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Category Archives: Black History 24/7

Yesterday Rodney King Passed Away

Yesterday Rodney King passed away. A police brutality victim who was fortunate in that he was being taped when officers unloaded their frustrations on him. The acquittal of the officers who beat him led to the 1992 riot and created a ripple effect throughout our society. Unfortunately there continues to be all too many people who still suffer a fate similar to Rodney King at the hands of people who shouldn’t be police officers. A code of silence and a political culture that venerates police much more than the citizens they are meant to serve  have made police irreproachable even in cases of unjustifiable murder. This is just one aspect of an issue that includes lawmakers, judges, and for-profit prisons that leads to Americans having their liberties violated and trampled while creating a permanent underclass that costs the government more and more money each year while there is no estimate to the toll it takes on the people it affects.

x-posted @ TheYBC

 

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Race, Politics, and Cynicism

Race, Politics, and Cynicism

What can these people do to damage their credibility. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney suffers no backlash for embracing and fundraising with Donald Trump who openly questions whether the President is an American. Ron Paul published racist newsletters throughout the 90s and he’s also a politically viable Presidential candidate who must be listened to and taken seriously. Why is it open association with racism doesn’t disqualify people from running for the highest office in the land. What’s more troubling is the cynicism with which this is discussed. Race-baiting is just another tool in the American mailbox to be deployed and debated as if there are no real world consequences to American citizens or I guess Americans of any importance.

– C.S.

 

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The New Conservative “Race War” & The Birth of A Nation

Buzzfeed’s McKay Coppins wrote about the conservative obsession with incidents of black on white violence and their efforts to paint the narrative of a race war being propagated by black people on white people. Conservative talkers such as Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh along with conservative media outlets like The Drudge Report, The Daily Caller, and others have been looking for any incidents of violence perpetrated by black people upon white people and amplifying them during the Barack Obama presidency with the implication that the election of President Obama has served as some signal to Black America that now is the time for some sort of crude revenge. Coppins goes into detail even getting a sort of admission from Tucker Carlson of The Daily Caller who delights in his attempts to leverage fear to get back at “liberals” who are concerned about racism. None of this is new however. In the 90’s Rep. Ron Paul ran a newsletter preying upon the fears of roving bands of black youth attacking white people even going so far to teach readers how to buy and dispose of a gun in case they have to kill a black youth. This fear that the advancement of rights and achievement of Black Americans will directly imperil white lives and purity is evident as far back as D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation”. While Griffith makes his point nakedly how different is Limbaugh’s declaration “In Obama’s America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering”

cross-posted @ theybc

 

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Vote Suppression in America


Viviette Applewhite and Voter ID

Here is why I have little patience for conspiracy theories without the weight of some proof behind them. People are working everyday to institute policies and ideas that disproportionately harm our community without any secrecy whatsoever. The efforts to discourage people who are likely to vote Democratic in elections from being able to vote at all. None of this is secret. They claim to be trying to protect against voter fraud but this doesn’t pass the laugh test among anyone with political savvy who is speaking earnestly. There has been a national push to restrict voting with voter id laws that count hunting licenses as valid but student id’s as invalid in addition to aggressively pushing college students off the rolls, taking away the right to vote from convicts, telling people they could be arrested if they show up from the polls, telling people the wrong date for elections, etc. none of these things are in any way secret. They’ve been bold in their actions to the point that awards have been given to people who can keep the most voters away from the booth. This has all been reported, editorialized, and absorbed by the public with no shock or outrage whatsoever. This sad fact speaks to the cynicism that has gripped the body politic that none of this was given a cursory attempt to be shielded from view. So no I don’t buy into conspiracies because today bold efforts to stop people from exercising their right to vote is taken nakedly without shame and no push back. While we’re out charging towards windmills our feet are being cut from us by an adversary who is too happy to shout while they do it.

cross-posted @ theybc

 

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Obama’s “Real” Father and Lazy Thinking

