Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ishamel Reed Breaks it D.O.W.N

Yesterday I read Ishmael Reed's excellent take down of white and black media pundits who have been trying to big themselves up by attacking black people via Hip Hop and the repeated slander of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. I usually take key quotes from articles and comment on them but the piece was so HARD, so TIGHT that all I can do is point you to it. Well OK ONE quote:

Imus also set himself up as the arbiter about whom black men should date. Of course, the majority of blacks have some European heritage--my mother has Irish-American ancestors on both her mother and father's side. But black people didn't become a Creole nation as a result of black men and white women having sex. Indeed, the first deadbeat dad of an African-American household was almost certainly English, Irish, or Scots-Irish. Both Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington's white slave-owning fathers had nothing to do with them. And though some black men are abusive to their families, I don't know of any who have sold their own children for profit.

What whaaaat!!

Go here:

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Double Standards by the Numbers

So last week I attended a presentation given by some university students on the black woman. The point of the program was to discuss how black women went from being queens to being ho's and what should be done about it. The moderator of the event made a point that really should have been at the center of the discussion, that we should ask what is going on in the minds of men and women in black communities that they look at each other as pimps and ho's. Unfortunately this point was missed in the ensuing discussion about Buffy The Body, tight clothing and titles of porn films.

This was unfortunate because I saw a pronounced current of a need to control womens bodies. As if Buffy the Body posing in whatever she chooses to is THE problem or even A problem. One of the ironic points that came up was that one of the young women giving the presentation was wearing form fitting clothing and she's not a stick. I didn't have a problem with it. She didn't have a problem with it, but an audience member did find it contradictory that she was critiquing people in tight clothing while she herself was doing the same. Her explanation was that since her flash wasn't exposed it was acceptable. That's a pretty laughable point because it veers into a discussion of who is allowed to draw the line as to what is acceptable and what is not. But that's not really the point of this post.

The real problem I had with this discussion as well as the fallout from the Imus situation is the habit that many people, blacks included tend to stereotype black people based on the actions of a very few people. What is most startling about this situation is that other people are involved in the exact same behavior and are not called to account for their race for that behavior. Let me begin with "video ho's" as they are "affectionately" called.

There are supposedly 33 to 35 million black people in America. Lets say that 1/2 of them are women. If we take that assumption then we can say that there are around 17 million black females in the US. How many videos with black women shaking what their mammas gave them are there in current rotation. I'm not asking how often they are shown but how many of them are out. 100? 200? 1000?. How many women are in the videos? That is how many different women are in the total number of videos? 20? 50? 100? Assuming the largest number of unique black women in "booty shake" videos we could say that there are 100,000 unique black "booty shakers" in total max. That would be .5% of the total population of black women. So the question is why does 99.5% of black womanhood have to even explain themselves for the .5%? Why are we so fixated on the lives of these women? On the other hand there are girls gone wild videos, desperate housewives, and daytime soaps that show white women getting laid left right and center and yet no one even THINKS to either call these "actresses" ho's or to have various leaders explain how they don't reflect white womanhood in general. No it is assumed and expected that those white women who choose to show their breasts at spring break or whatever only reflect themselves (to an extent).

Since the young women in the presentation brought up porn, let me address that one. The largest population currently "starring" in porn are white women. But I will ask the question again; while the industry is a $2 billion one, how many actual "stars" are there. The fact of the matter is that there are not that many. In fact that 100,000 "booty shakers" that I estimated before is HUGE compared to the numbers of actual porn stars. While there are plenty of sexist language in pornographic "acting" and titles (as the young ladies read for us), a cursory glance across the board will let you know that the sexist language is not reserved for black women. Also a "study" of the vast internet porn marketplace will show that just about any and every racial group of women are "represented" (often at the "service" of a white male but that's another discussion). Again since the populations of black women involved in this industry is miniscule compared to the population of black women, why are black people being asked to explain themselves for the actions of a literal handful of people?

Lets look at Rap music. how many so called gangster rappers are there out there screamin' about bitches and ho's? 500? 1000? since the last time I listened to the radio I only heard the same 5-6 artists the over and over again I'm going to assume that I am being generous with that 500 number. so again out of the total population of black males in America (~18 million), how does .002% of the population (at most) suddenly represent black culture?

