Friday, February 29, 2008

Obama Swears: "I have never been a Muslim"

Negro history week is still coming up...remember we procrastinate by nature.

The pressure on Obama in regards to religion is bordering on absurd isn't it? So, in the spirit of the "I have never" game (you all have played that one, right?), I have decided to share some of my favorite "I have nevers":

1. From the movie Conan the Barbarian: "Crom, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad. Why we fought, or why we died. All that matters is that two stood against many. That's what's important! Valor pleases you, Crom... so grant me one request. Grant me revenge! And if you do not listen, then to HELL with you!"--

2. On Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld's observation that: "I Have Never Painted A Rosy Picture’ About Iraq."

3. Ted Haggard on his liaisons with hot, sexy, gay escorts: "I, I've never had a gay relationship with anybody and I, I'm steady with my wife. I'm faithful to my wife":

4. The famous (and damn fine) actress Hedy Lamarr once said: "I have never liked bargains when it came to sex."

5. The great Winston Churchill: Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room:

6. Mark Twain: "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." And a clip from Black Knight, the classic adaptation of Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court:

7. And our first black president, Bill Clinton on his affair with that cochina Monica Lewinsky: "I never had sex with that woman."

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Negro History Week Reborn

"Negro History Week" reprinted from the Journal of Negro History (vol.11, no.2)

The following is an excerpt from the minutes of the Proceedings of Spring Conference of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, Petersburg, Virginia, March 30-31, 1926, detailing the first observance of Negro History Week.

The observance of Negro History Week proved to be one of the most fortunate steps taken ever taken by the Association. The celebration made a deep impression. The literature was early prepared and it was distributed in time throughout the country. Easily understood, the idea was readily taken up at centers where some thought is given to social amelioration and wherever special efforts are being made to elevate the Negro. Ministers, teachers, social workers, and business men rallied to the support of the movement and made it a national success.

You didn't think we respectable negroes would let Black History Month go by without comment did you?

Yes, we were a little late. Yes, we are defying the white man's conventions of time and space through our radical action of inserting Black History Month at the end of February and running through to a little into March. Yes, we procrastinated.

Starting Thursday keep your eyes open for our personal reflections on just what is Black history. Next week we will be sharing our own version of the PBS series, African American Lives.

For now, reflect on James Baldwin's observation that:

"History is not a procession of illustrious people. It's about what happens to a people. Millions of anonymous people is what history is about."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Obama the Racial Healer--Lay Hands Upon Him and You too will be Healed

"Many dismiss the Obama phenomenon as a mere "cult of personality." It is in some ways a cult, but not one of personality -- it's a cult of racial healing, of racial transcendence. For many whites, voting for Obama is a kind of appeal to one's better self, and the better self of the country. It is, in a way, a promise. It could even be seen as a kind of prayer." from Gary Kamiya, at Salon.

We have commented on Obama, race, and his "black magic" a number of times on this blog. In some ways, we and others, have been ahead of the curve--and yes, it is gratifying because it validates that we can be some smart, respectable Negroes when we want to.

The thesis that Obama represents racial healing is compelling to many. Why wouldn't a reasonable person support moving past our country's racial divide? Why wouldn't a good and decent person want to see Obama elected, a man who could quite possibly hail a future where race is lessened as a determining factor for our life chances? If we as a country are afflicted with a racial sickness, wouldn't we all want to be healed?

I have to ask, what sort of healing does Obama offer? I still argue, and will continue to do so, that Obama is popular precisely because of the particular "type" of "black" candidate he is. Obama is the child of immigrants and is not heir to that nasty lineage of slavery, white racism, and racial violence which animates the anxiety (and guilt) many white Americans feel about racism. Simply stated, to them, Obama isn't one of those "angry" blacks who will "play the race card" (note: isn't that one of the most imprecise and moronic phrases to enter our language in recent memory? It is almost as bad as "reverse racism" as a turn of speech best delegated to the trash bin of the English language).

