Friday, July 31, 2009

Old School Friday: First Date Or Love Songs - Fond Memories Or Cringeworthy?

Sorry I missed last week. This week's meme is bound to take people back down memory lane. So I hope the thoughts are benign or funny!

I've been wanting a reason to post this video so this is perfect.

Broken Wings by Mr. Mister is a beautiful song.

Take these broken wings/And learn to fly again/Learn to live so free.
Don't we all want the chance to renew or spirits and minds if we've been disappointed?

This is one of my favorite Culture Club songs. Yeah I could talk about cultural appropriation but this song was really good.

Since I have an excuse ("love") to post this tribute song to Smokey Robinson by the group ABC I had to include it. I have a thing for 80's British groups, lol!

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Viva La France: Women Say No to Misogynistic Rap

I was relieved it wasn't MC Solaar! Apparently this French rap artist OrelSan has been publicly called out by Segolene Royal and other politicians for recording rap music that bashes women. Royal ran for president against Sarkozy and is one of the highest ranking female politicians in France. Some of you may be familiar with the usual excuses made when defending depravity. 

Amongst them are: 
  • Claiming it's free speech
  • That it's a quirky artistic expression
  • Comparing modern crap to classic works of art/music
  • That it's a joke, satire, not meant to be taken seriously
OrelSan's new album, Perdu d'Avance, has been removed from public libraries in Paris because of concern over what feminist and women's groups say are his sexist, homophobic and violent lyrics. Ms. Royal and other critics were particularly outraged over a song by the 26-year-old called Sale Pute, roughly translated as "Dirty Bitch", which is about a man who wants to break the bones of his unfaithful girlfriend.   - - BBC News

The above-referenced article goes on to detail how certain male politicians want to make excuses for this music artist and how some kids think it's a generational difference - yet they don't want their younger siblings to listen to violent lyrics in music. Hello! It's great to read about someone with clout stepping up to address this before it becomes commonplace.

The only difference with this scenario is the rap artist is white and not specifically targeting black women. I still lay this squarely at the feet of the instigators from this country who started down this path a decade ago. We all know rap/hip-hop originated here in the US and still casts a long shadow. Wouldn't it be something if a powerful female politician like Hillary Clinton or Maxine Waters publicly denounced the depravity? Misogyny knows no color.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Will Obama's Beer Put An End To The White Backlash?

Is this campaign deja vu or what? Would you have a beer with this person? Gag me with a spoon! So President Obama shows just how vulnerable he is by caving to angry white men. He's just chanting, "2012, 2012, 2012 then I can tell all of them to _____". I have a new found respect for Shrub now because he was a "cowboy", "frat boy" and many other (not so great) things but he was never an apologist
"I have always believed that what brings us together is stronger than what pulls us apart," the nation's first black president said after the highly anticipated meeting ended. "I am confident that has happened here tonight, and I am hopeful that all of us are able to draw this positive lesson from this episode." What kind of mealy-mouth BS is that? In other words, white people there's nothing to see keep it moving.
"We agreed to move forward," Crowley said later when asked if anything was solved. "I think what you had today was two gentlemen agreeing to disagree on a particular issue. I don't think that we spent too much time dwelling on the past. We spent a lot of time discussing the future." In other words, I told you I wasn't apologizing...white power!    - - Yahoo News
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have a beer with Harvard
Skippy Gates was the LAST person that needed standing up for. It's going to be a long, hot summer Mr. President. Let's hope that health insurance plan is an effective, quality one and it passes. I hear Hillary has been trashing you. I'm not surprised. When you surround youself with scorpions...they sting. I'd have more sympathy but my home state has been fed to the dogs. So far DiFi, Pelosi, Boxer, Lee, Waters nor Bass - all powerful women - have been able to put Humpty back together again. Ah-nold and the Republicans took a hammer to rival John Henry's and whacked the state almost beyond repair. There's the saying: As Goes California So Goes the Nation.