By the end of 2003 50-Cent' Debut album, Get Rich..., sold 6.5 million copies. If black people were the only ones purchasing the album then that would mean that 18% of the black population purchased the album. Much higher than the .05% doing the booty shaking, but still a particularly small population. But we know that black folk were not the only people purchasing "Get Rich". Knowing this, and knowing that Soundscan claims to not collect demographic data on the sales of music, I would venture that a smaller population of black folk, purchased the album (I'm one of the majority that did not). I would hazard to guess that even less black folk have purchased Snoop Dogg's individual albums. So again how is it that the entire population of black folk are being asked to explain the actions of the minority of the population especially a population that by and large does not control the means of production, distribution or broadcast o said population.

Ultimately, we should not even be trying to "explain" ourselves to other people. Rather we should turn the tables and ask them why they feel it is OK to judge black folk based on a small number of people. We should ask why, if they can "understand" that TV is not reality when it comes to whites and Asians, than why that "understanding" is suspended when it comes to black folk. But even more importantly let us not fall into the trap of being black woman body/sexuality police.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Double Standard Indeed!! *Warning! This Post Contains FOUL Language!!*


I want to send out a huge FUCK YOU to Detective or Sargent Fuentez or whatever THAT FUCK his name is.

Today we learned that the officer driving NJ Governor Corzine was doing above 90MPH at the time of the accident,

Detective Fuentez, in an interview aired on NJN News was quoted as saying that "we need to take into consideration the situation" in which the speed may have been "appropriate."


From all the people in NJ who have had the indignity of being harassed by police speed traps, being followed and had our bank accounts tapped. How dare you even SAY something like that when if any civilian was caught doing less than that would be laughed out of court if they even attempted to say "I was late." " I was in a rush for an important meeting."


NJ resident.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Speaking Of Double Standards

I was going to post on the whole double standard thing, but Dr. Edward Rhymes, who've I've had an online debate with before has an excellent post on the matter so I'll let him take the stage:

Eric Clapton's "Cocaine" and the Beatles "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" (LSD, as well as almost anything by Jefferson Airplane or Spaceship. Several songs from "Tommy" and Pink Floyd's "The Wall" are well known drug songs. "Catholic girls", "Centerfold", "Sugar Walls" by Van Halen were raunchy, misogynistic, lust-driven rock refrains. Even the country music legend Kenny Rogers in his legendary ballad, “Coward Of The County,” spoke of a violent gang-rape and then a triple-homicide by the song’s hero to avenge his assaulted lover. Marilyn Manson declared that one of the aims of his provocative persona was to see how much it would take to get the moralists as mad at white artists as they got about 2LiveCrew. He said it took fake boobs, Satanism, simulated sex on stage, death and angst along with semi-explicit lyrics, to get the same screaming the 2LiveCrew got for one song. Manson thought this reaction was hypocritical and hilarious.

I'm going to probably follow up with a post that addresses the following question posed in Rhymes' post:

Savage further asserts that the race-based double standard applies to violent content in music as well."There was the Eric Clapton remake of Marley's 'I Shot the Sheriff,' and there was little to be said. But then you have the 'Cop Killer' song by Ice-T and it's dangerous and threatening."

In this same article Cynthia Fuchs, an associate professor at George Mason University, affirmed that “the public seems far more disturbed by misogynistic lyrics in the music of rap and hip hop artists who are largely black than similar lyrics in rock music, perceived by most as a white genre.”

Sunday, April 15, 2007

From The Notebooks Of Dr. Brain

From The Notebooks Of Dr. Brain is a Sci-Fi book from the mind of Minister Faust of the Bro-Log and I entered into reading it with high expectations.

When I started the book I was confused by the numerous acronyms that were thrown at me in the midst of a battle that was the opening of the book. I had to put the book down. This is not a fault of the author. It was me. I've found that since I deal with computers and computer language most of the time, I needed to adjust my mind for this book, much like I do for anything non-technical. This was a good move on my part.

