dropout rate (as of 2001) was at 10.9% - the lowest it’s ever been? Also, it was almost identical to the national average (meaning all students) of 10.7%. Most of us appear to be unaware of this information – so it appears that our youth aren’t the only ones who need to study more. Yes, I’d love to see the dropout rate down to 0%; but that shouldn’t preclude us from celebrating what we have achieved. I think it would be wonderful if none of our young women became pregnant in their teenage years, but I am proud of what they have done.  The high-profile prophets of black negativity, who are so geared up to impugn our youth, could not be found to herald their triumphs just as enthusiastically.

Again, like he did in the reporting on domestic violence, Dr, Rhymes gives us a partial picture of teen pregnancy in black communties. The Guttenberg Institute released a report entitled U.S. Teen Pregnancy Statistics shows that while it is indeed true that the rate black teen pregnancy has dropped dramatically, black teen pregnancy rates(15-19 yoa) is almost twice that of whites (71.4/1000 vs. 154/1000). In fact, the same report shows that in every state that kept records, the black rate of pregnancy is always higher than that of whites. However it must be noted that in raw numbers whites teens get pregnant more than black teens, except in New Jersey and New York (a focus area of Bill Cosby) Now I won't get into the philosphical argument about whether teen pregnancy and abortion is right or wrong. Nor will I say that the drop in the rate is not to be commended, but clearly, if teen pregnancy is an issue of concern, then the rates are still an issue of concern.

On the drop out rate, I question these numbers. While it may be true, and I stress may because according to the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University the governments official cencus data og high school graduation tates ins obtained from surveys of individuals who self-report their own education status. furthermore the US department of Education surveys take in only about half of school districts nationally. many of the non-reporting districts are in areas with high dropout rates. that the drop out rate in high schools are 10.7% nationaly, the graduation rates tell a way different story. In 1998 the average graduation rate of black ( and you must graduate to move onto university) was 56%. If only 10% are dropping out, what happened to the near 40% that did not graduate? Did they drop off the planet? To all the Cosby criiticisers I have pointed these things out to, none, not a single one has presented information to the contrary. If Dr. Rhymes has information to refute these claims I would surely give him the space here at Garvey's Ghost to present that information.

Dr. Rhymes continues:
Further evidence of this need to falsely indict ourselves, are the comments Spike Lee made on the Tavis Smiley Show (Thursday, July 22) when he insinuated that blacks don’t embrace and support dramas as much we should – citing the lack of turnout for movies such as Antwone Fisher. Interestingly, Denzel Washington (producer & director of Antwone Fisher) was on the program the following day. Tavis put the question of whether or not blacks supported dramas as they should and Denzel’s answer was: “Well dramas, first of all, don’t do as well, period. Black or white, they don’t do as well.”

I've heard this debate and I've listen and watched Spike Lee talk about this topic a number of times. First lets say this: Spike Lee's recent movies have not been that good. I say this as a Spike Lee fan. It's been pretty much down hill since Malcolm X. But I think the true discussion about black drama has been around black historical drama. When I've had this discussion the movies that come up are "Daughers of the Dust" " Get on the Bus" "Bamboozled" and Oprahs "Beloved." The issue has actually centered around blacks supposed desire to see "positive" role models and films "relevant" to their history but then fail to give mass support to the movies mentioned.

Rhymes continues:
After watching the interview I decided to research to ascertain which claim was true. I found that of the top 100 highest grossing movies of all-time, there were only 6 dramas (and a few of those were not what I would call “true” dramas – Titanic, Gladiator, to name a couple). I also looked at the top grossing dramas that were released during the summertime (summertime being important because that’s when dramas usually do the worst – studios like to roll out the action flicks) since 1982. Out of the 59 dramas that were listed, 9 were either produced or directed by African Americans (Do The Right Thing, Boyz-N-The Hood, Mo Better Blues – if you haven’t noticed, two of these movies are Spike’s); had a predominately black cast (What’s Love Got Do With It) or one or more of the leading roles were portrayed by African Americans (Corrina Corrina, Courage Under Fire, 187).

This illustrates my point. Boyz in the Hood, Mo Betta, Do the Right Thing were all contemporary movies that with the exception of Do The Right thing didn't even begin to touch the deeper levels of racism in America. 187, which is one of my favorite movies, is fiction and has a lead black character that could have easily been white. In fact the movie itself was written by a teacher, though I do not know the race of that teacher (and don't particularly care). So again, while Rhymes is correct in his surface analysis of Spike Lee's comment, I believe that the observation is out of context. After all if, Movies such as Beloved had as strong a suport as Baby Boy, then we'd have seen more movies like it.