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I'm Hoping The "Free Your Mind" Events Will Become A National Campaign

I first saw the Free Your Mind dating event at CW's site and a few other bloggers have posted it. I thought I'd do my part in supporting positivity and taking concrete steps so I'm including it here. I am hereby officially requesting a San Francisco event (though with a 3% black population you simply MUST date interracially). Instead of some other foolishness that won't be mentioned again THIS is an organization that should be supported. Even the naysayers should be silent on this one. At least one of the moderators is a black guy and the event hosts have specified no negative discussions of black men. So the focus can be completely on black women meeting eligible (non-black) men and it won't have anything to do with abandonment or disappointment but about them expanding their options for finding mates. Now of course one must use caution and cunning in evaluating any man for caliber and character but this could be start of something wonderful for many people. My only advice is that they may need to add security as these events grow more popular for I have NO DOUBT that they will. Let's send good vibes for women taking dating risks and finding love - and hopefully marriage. Which is the established social norm for a majority of women around the world. Others may want to use this model to host events for LGBTs of color. 

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Tale of Banita Jacks: Another Unsupported Black Mother Cracks & Commits Filicide

Reading about Benita Jacks I can't help but think of Andrea Yates, but the class and race implications are wholly different. Still I always had a certain amount of sympathy for Yates, who was clearly mentally ill and should not have been left alone to care for her children. Further I was always suspicious of her ex-husband for being so intentionally oblivious to the pressure his wife was under. Some may dispute that of course but I found it odd that he never noticed any signs of deterioration in his wife and thought it was okay for one woman to care for 5 small children the majority of the time. Simply being a paycheck daddy isn't enough.

In this latest case, it was an un/never married mother of 4 who claimed her children were possessed by demons and killed them. She was found guilty of murder earlier today and while I think some legal remedy applies, it should not rest solely with her. This was clearly a case of a woman on the edge left to fend for herself. She had to sue the men who'd fathered these children for child support. So the question begs: where were the daddies? Why weren't they taking care of their children? She'd had her home foreclosed on and had lost her job. Who was helping her - or was she expected to suffer in silence being the "strong black woman"? Clearly Ms. Jacks may have made some poor choices but it goes hand in hand with the choice of those "sperm donors" to use her for sex and abandon their children. It makes a volatile cocktail with deadly results.
One of the country’s leading experts on filicide, forensic psychiatrist Phillip Resnick, M.D., has developed a classification for this type of killing based on the parent’s motive.Resnick defines five types of filicide. In "altruistic" filicide a parent—almost always a mother in this category—kills her child or children as an extension of a suicide attempt. "These mothers see their children as an extension of themselves," he said. "They do not want to leave a child motherless in a ‘cruel’ world as seen through their depressed eyes."

In a second type of altruistic filicide a child is killed to end his or her real or imagined suffering. "These mothers may project their own unacceptable symptoms onto the child," he said.

In "acutely psychotic" filicide, hallucinations, epilepsy, or delirium drive a parent to kill a child. Psychiatrist evaluators will not find a "comprehensible motive" in this type of killing, Resnick said.

His third category involves "unwanted child" filicide, which includes homicides in which a parent no longer wants the child.
- -
American Psychiatric Association
It took more than two weeks before anyone noticed these school-age children were missing. While some may tsk tsk and make grand statements about the working or underclass I see this as a trend that will continue to emerge. If it's not about them getting shot for not accepting a date or the new boyfriend killing the child from a former relationship, a celebrity rap artist getting busted for hiding assets to short change his pregnant ex-wife, denigrating music being lifted up as "art" or the Surgeon General nominee being ridiculed for her weight, many black women and girls are going to continue being treated like the dregs of this society.

It is imperative that those who see the writing on the wall to quickly take whatever steps needed to free themselves from a low quality life. This is why propaganda organizations like Raising Him Alone and others of their ilk are so dangerous. They don't do anything to resolve the core problems and are attempting to put a cork over a dam break. We have no idea if the Obama health care plan will pass or what the state of the economy will be. We must be prepared. Everyone will not be saved but you can save yourself.

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Op-Ed Project: Writing To Change the World

This was one of the more interesting panels at BlogHer 2009. Journalist Katie Orenstein started the Op-Ed Project to encourage women to write and submit opinion pieces to newspapers. This is a great example of applying a practical solution to a long-standing problem. Since women are so underrepresented in print media this organization will help get them the access that's been denied. I think part of the problem with newspapers and some of these monthly publications is they usually have near complete saturation of white males - and even then they're further limited to those from similar backgrounds. 