Once I returned to the book, I soon became very impressed with the author's mixing of history, fiction, psycho-analysis and humor. Lots of humor. Once I got my mind wrapped around the acronyms I found that they were indeed coded references to some sort of historical account, social issue or something that would strike me later or the next day. My favorite by far is the Notorious N-I-G. Personally I think a college class could be taught on the numerous "oddly" named superheroes. I still haven't figured out yet whether Piltdown man was in fact a take on Piltdown man.

Personally I identified heavily with the X-Man. I don't want to post spoilers about the book, but suffice it to say that the X-Man Character along with the "Hawk-Kink" is a veritable encyclopedia of African history in coded form (like much else in the book). Ultimately this was a book worth purchasing and a good reader will also have a history book for reference. The acronyms can cause a bit of confusion for some but that's a minor quibble. I have to confess, I didn't answer the questions, but they were good ones that I do suggest people do answer for themselves.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Hip Hop to Pimp Hop, Hoes and History

"I'm a ho, you know I'm a ho. How do you know? Because I told you so."

So went the line in Whodini's infamous track "I'm a ho".

Thanks to Don Imus, the word "ho" has been placed front and center of the American conscience. We, that is those of us in the so called "hip hop generation, knew full well what a "ho" was. For those still unawares of what a "ho" is, it would be any person, of any race who was deemed particularly sexually "prolific". If the Whodini quote doesn't show that, then a quick review of pre-conscious KRS-ONE's tribute to the prowess of late DJ Scott La Rock:

Scott La Rock had 'em all.
He is a super ho!

Now, to be clear, back in the day, one had to be very specific about who one referred to as a ho. In fact in some circles one could have been ridiculed if one claimed to be a ho without "bonifides". You woudn't even THINK about calling Queen Latifa a ho. Nor would MC Lyte be referred to in such a manner. Black folks generally knew who a ho was and who was not. But that was when Hip Hop was still a "black thing". That was when you had to get mix tapes or wait till the Rap Attack on 'BLS or DJ' Red Alert's spin sessions on Kiss FM. Generally this was before white folks knew what Hip Hop was.

Back in that time, a time of party anthems, BDP, The Bridge, Radio and Dear Yvette, there was plenty of profanity and talk of black pride. I, self was introduced to Hip Hop via The Message blasting from the local record store on Sutphin Blvd while waiting on the Q6. That track was one of the few that made it on air. Back then, there were rules about what got air play. It had to be clean. period. You could cut a tape on anything you wanted but it wasn't getting airplay if you cussed. Period.

"My Adidas", "Bring the Noise", and Arrow Smith's colabo with Run DMC on "Walk This Way." brought White Suburbia into the mix. You had white kids in Bomber jackets and picking up Hip Hop music. The Beastie Boys, Third Base, and the like made Hip Hop more "accessible" to this soon to be huge market. Meanwhile something had to be done about those Africa Medallion wearing Black Pride MOFO's like Tribe Called Quest and DE LA Soul. Personally out of that era I think that PE and KRS one presented the largest threat to the social system than any other publicly known MC's. KRS one not only dropped science (however flawed) but HE was and IS a TOP RATED MC. Period. PE, fronted by Chuck D was the consciouness raising hype man next to KRS (in my opinion) since I think KRS One could out rhyme Chuck any day of the week (I'm just sayin'). After PE got you ready to fight the Power, you had KRS talkin' about "Bo! Bo! Bo!" and "You MUST Learn"!

It was about this time that the record companies, upon seeing what "safe" Hip Hop could sell after the likes of The Fresh Prince blew up with "Parents Just Don't Understand" realized that they had a "Nappy headed Negro" problem. If Hip Hop became dominated by KRS types rather than folks such as Heavy D and the Boys, then it would remain nitched. But if you made it "safe" then you could make some serious loot. So artists with less controversial language came to the fore such as LL Cool J. Now I'm not knockin' LL, I remember his very first album but we all know that after he rocked the bells, he really blew up on the Like a Panther and Momma Said albums.

Once this rise of what some called "happy rap" happened there was a nascent 'real rap music" movement in which MC's would lament the ability to get prime time airplay. Hence we saw the call for "real rap music" and to "keep it real" though this realness was never really defined. Wasn't The Show real? Wasn't LA-Di-Dadi real? In retrospect what we were really seeing was a call for the more explicit rhymes that one could get a peek of late nights on the weekends or in the clubs. But even those would be tame compared to what would soon be unleashed from the left coast.