Obama, the mixed race, black man (who to his credit self identifies as African-American) is to many observers the literal embodiment of racial reconciliation--the product of "black" and "white" love. He is a magical fetish of sorts, a healer who washes away pain. Maybe, Obama will induce a moment of racial transcendence akin to a religious revelation of sorts where the "gifted" speak in tongues:

If Obama is elected he points to an opportunity to heal wounds--not because we as a country will have one more occasion to have some very difficult conversations about race, power, and justice (The Civil Rights Era representing one such moment), but instead because we will be able to forget. Perhaps for some, this "Racial Alzheimer's" will be a path to healing:

I am one of those difficult respectable negroes who is still caught up in remembering. As I have said previously, I hold no positive anticipation towards a post-racial future. Why? because a post-racial future is one where the foundation of the house is rotten, where "we" move forward, not because we as a country have confronted the present, past, and future consequences of this house that race has built, but because we have in an ironic fashion chosen to continue forward with our case of national amnesia.

There are lots of good reasons to vote for Obama. There are lots of good reasons for white people to vote for Obama. But, the very premise that a white vote for Obama equals a moment of good feeling, of racial catharsis, of racial healing, is so distasteful and troubling not because of its truth, but rather because a "racial" vote for Obama is (to my taste at least), too close to being an elixir-like moment, a halcyon induced daze that does not engage some painful truths about race and society:

I am a grumpy respectable negro and I ask hard questions:

For example, if Obama held the same policy positions and were not black would you vote for him? If not, why? When in the privacy of your own thoughts, what category of "black" person is he assigned to? Is he one of those "nice" ones, or is Obama one of those "angry ones? How would you respond if Obama supported reparations? What would your response be if Obama wanted to reform the prison industrial complex? Would you be nervous and full of angst if Obama wanted to expand affirmative action? What if Obama pledged to use the force of the State to challenge the type of conservative colorblindness which has made it all but impossible to integrate public schools, universities, and colleges? What if Obama stated without fear or qualification that the United States still owed an unpaid debt to its black citizens? How would you feel then?

Don't be afraid to ask these difficult questions, because asking doesn't make you a bad person, it just makes you an honest one.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Word is in! On the Genetic Superiority of Respectable Negroes Everywhere--Well, Maybe Just Black People More Generally

From Fox News (of all places):

"White Americans are both genetically weaker and less diverse than their black compatriots, a Cornell University-led study finds.
Analyzing the genetic makeup of 20 Americans of European ancestry and 15 African-Americans, researchers found that the former showed much less variation among 10,000 tested genes than did the latter, which was expected.
They also found that Europeans had many more possibly harmful mutations than did African, which was a surprise."

All who know me take this to be a self-evident fact. These white queens have known it for a long time:

Plus, has been up on this from day one..just say it with me "Black Town dot net"--it rolls of the tongue doesn't it? Say it once a day, it helps keep your teeth clean.

And of course Louis Farrakhan, Leonard Jeffries, and the Black Israelites have been preaching this for years.

But, I am of two minds on this one. Maybe YouTube can help me sort this one out?

Right side of brain says, "how cool! look at all the evidence for the genetic superiority of black people. Here are some prime examples:"

Muhammad Ali, the black superman:

Rampage Jackson beatin' down Chuck Liddell:

The awesomeness of Mr. T:

The Rock as a god among men:

The beauty of Halle Berry:

Oops, these two are "mixed race." Ohh, I mean "mocha babies." Nah, they pass the "one drop" test and are heretofore black.

The incisive wisdom of Harry Belafonte:

The dignity of Malcolm:

The genius of Octavia Butler:

The "weight" of Commander Adama, aka our honorary brother and respectable negro, Edward James Olmos on Battlestar Galactica:

Left side of brain says, "wait a do we reconcile our genetic superiority with these other examples?"