So now of course they're failing because they've historically shut out everyone else. Some of it was intentional and some of it is from people not creating opportunities. One of the great common sense techniques I like with this project is how it encourages the participation of more diverse voices while making an end-run around the existing barriers. Not everyone has time to blog so writing a 1000-word Op-Ed piece can be a great way to get a message out.
What has driven me to think of The Op-Ed Project in big terms is the experience of seeing its impact on a few people, and imagining that writ large. A twenty-two year-old woman published an op-ed, got into journalism school, and now works for NPR. She said the op-ed changed her life. Another woman wrote an op-ed on the financial crisis, became an expert cited in newspapers, and now has a TV deal–where she advises millions of Americans trapped in the mortgage mess. Seeing these kinds of things made me think about the potential value of the project, if it could bring similar results to a large number of people–at which point, it no longer seemed like a nice idea, but a social responsibility. It offers an alternative to quotas and artificial, patronizing approaches to increasing women’s representation. Rather than demanding that editors balance gender (perhaps at the expense of publishing the best op-eds), The Op-Ed Project presumes we are all equally smart, talented, and valuable—and will be equally represented in public debate if given the opportunity. - - Echoing Green website interview
As we continue our discussion about the need for black women to divest from people/situations that don't work, we need to look to the future landscape of what that will be and what it will require to maintain. In building a community of like-minded individuals discussing matters where there's common interest is a good way of reaching out to others. Our opinions do matter.  If you click on the link to the site you will find a training schedule in a city that may be near you or request one for your area. Carpe Diem!

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Top Ten Reasons Blacks Support(ed) An Obama Presidency - And Why We Need to Reevaluate Things

As I continue shedding old skin and reordering my thinking now that I'm outside the Matrix I find myself revisiting my support of Barack Obama. While I would still likely vote for him again I have to think of all the ways I can benefit from this alliance while measuring it for reciprocity. You can't ask for anything until you know what you want though. I'd like to think of myself as enlightened on some topics. Still with other issues I am just now realizing how much I'm learning. Discernment is more valuable than all the coltan in the world.

So aside from the usual arguments from people about how we need to give Obama time (sounds like an excuse) or how much is on his plate (he wanted the job) I want to explore the reasons why he gets so much support from blacks and what influences that decision.
  1. Michelle Obama and the (assumed automatic) kinship she's thought to have with other black women. Also the one we want to have with her.
  2. Powerful Symbolism - aka the "razzle dazzle" "pomp & circumstance".
  3. Seen as validation of  blacks' worthiness - continuing to use outside signifiers instead of building strategic alliances.
  4. Not Clinton/Edwards/Mccain. 
  5. He's a man - because if it was about qualifications and race more would have voted for Cynthia McKinney.
  6. Emotional payoff - the comparisons to MLK (and somehow NEVER to Malcolm X). 
  7. Cheap thrill to stick one's tongue out at whites.
  8. Believed the promise of "change".
  9. Decided he was "black" enough after the Clintons started race-baiting. 
  10. Many (most?) think he will look out for black interests strictly because he identifies as black.
We need to rethink our loyalties. Black women actually represent the single largest percentage voting block for Obama, yet I don't recall him discussing ANY specific agenda or policies that directly and singularly assist us. I know health care, green energy and other things will benefit everyone but still we have a unique set of needs. This doesn't mean our needs can't be addressed but we have ensure that they are and be prepared to walk away if they aren't. Will blacks actually do that?

The White House Council on Girls & Women doesn't have a prominent placement or direct contact on the White House web site. It has potential to be a heavyweight office but like everything else we must measure how things have improved from their previous condition and what are expectation for the future are. He nominated Regina Benjamin to be the next Surgeon General and she gets attacked for being overweight. I saw the larger black community's complete SILENCE on this issue with few exceptions and only after WHITE oriented-media and feminist organizations stood up for her. How many black men publicly decried her treatment? Now think of all the print and tv time given to covering Skippy Gates - why even the President stepped into the fray. People spend their time and resources on things they love - not things they feel obligated to. I find it rather challenging to even have a conversation around the Idol worship going on. Blacks are NOT prepared for the brewing backlash. We are spend, spend, spend with NO safety net. 