Just as this "safe" Hip Hop was brining Hip Hop into the mainstream, we had this explosion from the West Coast. NWA. Then things got "interesting". While it could be argued that tracks like "Criminal Minded" were the first "gangster rap" tracks to make it on air, I don't think anyone can argue that once NWA stepped on the scene, that true gangsterism and gang style came to the fore. First off, the very name of the group put "Nigga" dead into the public sphere as never before. Sure "Nigga" had been said on air before by black folk (The Jeffersons). Sure it had been said on a track before, but no artist in their right mind, until then would even THINK about marketing themselves as a "Nigga". NWA spawned BWA, for those with long term memory problems, that was Bitchiz With Attitudes. The whole West Coast Hip Hop scene transformed Hip Hop in ways that would lead to very very destructive ends. What is most important though was the deep infiltration of gang and pimp culture into Hip Hop music. Ice T and Too Short, along with 2-Live Crew (among others) brought pimp and strip club culture into the main artery of Hip Hop. Men were no longer hoes. Men were "pimps" and "ho" became the exclusive domain of women. Just as it is on the street and clubs. Once this happened Hip Hop was changed because it became a money game. Hip Hop became "this Rap Game" And for those familiar with pimp and gang culture, when you "run game" you are hustling and you hustle for one thing: Cash. Hip Hop stopped being a form of black entertainment and became a Cash machine, another means for poor black men (mostly) to make money.

One had to understand that once Hip Hop took off within' black America, anyone with a microphone and a tape deck could make a tape and sell it on the corner or out the trunk of a car. In fact the vast majority of Hip Hop artists start out that way. In fact most artists start out that way. Hip Hop music for the a large portion of urban poor America, became an alternate and legal means of income. It was the rap game much like the drug game: Another way to make money without bending and scraping to "the man". Of course the audience for such music was at first was the 'hood the artist came from. This hood, filled with people who like any other group of people, wishes to see themselves reflected in their entertainment, connects with the lyrics that describe their hood or the mentality of that 'hood. So that the pimp and gang culture with it's requisite mysogyny and violence is reflected in that music is not some anomaly. it's not some conspiracy by the artist. It is simply a means to get paid. Period. It is not much different than the fact that Western music reflects so called country cowboy life and certain types of rock music is reflective of white teen suicide wishes.

What is important to understand here is that there is no means to legally stop anyone from producing any kind of music they want. There is also no legal means to stop anyone who wishes to, to purchase said music. Commentators that try to act like the government can or even should censor rap artisis because they don't like what kind of music they perform are taking the wrong tack and completely mis-understand where the real blame ought to be assigned for the stuff they "see".

The problem Hip Hop has, at least in the greater public is the record companies and the FCC. The reason that we have the relative garbage we have in Hip Hop is because of the "rap game". Record companies want one thing: profit. They will do whatever is legal to produce that profit. It is legal business to record and sell Hip Hop of any stripe. It is legal to record and sell Hip Hop with racist, sexist or any other language. The government cannot legally do anything about that. Anyone who wishes it would ought to be very careful about what they are asking for.

The real issue for both record companies and certain radio hosts is: Why is there a market for certain types of music or talk?
Simply put, millions of people listen to Don Imus, Millions of people purchase Hip Hop albums. Here's the rub though: the FCC sets pretty strict decency rules about what can and cannot be broadcast on the public airwaves. For some reason the FCC thinks that Janet Jackson's titty is more offensive than calling women hoes. For all the protests about rappers using crude language, the fact of the matter is that on the public airwaves it doesn't get broadcast. There are "clean" versions of any broadcast track to minimize the radio censor's work.
While any artist can be "fired" by his or her record company for any lyric the fact of the matter is that these artists are recruited because of their lyrics. This is the profound difference. I don't care to prevent Imus from saying whatever he want's to in private. If he was at home with his boys and commented that those were some "nappy headed hoes", that's his business. I dont' have to like it, but he has the right to say it, in private. Heck he has the right to say it on the street too. Similarly, I don't care for the language of many rap artists but I don't have the right to stop them from saying it in the privacy of their homes. In fact I don't even have the right to prevent them from writing raps with that language. Nor do I have the right to stop them from selling it.