Real Father
http://anomaly.realgravity.com/flash/player.swf

Conspiracy Theories in America

This supercut comes from “Dreams from My Real Father” a movie being pushed that purports to tell the “real” story of Barack Obama and his background. It’s easy to point out the extreme stretches of logic it would take to believe that Obama’s real father is Frank Marshall whose parentage was covered up by his grandfather who was secretly in the CIA. Why his CIA pops could cover up his birth but not prevent his daughter from having a child with a communist is an obvious question but I digress. We could spend all day debunking the “logic” on display here. What people tend to have a tougher time with is seeing through similar jumps in logic about conspiracy theories that are beneficial to their worldview. The odds that there are secret meetings by the world’s most powerful people collude to keep everyone else down are similar to the odds that there are secret meetings between black and Jewish people to overthrow white people. Conspiracy theories provide an easy out for the question of why things are the way they are. Acting as a deus ex machina for the thousands of little decisions and interactions that seemingly govern our world.

– C.S.

x-posted @ TheYBC

 

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Bayard Rustin, Barack Obama, and Homophobia in the Black Community

Bayard Rustin, Barack Obama, and Homophobia in the Black Community

After President Obama’s announcement yesterday I’ve been thinking about the LGBT community, the black community and how they intersect in doing so I’m reminded of Bayard Rustin. As someone who started the Freedom Rides, was an early practitioner and Martin Luther King Jr.‘s teacher of non-violent resistance Bayard Rustin holds an enormous place in the history of black folk here in the United States. Rustin like many black folks was also gay. This didn’t stop him from helping to found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference although it did lead to him being forced from it’s leadership in 1960. Repeatedly Rustin was ostracized for his sexuality among those of his race even while joining them in fighting for the equal rights and respect as a man that they’d deny him. It seems the advocates of inequality have chosen to replicate this choice on a national level among religious African Americans and LGBT people. In far too many cases religion has won out over ethics and have led us to choose to impose our beliefs on fellow citizens in violation of the rights that should be shared equally among every person. This is one of the reasons that I don’t subscribe to the belief that black people in America are in some way more noble, enlightened or fair than the rest of Americans we are people with biases and motives just the same as the rest. While our place in society and history are unique our hearts and minds operate according to the same principles that have reigned since time immemorial. Yesterday President Obama became the first American President to support same-sex marriage. While I highly doubt this will cost him any votes among African Americans as it has been suggested I’m hopeful it will push forward the conversation about Black LGBT folk and homophobia in our community.

cross-posted @ TheYBC

 

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I Wish A N*gga Would (Tell Me Black Studies Isn’t Good Enough)

We do it for the culture…

“What we do, how well we do it… does it even matter?”

From the very moment I heard that question presented to Cuba Gooding Jr.’s character in the Red Tails movie preview released so many months ago, it resonated with me. Clearly, perseverance through struggle and critical perception and assessment of that “perseverance” are nothing new for African-Americans. To echo the sentiment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the concept of “second-class citizenship,” of being good but not quite good enough in America, isn’t new for Blacks, either. African-Americans continue to work hard and apply themselves to being the best they possibly can be in spite of the circumstances.

But that “good but not quite good enough” specter is ever looming over Black Americans in the form of “privilege” – the concept that minimizes and plays upon the downplay of one group to more highly elevate another. It is this idea of privilege that serves as the immediate counterargument to the “post-racial America” that many people legitimately – if a little foolishly – believe was instituted once Barack Hussein Obama was elected president back in November 2008. Most recently, we find privilege emerging in the field of academia.

It was only by way of a chance “retweet” on twitter, that I stumbled onto Tressie McMillan Cottom’s guest article for racialicious, “The Inferiority of Blackness as a Subject.” In 1,420 words, McMillan Cottom calls out esteemed academic journal The Chronicle for Higher Education and, more specifically, a blog entry from Naomi Schaefer-Riley in The Chronicle entitled “The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations.” In much the same way that Schaefer-Riley’s blog critiqued and dismissed the dissertations she saw cited by Black doctoral studies, so does McMillan Cottom respectfully respond to and dismiss Schaefer Riley’s assertions, primarily because Schaefer-Riley critiques the dissertations based upon their titles and not the subject matter that makes up each dissertation. As McMillan Cottom so eloquently states, these Black doctoral students are “deliberately assaulted… for not being invisible.”