If financial advisors like Suze Orman urge people to save at least 8 months' salary in cash to use for a rainy day fund when the times were "good" to cover during the hardships and unexpected tumbles then how much more should we be doing this for our political lives? No wait, our "actual" lives. We know whites have been stockpiling weapons. The KKK has resurfaced - they're never far away. I'd like to petition the Justice Department to classify then correctly as a domestic terrorist group and use the full weight of the Federal gov't to crush them once and for all. 

Then there's these birthers, the teaparty participants and all those other agitated people who showed up for the McCain/Palin rallies. They haven't gone anywhere. The only thing I'll mention with regards to Skippy Gates (since I've discussed why he's NO friend to black women) is how he's considered an upper class, non-threatening black man. If it's open season on grandpa then it's open season on ALL blacks and not just the men. Black women are also victims of law enforcement railroading tactics.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Skippy Gates The "Rosa Parks of Racial Profiling" Says Black Men Are Naturally Misogynistic

The interesting part of life is that it is not the set of circumstances that you are given that matters, but your response to them. Give the same pressures and same type of opportunities to ten people and you will get ten different reactions. The pressures and opportunities may be identical, but the responses will differ, and in that sense, by living life, you learn quite a bit about yourself. ---Susan Miller

Yeah I'm tired of Skippy by now but this dust-up has been so revealing on so many levels. Soon he may wish he'd just kept his mouth shut. Thank goodness the readers of this blog are such an intelligent group and the ones who respond usually provide a wealth of knowledge. I appreciate the challenge at keeping up with you. I think we should start our own critical thinking/social criticism school or something, but I digress. A blogger reminded me of Skippy's support of 2 Live Crew during their obscenity trial. I know viewing it from a distance without any analysis it may have appealed to the typical African-American emotional reaction of the "white man trying to take the black man down" but it was in fact one of the last ditch efforts at policing aberrent behavior.

If you recall that trial was in 1990 and it was before the onslaught of the filth to come via the gangsta rap and other perverted music with their accompanying videos that would then be played during the day when kids could watch them instead of being listed as adult content and relegated to midnight airings as they had been. It would have affected retailers being able to sell their music and would have given all record labels pause about what type of music acts they would be able to sign. I am also reminded of the fight C. Delores Tucker put up to stem the tide even while she was vilified.

I find it very telling that the RIAA, the same one that cries foul of the "illegal downloaders" actually DEFENDED them and filed a Friend of Court Brief on their behalf. This LA Times article states it was the argument between ANYTHING GOES vs. ENOUGH ALREADY. The group was acquitted but the jury's contention was their lyrics were akin to parody because that was how black people communicated. There was this rush to defend this group or dismiss their lyrics as part of the larger "black culture" of the "black community". The argument they are quintessentially black, that black women exist solely to satisfy violent sexual desires or that their lyrics are funny is part of the reason why African-Americans have lost their moral compass and will form a permanent underclass in this country.

If some still question how young boys aged 14 and under could be socialized to become rapists (like the ones in Arizona) if they hadn't had any previous mental defects then here's your answer. Yes media does ABSOLUTELY have an affect on the minds of people, particularly CHILDREN who have fewer filters in place. If you've parked your child in front of the tv as a babysitter and offer NOTHING to counterbalance the negative images consumed you are training your children to adopt a depravity mindset. Especially when that child is parked in front of the likes of BET.
  • MISOGYNY is defined as: HATRED OF WOMEN AND GIRLS. No ifs, ands or buts. When I stated in an earlier post about DBR (damaged beyond recognition) behaviors prevalent in a majority population of African-American males (and many females) and how they hate AA women I got a LOT of denials. Misogyny is directed at women as a collective group. Of course there are nuances where a man might hate women of one group but be able to fawn over women of an entirely different group. Or parse it to like some while still despising others. Other variants include the Madonna/Whore complex. Honor killings, rape, violence and skin shade racism also fall under this.
In the Legal Response to Violence Against Women Karen J. Maschke contends "many do not bust out laughing" like Gates does while listening to 2 Live Crew and she details specific lyrics. I decided against displaying the lyrics here because they're NSFW and also they're disgusting. We have to be careful about immersing ourselves in filth when analyzing it. You might like to review the court transcripts along with this essay.