The issue at hand is whether a company wants to be associated with such ideas. Clearly the record companies have made their position clear: They support the artists "right" to say it and their right to sell it. The radio stations that carry the music also support these rights within the FCC regulations. The advertisers of the various shows also support the radio stations. Why? Because this is the "rap game" Hip Hop at it's most capitalistic.

Understanding that the entire issue here comes down to money then we can only deal with the problem via economics. There are stupid black people out there who write to newspapers and such that they don't listen to rap music. They don't let their kids listen to rap music. These are, in my opinion, elitist, shamed of being black, folk. Seriously. Not only that, many of them are hypocrites because Jazz, R&B and other forms of black music had the same criticism in their day. Look at it this way. If I'm a music producer or artist and someone tells me that they don't purchase rap music and that person says they want me to change what I produce. I will tell them to take a hike ( to be kind). No way no how would any sane person with mouths to feed, NOT produce the music that does so, knowing that they will not buy.
Hence, the real and only way to change the Hip Hop music scene is to put your money in the pockets of the decent artist. Clearly if you don't listen to rap music then you don't know who these artists are. Simply put conscious Hip Hop rarely gets air or digital play. And that is NOT accidental.

In the end Hip Hop reflects America's obsession with sex, violence and money. if people are going to be upset with certain artists in Hip Hop music, reflecting that, then we ought to be asking why we have a system that pays niggas to be niggas. We ought to ask why MYV can go from a no Rap policy to Sucker Free Sundays. Clearly Viacom and it's employees don't have problems with sex, violence and money. Also, I'd be interested in knowing whether or not many of the people that object to the culture of violence and mysogyny in Hip Hop are also willing to address the social and economic issues that push so many young black men to see Pimp Hop as the best means of alleviating poverty.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

A Special Case of Profiling in NJ

Firstly, I want to express my best wishes to Governor Corzine and his family. I hope he has a speedy and uncomplicated recovery.

Now I want to get at a problem I have with this situation. When I heard of the kinds of injuries that Corzine received in the accident I knew that he was not wearing his seat belt. Given that he was riding in a late model SUV with at least second generation air bags; the trauma to his chest and legs made it clear that he at least hit the dashboard. Also of interest to me was the fact that Corzine was being driven by a NJ State Trooper.

I am very bothered by this.

I have been stopped on the NJ Highways numerous times. I have been surrounded by police, some with guns drawn. I have been told that my birthday matches the birthday of someone who recently robbed a house in a neighborhood I was driving past on Rt 17. I along with many other black people have been harrassed by the NJ State Troopers who have used inane excuses to pull us over and search our vehicles. I have witnessed prosecutors and judges berate citizens and threaten to take away thier licenses for offenses that had nothing to do with safety and everything to do with lining the pockets of the county in question (Paramus I'm looking in your direction). I've been pulled over on the Turnpike, in pouring rain for allegedly having a tail light out (it was not).

I find it particularly insulting that Governor Corzine was permitted to be driven in a vehicle, by a NJ State Trooper no less, without his seatbelt. So I'm left to wonder just who else the NJ State Troopers allow to get away with law breaking while at the same time they feel free to prey on the wallets of citizens and whomever else happens to be driving in NJ?

This is just another example to me of the crass indifference to ordinary citizens that I have witnessed in New Jersey (Hackensack City Manager, and Captain of Police, I'm talking about you).

So perhaps this will provide the opportunity for the State and it's officers and officials to re-evaluate the "club" they think they belong to where they can routinely defacate on citizens while excepting themselves from the rules.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Speaking of Hip Hop

Brother Minister Faust has an ontime post on the demise of Hip Hop.

the super rich elites who control the production, distribution and radio/video play of pop music in North America, the same people who bought out the small labels when political hip hop was in its ascendancy, the same people who replaced conscious hip hop and its aesthetics with gangsta and then playa rap.

He links out to a post by Nekesa Mumbi Moody who shows among other things:

Though music sales are down overall, rap sales slid a whopping 21 percent from 2005 to 2006, and for the first time in 12 years, no rap album was among the top 10 sellers of the year.