Flavor Flav:

A generation of bathin apes (the spoof is great):

Fat babies:

The impenetrable stupidity of Larry Elders and the awe inspiring Uncle Tom that is Alan Keyes:

Baby daddies on Maury Povich:

And, what about the well-grounded science which strongly argues that any talk of "race" as it relates to genes is relative foolishness, and that biological notions of race are all so much dookee?

My brain hurts. Does yours?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Chauncey's World of Ghetto Nerds: The Toxic Satellite has been Shot Down, but the Zombie Outbreak has Already Begun

As depicted in this picture, Obama was attacked by a zombie earlier today. Unfortunately, he is already displaying the early cold and flu like symptoms that are commonly associated with a bite from the infected undead. Given Obama's cult like following, the zombie plague will spread rapidly following his public appearances. Readers are advised to exercise extreme caution at these Obama related events, lest they too become infected with the zombie virus. While the U.S. military is reporting a successful missile intercept, we must treat this information with a high level of suspicion. Remember, the U.S. government wants to prevent a panic during the initial stages of the zombie plague. It is likely that Delta Force has already been sent to the site of the outbreak under the guise of securing fissile materials. Hopefully, Delta Force (and the other special forces operatives that will accompany them) will be successful in containing the zombie outbreak. Folks, this is going to be a hell of a fight. May God have mercy on our souls.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Exploring our Racial Subconscious: Dark May be King, but Milk Chocolate is Making a Comeback

In the spirit of my impetuous and impulsive post on Flash Gordon and bad movies let's see where this one goes...

I am a firm believer in the existence of a collective consciousness. No, I don't mean an energy field that binds us together and penetrates us (a la The Force), but more of a collective spirit of sorts. This is something less than zeitgeist, but more than a political unconscious. When we add in the particular ways that systems of racial superiority and inequality have impacted all Americans --yes, white folks too--we are left with a collective set of symbols, images, as well as a language, which speaks both to our racial (in)securities and how we choose to think about (or not) our interactions with others.

[And if you really want to test how race, prejudice, and racialism(s) (yes, that is a word) have impacted your decision-making and subconscious mind, take one of these online tests for implicit racial bias]

I stumbled upon the following article last week and it continues to speak to me. My thought: Is this about chocolate or about something else? Is there something in our collective racial subconscious which is being spoken to in this dialog regarding the merits of white chocolate versus dark chocolate? Or is a cigar sometimes just a cigar? Accordingly, here is your assignment:

The Great Chocolate Test

The exercise: substitute Obama/black people wherever there is a reference to dark chocolate. Likewise, substitute Hillary/white people wherever there is a reference to milk chocolate.

Please share your findings with your classmates at the end of the exercise.

The entire article,"Dark May Be King, but Milk Chocolate Makes a Move" from the New York Times, is found here.

Here are some choice excerpts (my emphasis added):

CHOCOLATE’S dark mood is lightening at last. Until recently, midnight-black, bittersweet bars with punishing percentages of cacao were, like coffee and wine, on a quest for brooding intensity. Milk chocolate was left behind, dismissed as child’s play, an indulgence in sweetness and nostalgia.

Now, some chocolatiers are fighting back, with expensive, suave “dark milk” chocolates that reinvent milk chocolate by increasing its cacao content, reducing its sweetness and carefully refining it to give it the snap and velvet of dark.

“Personally, if I had to choose one or the other, I prefer dark chocolate,” said Joseph Whinney, founder of Theo Chocolate, a small producer based in Seattle. “But there is no product on the planet that can match that lush, melted-chocolate mouth-feel of milk chocolate.”

“Producing milk chocolate,” said Andrea Slitti, a chocolate maker in Tuscany, “is much more complicated than producing dark chocolate, as you can see in the marketplace: there are far more good dark chocolates available. At each step, we have to work to keep the clean taste of milk and not overwhelm it with the strength of the cocoa mass, then balance them both with sweetness.”