So in his defense of this (what used to be thought of as) explicit rap group, Skippy is saying ALL black men naturally HATE women. Now if we look at the actions from the general population of black men, especially African-American men from the past 45 years what has emerged is the trend of their abandonment and abuse of BLACK WOMEN. If someone can point to another ENTIRE GROUP OF WOMEN this would apply to feel free to keep looking and I'll wait for you to fall off the Earth since it's flat. There is no misinterpretation of this. Anyone who wishes to dispute this can do so at their own forum because there will be NO misdirection of this point. Now whether an individual male DECIDES to recognize it and redirect it or squash it is up to that man, but Gates wasn't offering that caveat. He was using it as an excuse to EXPLAIN AWAY THEIR DEPRAVITY.

Now to be certain there are plenty of women-hating men in the world but again we come to discuss survival and domination tactics. No group can survive without women. So it comes down to other men to police the behavior of the men in their group to maintain a workable model. There is NO such policing going on in the "black community". Not when you have the "premier" African-American scholar who's a refugee from his blackness, reveling in his 56% European heritage, married to an average white woman and crying victim when hitting the third rail of white male authority saying it's okay that these men embody every racial stereotype ever visited upon black men because it's in their nature to be that way.

I found this great essay by Kimberle Crenshaw (whom I'd like to see nominated for the Supreme Court before Obama leaves office) discussing this case. I don't agree with everything she has to say - namely the knee-jerk inclination for black women to defend black men who are working AGAINST them - but this was written more than a decade ago. Like many of us who've seen the aftermath of the depravity women must resist the urge to think of themselves by race first and gender second in these situations. It should be every woman for herself. Yes, in a very selfish looking out for one's own interests FIRST way. The antithesis of what most black women do NOW where they GIVE IT ALL AWAY FOR FREE AND GET NOTHING IN RETURN. Or worse are left to fend for themselves when THEY need help.
Thus, Gates concludes, 2 Live Crew and other rap groups are simply pushing white society's buttons to ridicule its dominant sexual images. I am deeply skeptical about the claim that the Crew was engaged--either in intent or effect--in pursuing a postmodern guerilla war against racist stereotypes. Gates argues that when one listens to 2 Live Crew the ridiculous stories and the hyperbole make the listener "bust out laughing." Apparently the fact that Gates and many other people react with laughter confirms and satisfies the Crew's objective of ridiculing the stereotypes. But the fact that the Crew are often successful in prompting laughter neither substantiates Gates's reading nor forecloses serious critique of its subordinating dimensions. Gates' use of laughter as a defensive maneuver in the attack on 2 Live Crew recalls similar strategies in defense of racist humor. Racist humor has sometimes been defended as an effort to poke fun at, or to ridicule racism. More simply, racist humor has often been excused as just joking; even racially motivated assaults are often defended as simple pranks. While it may be true that the Black community is more familiar with the cultural forms that have evolved into rap, that familiarity should not end the discussion of whether the misogyny within rap is acceptable. Moreover, we need to consider the possible relationships between sexism within our cultural practices and the problem of violence against women.

Violence against women of color is not presented as a critical issue in either the anti-racist or anti-violence discourses. The "different culture" defense may contribute to the disregard for women of color victimized by rape and violence, reinforcing the tendency within the broader community not to take intra-racial violence seriously. We must determine whether the practices and forms of expression are consistent with our fundamental interests. Although collective opposition to racist practice has been and continues to be crucially important in protecting Black interests, an empowered Black feminist sensibility would require that the terms of unity no longer reflect priorities premised upon the continued subordination of Black women.
Since I know so many take issue with a black woman criticizing a black man (hello Miss Ogyny again) I'll add some criticism from other black men. Scholar Martin Kilson refers to Gates as the master of the "Black put-down". Indeed. You are also free to research cultural critic Harold Cruse. During the trial Gates referred to 2 Live Crew as "astonishing and refreshing" and compared their works to that of Shakespeare, Ella Fitzgerald or James Joyce. They were not pushing the envelope of social discourse like Lenny Bruce or George Carlin. They were out to make money by denigrating black women.