I am not surprised. Last weekend I happened to leave my place sans-iPod which is a rare occurrence. I use the iPod simply because the radio does nothing for me. As if to provide more proof of radio's irrelevance to my ears, I happened to put on Hot 97 here in the Big A. That was a mistake. See I was headed to the gym and wanted something upbeat. well after the third "artists" came on that had the same beat, same style, and absolutely nothing of value to say, I turned around and headed back to my place to retrieve my iPod. I mean, I'm not a tight ass. I understand that there is a "need" for mindless party music, but they lyrics were so wack, so empty and so damn repetitive (bling, hoes, whips, chains, rims, Crys, Holla, and walkin' it out) that it was truly annoying. I couldn't even tune the words out as I had been able to because it was just THAT annoying.

Now I understand exactly why The Strange Fruit Project is the last Hip Hop I purchased.

The Duke Rape (not so) Case

As I said in my original write up on the case. The men involved walked. As I tried to tell a few online "feminists" the case was weak and became weaker by the month. Does it mean that something terrible didn't happen to the young woman? Not at all, It simply means that the evidence is to weak to prosecute. I wrote, about a year ago:

The next thing that went down was the DNA evidence or lack thereof. I was pretty much certain, as I'm sure the DA was, that when the DNA evidence came back the boys involved would be on the hook. Well the DNA evidence did no such thing. Instead we found out on or about April 11 that the DNA recovered did not match any of the Lacrosse players:

Appearing today on the alleged victim's campus, Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong acknowledged that DNA tests failed to link any of 46 white lacrosse team members to the victim. The team's one black member was not tested.

Interestingly, we note that the report wasn't that no DNA evidence was found but that the DNA evidence found did not match any of the white players...

For example, three defense sources, who asked not to be identified, said a forensic examination of the alleged victim found no tearing, bleeding or other injury associated with a sexual assault. Instead, the exam detected only swelling in the accuser's vagina and tenderness in her breasts and lower right body, the sources said.

Citing nearly 1,300 pages of documents given them last week by the prosecution, the defense sources also said Tuesday that the woman told police she had sex with three men around the time of the alleged rape, which she said occurred at a Duke lacrosse team party at which she had been hired as an exotic dancer. The men were identified as her boyfriend and two drivers for the escort service for which she worked.

This is what it really came down to. Says the prosecutor:

An independent investigation “showed clearly that there is insufficient evidence to proceed,” Roy A. Cooper, the state attorney general, said at a televised news conference. “ We believe these individuals are innocent.”

He said the accounts of the events given by the woman who made the accusations were so inconsistent that they were not credible. “She contradicts herself,” Mr. Cooper said.

Like I said: Reasonable doubt.

Knowing this, had the prosecution gone ahead and lost the case, which they surely would have, the prosecutor and the state would have been set up for what we call "malicious prosecution" (something I think the US Justice Department may end up learning about).

I do know one thing though. Don Imus isn't the only one with "nappy headed hoe" floating through his head..

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Nappy Headed Ho's and Stringy Haired Tricks

After thinkin' Mr. Imus's and Brian McGuirk's commentary on atheletic black women, refering to them as Nappy Headed hoes' and the game as Jiggaboos vs. Wannabees,

I think one of, if not all, black sports commentators ought to, from now till Imus is out, refer to white female athletes as "stringy hair tricks".

Since apparently using such descriptors does not warrant a fine, suspension, or any other than a half-assed apology, those black commentators should feel free to call white female athletes, "stringy hair tricks".

And for the info of NBC, that Jigaboo comment is right up there with "nigger." so in effect Mr. McGuirk took to racial name calling on air and apparently without consequence.

That's cool though, 'cause now we know. It's perfectly OK to refer to white female atheletes as:

Pasty, Stringy hair tricks.

Thanks, NBC for clearing that up.

He hee hee. Apparently we'll need to keep the pasty, stringy hair tricks as NBC and CBS are apparently at least willing to suspend Imus for 2 weeks. I would want to know what will be happenening to Brian "Jigaboo" McGuirk.