Rhymes concludes:
why should I have to answer questions about the supposed deviant behavior of the black community, when whites do not have to do the same? The minute I answer one question, I am saying: “I am inferior.” For me, it is absolutely that simple. Do we, in the black community, have real concerns? No doubt about it. Can we do better? Yes, most definitely. Misconceptions, miseducation and misleading stereotypes do not offer any real answers. The Christian scriptures tell us that “you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” As we, as a community, declare war on irresponsibility, ignorance, crime, poverty and the vast number of concerns that we face; we must be circumspect. I would think that we, who live in present-day America, would know exactly what it means to declare a war based on flawed and unproven information.

Let's answer that last question. It's the same as my previous discussion on black behaviors. In reality I don't have to answer to whites for black behavior, In fact in "mixed company" I refrain from doing so for the very same reason that Dr. Rhymes does. However, these issues can, should and are brought up by blacks to other blacks ( as was done in Cosby's speech) and we should be answerable to each other. Isn't that how community works? One does not inferiorise oneself by asking and answering questions asked by the community. Only if the charges are false is it an inferiorizing act to claim such charges. Unfortunatly Dr. Rhymes falls victim to the same Misconceptions, Mis-education and misleading "stereotypes" he attempts to refute. In his quest to, as the Yoruba say, to not let good be the enemy of best, he gives us a few half truths and uses them to smear unnamed and unverified "leaders" ,"reporters" and "celebrities." Fortunately for us there is the internet where statistics can be found by any and everyone who takes the time to look up the information.


Wednesday, September 01, 2004

economic girlie-men

That's what Arnold "The Governator" Schwarzenegger called those of us who have serious issues with how the economy is being run. 2 months ago I gave a presentation on personal finance to some college students. I gave this presentation after a "certified" financial planner with connections to JP Morgan who told them that houses are assets. In my presentation to the students I told them that houses are only assets if you have someone else living in it and paying you to do so. If you own the house you live in you are living in a liabilty. Let's remember that Assets are things that put money in your pocket or generate income while liabilities are things that take money out of your pocket. When you live in a house you pay mortgage, insurance, electricity,etc. SO all the while you live there you are putting money out. But the banking industry struck up a new way for Americans to get into debt. Rather than sell your home, you can take out a "home equity loan." a Home equity loan is simply money given to you against the value of your property ( which is assumed to rise). In otherwords you go right back into debt that you were paying on your home. What is worse is that some companies will give up to 10% over the mortgage or appraised value of the home. Anyway the only time the home becomes an asset is when you sell it. Of course once you sell it you need to find somewhere else to live, which means of course that you'll end up using that money to buy something else. This means that property values will increase far more rapidly in the past as people turn over thier homes in order to "get rich quick." The result being that a great many people will eventually be priced out of homes that aren't really even worth the money they are going for but have been artifically inflated due to turn over. I reminded the students that in the book "Millionaire next door" the millionaire status of those people did not include the value of their homes.

Over at The Motley Fool Bill Mann underscored my point:

I'm pessimistic about the economy. I'm afraid that the Federal Reserve has backed itself into a corner. I'm afraid that lending discipline among mortgage companies has completely collapsed. I am concerned that low interest rates have been used to entice the American consumer to clean up a recession borne by an irresponsible corporate spending binge by going on one of his own. I'm afraid that the $200 billion-plus that Americans have cashed out of their houses has been spent, and the next drop in interest rates won't be concomitant with a rise in prices; rather, it will be because of a full-fledged financial emergency.

So fine, I'm an economic girlie-man. Here's another thing: I'm not someone rooting for things to be worse. I'm a four-alarm, full-fledged laissez-faire capitalist South Park Republican fiscal conservative. I don't think people can get rich by buying houses from one another for ever more money. I don't think that the path to ultimate financial success is to borrow more; it doesn't work on an individual level, and it sure as heck doesn't work on a national level. I think that the most exceptional thing about America's economic performance is its historical willingness to allow the successful to succeed and the failures to fail. The failures, of course, can jump back up, try again, and THEN succeed. But the talk of how many jobs some president has created or lost (as if) turns what is great about America right on its ear, because if I know one thing about economics, it is this: There aren't a few smart folks in a room somewhere controlling things. In fact, the more smart folks try to control the economy, the more things tend to get screwed up.

The OCC points at the aggressive marketing for home equity loans by banks as one such result. And these loans are increasingly being taken on not for capital projects such as home additions or education, but for regular spending needs.
.. And with mortgage debt now taking up a full 77% of total consumer debt, in an economic slowdown, that last source of cash for many will not be available.

Now that's the hard truth there. That's what is being hidden from the population. And they just might vote against thier interests... again.