In Master of the Dodge: A Reply to Henry Louis Gates, Martin Kilson critiques an earlier Gates' project but it seems his warning could apply to anything by which Gates endeavors or even perhaps to the man himself.
So I try to advise my progressive Black intellectual peers especially to be wary of "King Gates" strategic offerings - his fish-hooks, if at all possible. And I'd like to address this especially to the up-coming younger generation of African- American intellectuals and scholars, particularly those who seek to fashion a progressive outlook for themselves. Finally, we progressive Black intellectuals especially do indeed have to perform the scrutinizing task in regard to establishmentarian and/or conservative Black intellectuals like Henry Gates, because no one else will. Above all, we progressive Black intellectuals still have a serious Black people agenda to attend to. Namely: Protecting, advancing, and redeeming Black folks' honor, both here in the United States and elsewhere in the globe.
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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Black Men Trying to Escape Their Blackness Only Get But So Far

Whatever we run away from goes with us. If we are ashamed of ourselves we can’t hide that by mating or marrying someone of another race and not pass that onto future offspring.

When we speak of black male abandonment of black women and children – typically African-American men - we must also not forget the more recent prevalence for them doing this to non-black women as well. If you look at any number of bi-racial celebrities (who still identify with their black heritage) many of them were raised alone by their white/Asian/etc mother including our current President. 

Now this may cause a lot of discomfort to discuss but is it better to alleviate the jab to the ego or to heal the damaged psyche of people? Besides, what other group of men in the past 40 years have actively devalued the status of the women in their group of origin while pursuing women from other groups almost exclusively? I might also add that pursuit has mostly not been one on equal footing, not involved alliances between families or involved any strategic relationships but a grabbing for candy while blindfolded after a pinata has been breached. 

My first boyfriend was one such product. I remember being happy that I could find a black-identified male who also appreciated my love of new wave music and other "non-black" interests (according to some who wanted a very limited view of blackness) but he had a lot of unresolved anger about a) being left behind by his father b) his mother not really understanding the racial ramifications of the relationship that produced him. Even though she had remarried and his stepfather was “Dad” to him he was subsequently surrounded in a household of white people and he didn’t know who he was. I think his mother thought “love” would be enough but he needed more. Some of it had to do with any child, particularly a male who needed to be socialized around another (black) male. I think a lot of it had to do with his being raised to be “colorblind” when he clearly needed preparation for the real world. It was a disservice to him that left him sullen and confused at times and there was nothing I could do for him. 

The interesting thing that has emerged with the arrest of Skip Gates is analyzing his pride in having only 44% African DNA. He discussed this on the African-Americans Lives geneaology series that airs annually on PBS. The other is his decision to marry a white woman. He quite happily lived an “integrated” life where he surrounded himself in whiteness. This was the goal for many of the black men that pushed the agenda of integration instead of equality during Civil Rights. They wanted to be “free” to do whatever they wanted. They wanted to be able to freely mate with white women without the more blatant repercussions (getting lynched or your entire town burned down in retaliation). 

They were not seeking equality nor did they think to deploy domination tactics that would have lifted the collective. The lack of values – which included the disintegration of the black family – has led us to where we are now. It was African-American women who did much of the behind-the-scenes-work and put themselves in harm’s way to get Civil Rights on the table. Yet when it came time for media accolades who was hogging the spotlight? Black men. Some women stepped aside in the hopes that the men would “do right” by them. Many were simply pushed aside. These women wanted what they thought was a better life for the children so they swallowed that bitter pill. We know it was never reciprocated by everything that followed. They had the opportunity to support Shirley Chisholm when she ran for President and they did not. She was of course also betrayed by Steinem and the other white female leaders of the so-called feminist movement. 

For black women it’s a two-fer: sexism one end and racism on the other, but I digress. I will be discussing the role we played in Civil Rights (carrying it on our backs) this week. I should also mention that due to corrosion of the black family: 30% marriage rate amongst blacks, 80% OOW birth rate, 70% unmarried rate for black women some of the African-American women that also mate out have adopted the same self-loathing qualities I’ve discussed above. Yet the initial collective push in this direction was a decidedly male one and remains so.