“These pure origins are because we chocolatiers want people to think that chocolate is serious and adult like wine, but underneath it is not,” said Stéphane Bonnat, whose family began making chocolate in 1884. “The first thing we have when we close our eyes and taste must be the pleasure we remember from being 10 years old.And that pleasure, almost invariably, was from milk chocolate.

“Fundamentally, the problem is that milk chocolate does not have the respect it deserves,” Mr. Whinney said. “When you have a brown, sweet commodity that people expect to buy for cheap, you are not automatically going to find interest in flavor nuances.”

Your final thoughts?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Chauncey's World of Ghetto Nerds: Connecting the Dots--Spy Satellites and the Upcoming Zombie Apocalypse

As quoted in the Washington Post:

"There has to be another reason behind this," said Michael Krepon, co-founder of the Henry L. Stimson Center, a liberal arms-control advocacy organization. "In the history of the space age, there has not been a single human being who has been harmed by man-made objects falling from space."

No, downing this satellite isn't about deterring China because the U.S. has had anti-satellite weaponry for at least 30 plus years.

No, shooting down this satellite isn't about protecting the world (and the U.S. tax payer) from possible injury from satellite debris.

No, ordering the U.S. Navy to down U.S. 193 isn't because of the plutonium or the hydrazine carried by the satellite.

No, intercepting this satellite isn't to prevent the goodies and gadgets carried by U.S. 193 from getting into the hands of "evil-doers."

Wake up people--this is a real crisis.

The horrible truth:

The United States is downing this satellite because if it crashes into the Earth and unleashes its payload of toxic gas there will be an outbreak of the zombie undead:

My fellow citizens, at this moment we are standing at the precipice of our destruction.

We need to prepare. Me and my girl Zora have discussed at length why the ghetto underclass (and other city dwellers) is disproportionately at risk from attack by the undead. They live in areas with a high population concentration. They live in cities where one cannot legally own weapons. The State does not value their lives. Once the undead rise in Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, or Washington D.C. we are all doomed.

As Katrina made clear, The United States is horribly under prepared for a disaster of this magnitude. The Department of Homeland Security is underfunded and mired by ineffectual leadership. The U.S. military is forward deployed abroad and will not be able to render proper and timely assistance. The National Guard and Reserves are also overtaxed by deployments overseas. More importantly, the U.S. military has not developed a doctrine for fighting and containing a widespread zombie outbreak. Plans have long existed for urban pacification, but they will likely be ineffective against the zombie horde. As convincingly argued by World War Z, the expensive and high technology weapons systems favored by the U.S. military, weapons systems which are devastating against States and Armies, are next to useless against a horde of the undead--unfeeling, unstoppable, reanimated corpses, an unstoppable force of nature, a rising tide of destruction.

Folks, this is the real deal. These zombies don't dance like the ones in the Thriller video.

They don't run like hyperactive teenagers on crack. These Zombies will spread across the world exponentially, transforming the world of the living into the world of the dead.

The following is a short list of useful materials which should be consulted as essential resources:

1. Read The Zombie Survival Guide and also watch this handy video
2. Begin reading World War Z
3. Obtain a copy of The SAS Survival Guide
4. Consult the many resources available at The Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency

How should we fight the zombie outbreak? Should people evacuate or remain in their homes? If you are in a high rise building with adequate food and supplies should you ride out the zombie outbreak and wait until order is restored? Do you go to designated evacuation sites or avoid them because of the high risk of violence and the likelihood that the zombies will be attracted to large groups of people? What are your tips for survival?