Edwards Get's It Right on FOX Debates

The Black Agenda Report has been consistently putting the CBC on blast for failing to live up to the expectations of the general black population. One the latest absurd actions of the CBC has been to contract with FOX (FAKE) NEWS to promote debates of the presidential candidates. That the CBC, through it's institute, would align itself with a program with the likes of Bill O'Reilly and folk like Ann Coulter, is beyond rational belief, though it appears that Earl Ofari Hutchinson can understand:

The deal is less a violation of principle and integrity that critics lambaste it as then just another business deal. The CBC's oft-stated mantra is that in politics there are no permanent friends or enemies, just permanent interests. In inking the deal with Fox, the caucus is merely living up to its mantra. And since that's the way the CBC does business, its interest in Fox and Fox's interest in it makes perfectly good sense.

Well I guess, it's so much for a "different kind of politics" and underscores exactly why folk like Cynthia McKinney have to go. So the question really is, in light on Hutchinson's comment, what are the permanent interests of the CBC Institute, and how does lining with a patently offensive network serve that interest?
Well that question is pretty clear to Edwards, who has dropped from the debate.

”We believe there’s just no reason for Democrats to give Fox a platform to advance the right-wing agenda while pretending they’re objective,” said Jonathan Prince, Edwards’ deputy campaign manager.


Now does this mean that the debate in and of itself cannot be "objective"? No of course not, but the fact is that by holding the debate on the FOX channel, in it's current form, would be signaling tacit approval of it's format. I would hope that the other candidates refuse to participate as well though I'm sure the thought of losing Rupert Murdock money, which is the real "permanent interest" here may be giving them pause.

Now we understand that the CBCI is a non-profit and therefore "a-political" organization, but If I were in the CBC I would be very
concerned with the very public link that this deal has with an organization I would be linked with. In terms of fund raising, is the CBCI of the opinion that they could not raise funds by linking up with any other organization? Perhaps money would have been left on the table, but at least they would have their reputation intact. Right now it's as if the CBC was caught on the street with a ho. You can't be SURE that something is about to go down or went down, but it sure don't look right. Though in this case, the CBCI may be the ho.

At the end of the day for me, Edwards did the right thing.

Update: Apparenly Clinton and Obama read Garvey's Ghost. Okay. Probably not but it both Clinton and Obama have declined to dignify FOX with their presence. This will not provide the CBCI with any political cover for calling off the debate. They will have to answer to the CBC constituents for that dumb move and I cannot wait to read what excuse they will come up with.. well aside from that "broad audience" thing.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Interesting Read

The NY Times Magazine has an article on the Pope and his take on the de-Christianization of Europe (Keeping the Faith. It is an interesting read not so much for the focus on Christianity and Europe but for the more base message of the roll of religion and culture.

One of my critiques of Africans who adopt Islam is my perception that there is an arabization of that person. That is, I see Islam as a vehicle for Arab nationalism both political and cultural. I don't begrudge the Arab for this as every culture's religion is tightly wound into the culture and habits of the people that make it up. The Pope makes a statement, quoted by the Times that says:

“The Muslims ... feel threatened not by the foundations
of our Christian morality but by the cynicism of a secularized
culture that denies its own foundations.”

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, “Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures,” 2005

Ratzinger can be forgiven for focusing so hard on Muslims, or his misunderstanding of secularism, but for those of us who are Pan-Africanists this statement is very important. Many Black people have left (forcibly or voluntarily) their foundations (their own religious thought) for either Islam or Christianity (some Buddhists as well). This is very important because just as Ratzinger sees a problem with a culture that denies it's own foundation, but we Pan-Africanists see it too.

Today I was at a birthday party where a book was given to the birthday girl on women in the Bible. I was struck at how one elderly black woman could list, off the top of her head various women in the Bible. I was instructive to me to see how a large number of Africans in America can identify with ancient Hebrews and commit to memory their history. Yet most of these individuals cannot recollect a single piece of folklore from any ethnic group in Africa (excepting Sheeba).

Indeed in parts of Africa, Nigeria for instance, communities will essentially go to war with each other over religions that are not of their making. It is a particularly sad state of affairs. Here in the states, not toeing the Judeo-Christian line will essentially get one ignored (on a good day).

Another quote:

Ratzinger’s theme was “the spiritual roots of Europe,” and he criticized a culture that gave value and protection to other religions — notably Judaism and Islam — but that denied the same to Christianity. With his trademark bite, he identified “a peculiar Western self-hatred that is nothing short of pathological.”