I found it very telling that Gates was so dismissive of holding Lucia Whalen (who is white) at all responsible for this mess. For her to say she saw two black men with backpacks breaking into a house to the police could have resulted in Gates’ or his driver’s death. We know how cops shoot first and ask questions later when dealing with black men. Oh wait, there’s the rub. Gates’ thought he’d successfully “transcended” his blackness and was living inn a post-racial world. He could appreciate certain cultural touchstones but he didn’t live the life of a working class or even middle class “black”. He could just be “Skip” and dabble when it was convenient. 
Excerpted from an Interview with Brian Lamb for his book Colored People: h/t from reader Pioneer Valley Woman for the link

GATES: My mother hated white people.

LAMB: All her life?

GATES: Probably. I didn't know until -- in 1959 we were watching Mike Wallace's documentary called "The Hate that Hate Produced." It was about the Nation of Islam and I couldn't believe -- I mean, Malcolm X was talking about the white man was the devil and standing up in white people's faces and telling them off. It was great. I mean, it's what black people did behind closed doors, but they would never do it in -- I mean, they were too vulnerable to do it, say, where they worked, at the paper mill or downtown, as we would call it. And here was a guy who had the nerve to do that, and I think if I had been a character in a cartoon, my eyes would have gone Doing! -- like this. I couldn't believe it. As I sat cowering in a corner of our living room, I glanced over at Mama and her face was radiant. I mean, this smile -- beatific smile started to transform her face. And she said quite quietly, "Amen." And then she said, "All right now," and she sat up and she said, "Yes."

And she loved Malcolm X and she loved what the Muslims were doing. And I couldn't believe it. It was like -- as I write, it was like watching the Wicked Witch of the West emerge out of the transforming features of Dorothy. This person I had thought of as this pioneer of the civil rights movement really had a hard time with white people. And the more I got to know her -- and, you know, these weren't easy anecdotes for her to repeat, but the older I got, she became more willing to share painful experiences of white racism -- the way that she was treated when she was a girl and a servant in the house of wealthy white people just a block down the hill from where we lived. My brother and I eventually went back and bought that house for her, and that's how we found out that she had been so horribly treated by these people. She never trusted white people. She didn't like white people. She didn't want to live with white people.

But she wanted us to go to integrated schools. She wanted us to live in an integrated economy. She wanted us even to live in integrated neighborhoods. She wanted us to be able to get the best that American society offered. She wanted us to be articulate, to speak white English, as we would call it, as well as black vernacular English. You know, she wanted us to know how to dress, how to talk, how to act, how to behave. She wanted us to go to private schools, to the Ivy League. I mean, she wanted us to be as successful as it was humanly possible to be in American society. But she always wanted us to remember, first and last, that we were black and that you could never trust white people. And so when I brought my fiancee home, who happened to be a white American, I thought World War III was about to break out between me and my mother, not to mention between my mother and my fiancee. 

Further down he continues... "Oh, I live in academic environments, and so it's removed from the world. I mean, what do we do? We go downtown Boston, downtown New York, downtown San Francisco, European countries. We function at a level where certain forms of racism don't impact upon you so immediately or so obviously."
It was why he was so quick to be offended and reacted so negatively. If he’d been acting from a position of racial pride in himself he would’ve never confronted a white police officer the way he did. He could have just sought legal remedy after the fact or filed a complaint. Doesn’t he know the Mayor of Cambridge? If you’re going to confront white male patriarchy you had better have some consequences and punishment ready to mete out for any violations, otherwise you will be crushed by the blowback.

Which brings me to the President. He decided to be what the Field Negro blogger referred to as “Black Barry” but now will return to the non-threatening Negro/cross-over politician that got him elected. If you don’t think either of these men are compromised imagine how Malcolm X would have acted. He was unabashedly proud to be African-American. He believed in preserving the black family. Perhaps he would have had a network of other black men who would have gone to the police station to remind them their mission was to protect and serve. Perhaps they would’ve reminded them of the vast financial contributions they’d made to the Police Athletic League and how no more money would be forthcoming until this injury was addressed. Black women wouldn’t have been used to directly confront any racist cops or expend political currency being outraged about this. Not without reciprocity. 