I am going to consult the master George Romero on Tuesday by seeing his new zombie opus, Diary of the Dead. I will post a review on Wednesday which will feature more zombie survival tips. Anticipating the inevitable, El Presidente Bush has already held a press conference in preparation for the zombie outbreak:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Chauncey DeVega's Secret Valentine's Day Crush--The Indomitable Alexyss Tylor

I have a confession to make. All of my life I have searched for my equal--the yin to my yang; the sign to my cosine; the She-ra to my He-man--and I think I have found her. Ohh, the internet masses discovered her long ago. As an internet celebrity she has been blogged about, link-shared, and freely tossed about--her five minutes of fame (perhaps) long gone. But not to me. She is wise beyond years. She is a sexual dynamo. And she has the wisdom of a Tantric Yogi. Some have told me that my love is tainted, that somehow my love for this woman is doomed by her madness. They are wrong. For all of these reasons and many more, I proudly declare Alexyss Tylor, the prophet of vagina power, to be my Valentine's Day Crush.

Behold the wisdom of Alexyss Tylor, wisdom made more clear by my helpful annotations--

A Vagina Power Instructional Lesson:

:04--Ladies, if you really want to earn your man you need to learn your man. This is profound. In an era of Oprah, and a post 2nd wave feminism cottage industry where all that is wrong in relationships is apparently rooted in men's shortcomings, my girl is urging women to have some agency and to think about how they are treating the men in the lives! Bravo!

:10--Alexyss has introduced a key phrase, "penis power," say it again with me, "penis power."

:48--The man who is living to ejaculate is in a predator mode. Again, Alexyss is on point. Here, she is speaking directly to socio-biology and the argument that men, because of their never ending supply of sperm (and men's ability to reproduce throughout the life cycle), are natural predators. Men as a species can't help but want to share their love.

:59--Cold vaginas. No comment, it must be a circulation problem.

1:24-1:41--Different vaginas have different g-spots and some women have more than one. I envy these blessed women. More seriously, Alexyss is trying to educate the public, and women in particular, about their bodies. Women have a g-spot, and clitoris. In fact, many women also have what some researchers have now labeled as the "A spot." Alexyss's openness is a service to the public, and especially to the women of The United States of America. According to many polls, there remains a woefully low level of information and awareness regarding sex, sexual health, and even basic anatomy, among men and women. Add in some puritanical religious baggage, and include some ass backwards dogma (like that offered by "the promise keepers" and the "abstinence only" crowds) and we have a very limited space for adult conversations regarding sex, pleasure, and health. Hell, things are so bad that Oprah and Tyra are being praised because of their "courage" to talk about "vajayjays." Alexyss, please keep speaking vagina truth to vagina power.

2:20--The Rabbit. An extremely popular sex toy which was popularized by the television show Sex and the City. The design has evolved over the years, so be sure to do some thorough shopping before you make a purchase. I don't know of one woman who has purchased The Rabbit and has not been MORE than pleased.

2:24--We are living in the 21st century. Notice the wonderful relationship between Alexyss and her mother. Mom is suspicious of The Rabbit because she is a Luddite--I suggest that mom needs to embrace technology and not fear it.

2:28-2:45--Some men they have so much heat and intensity in their penis that you can feel it radiating through their clothes and to just touch their feels like it is on fire...some women go crazy...not all penises are created equally. This is another health issue which Alexyss is bravely bringing to the forefront of the public's awareness. As always, Alexyss is on firm ground because the practices of Tantric Sex (and its emphasis on the exothermic relationship between the lingam and yoni) would suggest that there are some powerful forces at work when a man and a woman link their bodies together in hot monkey love. The public needs to be made aware of the risks posed by hot and fiery penises. I wonder how many accidental deaths are caused by these fiery organs? I would wager that many cases of spontaneous human combustion are in fact caused by exploding, hot penises. As a tax payer, I demand a government investigation! I strongly urge Ralph Nader and 60 Minutes to do an expose on the danger of these over-heating penises.

3:20--We have to deal with our attachments. We have to separate the love, the orgasm, and the penis, they are separate issues. Preach on sister Alexyss, women (and men) need to heed your advice.