It’s intriguing that Naomi Schaefer Riley would contribute the newest chapter to the argument surrounding Black studies and its “place” in the academic arena, in the process driving the point home as to what REALLY lies at the center of this argument – privilege. Tressie McMillan Cottom touches upon this when she writes that Schaefer Riley is all but condescending to “three young scholars who have the audacity to treat the black subject as a human subject worthy of interrogation.” As a lowly undergraduate student myself, perhaps I am unqualified to speak upon this matter. But I do have many friends, colleagues, and associates who are Black students in doctoral programs, many of whom have embarked upon dissertations that touch upon or directly engage issues that affect African-Americans. And I am certain they, too, would treat Schaefer Riley’s criticism as, to put it plainly, “hating.”

I’m not talking about “hate” as in rooted in racism; but rather, “hate” as a completely subjective assessment of something with no sound basis other than dismissing something just to say it’s worthy of dismissal. McMillan Cottom sees this, as well, effectively highlighting that Schaefer Riley “does not even afford [the three doctoral students] the respect of critiquing their actual scholarship. That is beneath her. She attacks the very veracity of their right to choose what scholarship they will do.”

But let’s delve a little deeper here. Why DOESN’T Schaefer Riley “critique their actual scholarship?” The answer is simple – because Naomi Schaefer Riley doesn’t believe Black studies is scholarship worthy of critique. It would be easy to play “what if” and to imagine if the tone and approach of Schaefer Riley’s blog might be different had these three Black students been putting forth dissertations for their, say, Executive Doctorates in Higher Education. It is easy to assume that, perhaps then, Schaefer Riley would have given these students a fair assessment of their work and, additionally, an appropriate acknowledgment of their progress and pioneering achievement thus far (which was what the original article that stemmed this debate, was about in the first place).

Rather than wonder about what could have been, it is important to remain focused on and challenge the actual facts. The actual facts are that doctoral programs are not easy to get into, and by far, all but a challenge to remain and excel in; that, since doctoral programs operate by a process of acceptance to a prestigious program and adoption of a rigorous academic commitment and platform, that one must be amongst the best or working towards becoming the best to be a doctoral student; and that, while in the process of being a doctoral student, one can expect to be critiqued and vetted, it is not an unfair expectation to assume that you are still worthy of respect and dignity as a student throughout the entire process.

Apparently, none of these facts apply when it comes to the field of Black studies. It may be true that doctoral students in Black studies will still have the same “Ph.D.” initials listed after their name upon graduation. And it is likely true that students in doctoral programs for Black studies devote just as much time, blood, sweat, and tears as their peers in other areas of the academic arena, to assembling adequate research worthy of a dissertation that can be effectively defended. But privilege demands that Black studies be regarded at a lower level than all other academic fields, simply because issues that affect African-Americans can’t possibly affect people from other backgrounds, nor can non-Blacks possibly relate to those same issues. Privilege demands that those in positions of power can tell students in Black studies that their work is “left-wing victimization claptrap” and that “This may matter to you, but it doesn’t matter to me, therefore it doesn’t matter at all.”

It is easy to diminish the hard work, the scholastic potential, and the diligence that Black graduate students must adopt to succeed in academia on some scholarly journal’s webpage. But I wonder if Naomi Schaefer Riley would be as quick to tell Black doctoral students in person, what she really meant: that being a Black Ph. D student is good, but not good enough.

Somewhere in California, Dr. Nathan Hare, the founder of Black studies, is no doubt sitting in his rocking chair thinking, “I wish a nigga would.”

 

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