An uncompromising man who lived in a predominantly white neighborhood would have ruled it or at the very least would have been one of its prominent residents. Not from novelty but from letting people know (non-verbally) that he belonged there. Perhaps that would have precipitated a visit with the Mayor and the Police Chief of that area to have an introduction or whatever was appropriate. He wouldn’t have tried to “blend into obscurity” the way I believe Gates has. It was also why he was making a public spectacle of himself while being arrested. He wanted sympathy from his neighbors. It just makes him look weak to play victim when discrimination impacts his life while ignoring it across the board for others.

Trying to be the “Only One” when you are a black person in an all-white setting requires certain precautions. You have to know who you are and where you are. You can’t approach this as a refugee escaping from blackness. Other people notice the flaw and though you may walk amongst them you are not one of them. They may be looking for the first opportunity to remind you of that unless you have a powerful incentive in place that would discourage that.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

You're So Lame Award Of Shame President Obama Bow & Scrape Edition

I can't say I thought I'd be writing a post where I'd give President Obama the Dunce Cap but so be it. I put in my time, money and effort towards getting him elected AND I voted so I have earned the right to be critical.

First of all he decided to be publicly critical of the Cambridge Police while defending his friend Skip Gates. Bill Cosby of all people stated it wasn't a wise move on Obama's part to the derision of many blacks. Well...when facing a rising backlash from law enforcement and a lot of whites (I read a few "conservative" blogs and trust me they were PISSED) he danced the jig yesterday. So it looks like the Cos was right all along. What exactly does I didn't calibrate my words mean? SMH. That was a biyatch move Mr. President. Seriously.

As reader Khadijah pointed out so eloquently in the comment section of my Friday post, blacks only have but so much currency to spend during this administration. Much of it was wasted on this incident instead of something that would positively impact the collective. We are a minority population whose votes are usually taken for granted - thanks to the squandering of our clout gained during the Civil Rights era. So many people consider Obama a sacred cow they can't fathom the concept of doing any critical thinking where he's concerned. So obviously flexing their voting muscles is out of the question. I caught a lot of venom on a popular black political blog yesterday from those staunch defenders who insist Obama is doing a head fake by pretending to apologize. They're the ones who have the wool pulled over their eyes.
Check -
"President Obama said that the actions of the CPD were stupid and linked the event to a history of racial profiling in America," said Dennis O'Connor, president of the Cambridge Police Superior Officers Association.

"The facts of this case suggest the President used the right adjective, but directed it toward the wrong party."

"The supervisors and the patrol officers of the Cambridge Police Department deeply resent the implication and reject any suggestion that in this case or any other case, they have allowed a person's race to direct their activities," O'Connor said.
Check Mate -
"Because this has been ratcheting up and I helped contribute to ratcheting it up, I want to make clear that in my choice of words I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sgt. Crowley specifically and I could have calibrated those words differently."
Now tell me when did Shrub EVER apologize for ANYTHING?

Oh yeah, he's invited Sgt. Crowley ("I'm-not-a-racist" but-really-he-is) to the White House for a beer - and he called him. Now that's a awfully big gesture for a "non-apology" as so many would like to claim. If you will also recall Crowley made it clear that HE WOULD NOT APOLOGIZE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. So why is Obama "calibrating his words"? Stalemate?

Like many destructive things going on in the non-existent "black community" this Idol worship regarding Obama has got to stop! Just like the lack of accountability for many of the pathologies that have gone unchecked. Obama has people to answer to and many of them don't want him in office period. They want to see him fail, publicly in a very spectacular way. I get that - but I don't care right now. There's far too much at stake. We need single-payer health care. We need jobs and career prospects. We need affordable homes and an attainable education.

I care more about the quality and trajectory of my own life - and relying on a politician to get that done is a big FAIL. Wielding power is a challenge and a responsibility. Obama is NOT beholden to black voters. He knows this - it's too bad many of "us" don't. Symbolic gestures amount to a hill of beans. He is not going to allow a build-up of any more white resentment than what's already there. I know that hurts to hear for those operating under a delusion but it's a fact. The sooner blacks accept reality and stop thinking in terms of what-ifs and what-they-wish-would-be the sooner we can take steps to get some long-lasting changes in place. That's not going to happen though.

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