“I began to realize that if we cannot recognize the fact that Christianity shaped our culture, then we lose our identity,” Pera said. “And then how can we have a dialogue with other civilizations? That’s exactly what has happened with Islam. Europe is losing its soul. Not only are we no longer Christian; we’re anti-Christian. So we don’t know who we are.”

Let me restate that for the African using Ifa as an example, but could easily be any other indigenous religion:

“I began to realize that if we cannot recognize the fact that Ifa shaped our culture, then we lose our identity,” Pera said. “And then how can we have a dialogue with other civilizations? That’s exactly what has happened with Islam and Christianity. Africa is losing its soul. Not only are we no longer OmoOrisa; we’re anti-Orisa. So we don’t know who we are.”

If Europeans are pathologically self-hating simply because of a perceived denial of Christianity, then what of the African? There is only one African country in which the national religion is an indigenous one: Benin. So according to Ratzinger, the Bininis are the only sane African people on the continent. So if African people are reading Ratzinger's words, then what should they be thinking? If he believes that a people ought not to deny their religious heritage in order to not be in danger of disappearing, then what does that mean for the million of non-European Christians?

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

"Really, it's a myth"

Not to beat a dead horse, but upon stumbling on this piece in the NY Times, I thought it would go as a nice pre "Good Friday" and "Easter Sunday" posting.

“Really, it’s a myth,” Dr. Hawass said of the story of the Exodus, as he stood at the foot of a wall built during what is called the New Kingdom.

Egypt is one of the world’s primary warehouses of ancient history. People here joke that wherever you stick a shovel in the ground you find antiquities. When workers built a sewage system in the downtown Cairo neighborhood of Dokki, they accidentally scattered shards of Roman pottery. In the middle-class neighborhood of Heliopolis, tombs have been discovered beneath homes.

But Egypt is also a spiritual center, where for centuries men have searched for the meaning of life. Sometimes the two converge, and sometimes the archaeological record confirms the history of the faithful. Often it does not, however, as Dr. Hawass said with detached certainty.

“If they get upset, I don’t care,” Dr. Hawass said. “This is my career as an archaeologist. I should tell them the truth. If the people are upset, that is not my problem.”

The story of the Exodus is celebrated as the pivotal moment in the creation of the Jewish people. As the Bible tells it, Moses was born the son of a Jewish slave, who cast him into the Nile in a basket so the baby could escape being killed by the pharaoh. He was saved by the pharaoh’s daughter, raised in the royal court, discovered his Jewish roots and, with divine help, led the Jewish people to freedom. Moses is said to have ascended Mt. Sinai, where God appeared in a burning bush and Moses received the Ten Commandments.

In Egypt today, visitors to Mount Sinai are sometimes shown a bush by tour guides and told it is the actual bush that burned before Moses.
[ Okay. I got a great laugh out of that one. Folks what exactly is the lifespan of a bush? Really. That would have to be the OLDEST bush in existence. I can buy a 3,000 year old tree, but a 3000 year old bush? That is too much.]

But archaeologists who have worked here have never turned up evidence to support the account in the Bible, and there is only one archaeological find that even suggests the Jews were ever in Egypt. Books have been written on the topic, but the discussion has, for the most part, remained low-key as the empirically minded have tried not to incite the spiritually minded.

So let's be clear here. It is KNOWN that there is no evidence of any purported Exodus. There are multiple books discussing this topic and yet and still this myth is put in our faces because no one wants to upset or incite the "spiritually minded"? I mean seriously, Incite them to do what exactly?

Of course there is always the coverup theory:

“A pharaoh drowned and a whole army was killed,” he said recounting the portion of the story that holds that God parted the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to escape, then closed the waters on the pursuing army.

“This is a crisis for Egypt, and Egyptians do not document their crises

I mean a river is parted. Egypt, the most powerful nation at the time, loses hundreds if not thousands of soldiers and generals and the only surviving account is from the group with the most to gain from the story. Right. I mean it's not like this group had any ulterior motives for telling such a story. Besides, there are no other documented "bad" periods in ancient Khemet. Nope. none at all.

Also: Abrahamic What?
Book of Coming Forth By Day

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