4:48--Don't let every man hit the bottom of your vagina, the root of the vagina. Trust me, they don't know about the bottom. Mom and Alexyss are on point again (notice how Alexyss's mother offers both reinforcement and clarification). Alexyss is pointing to the psycho-sexual dynamic wherein deep penetration for many women generates intense pleasure. Specifically, Alexyss is referring to the sensations that many women feel when their G-spot and/or cervix is stimulated. As a proponent of Tantra, Alexyss is also alluding to the energy which resides in the Kundalini as a root chakra. Be forewarned, the Kundalini is a powerful chakra and should not be stimulated unless both couples are prepared for the energy which will be released (its sort of like the arc of the covenant). This pleasure is rapturous, but also very frightening to many couples because of the intense emotional and physical bonding which it can create. Alexyss, when are you going to write your own version of The Joy of Sex?

5:38-5:59--Her mind, she insane, her mind ain't good because the penis done ejaculated all in her brain, she gone crazy...that woman is being seduced, she is being seduced, he is breaking her down man, he is screwing her into submission, he's screwing her into slavery by using the penis as a weapon to break her ass down and her defenses, and she is wide open, when a penis is all up in your vagina you don't have no defenses. There are some scholars whom would argue that the arms race during The Cold War was at its root about the penis, and that ultimately, the race to make bigger and "better" nuclear weapons was the product of a phallocentric obsession. In other words, the U.S.-Soviet arms race was a horse pissing contest. Damn Alexyss, you never cease to amaze me! You are an organic intellectual with an amazing range of knowledge. I have to ask: are you single?

7:48--I don't have Phd's and Master's Degrees to put on my wall in academia, but I have a Master's degree in being played by men, used by men, told everything I wanted to hear...I am very upset by being made a fool out of. Alexyss you are no fool. Alexyss you are a gift to all of us. And yes, I think you have a Phd in human sexuality and love.

8:37--All this power coming at you then a girl ain't got a chance and so I am gonna have to stay prayed up...I've got to keep standing in the Lord. Mom is traditional and confident in her beliefs. She is afraid of "lust demons." But mom, please don't have such fear (a fear which is common among so many sexually repressed people) because this fear, once you transcend it, will lead you to act madly, possessed by your no longer repressed energies, and unable to control your desires. Seek your daughter's counsel and and you will be free, happy, healthy, and energized.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Valentine's Day Poem as Chosen by Chauncey DeVega

My Black Love
Jerome Oakbridge

Black Love
Like two caramel hands
Intertwined, Outstretched, Supportive
Black Love
Strong like steel
Shirley Chism
Black Love
A king and a queen, fighting, loving, strong
Fighting white supremacy as a family
Deuce deuce
Four four
Sojourner Truth
Black Love
The force of negritude indomitable
Ujoma, Ujima, Kujichagulia, Nia, Kuumba
So strong
So fierce
So powerful
Like George and Wheezy sitting under that shade tree, loving, fighting, joying
Don't come knocking
No, don't come knocking
No, don't come knocking
No, don't come knocking till mornin' comes home
Loving, kissing, holding, supporting
Erykah Badu
Black Love
Black ivory and black melanin
Everywhere and all peoples
Black Love
Black Love in the hour of chaos
Black Love in the hour of peace
Black Love, oh I need me some black love
I need me some black love like Valentine's day in our month of Black History
Ohh I need me some black love

A Week of Valentine's Day Love and Inspiration

We are Respectable Negroes is caught up in the love induced haze that is Valentine's Day.

All this week we are going to share our love with you through poetry and song.

We begin today with a little taste of what is to come throughout the week:

Faithful viewers and friends, how else should we show our love? How should respectable negroes love each other? Is there such a thing as "black" love? Is there something special about the love shared between respectable negroes? Who are the greatest negro lovers of all time? What can we learn from them?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Hillary Clinton cries again..and Bill Clinton is a Pimp Daddy

We are Respectable Negroes has enjoyed a "two for one weekend." First, the wisdom of the mass public reveals itself once more, as 1 in 10 listeners officially agree that Bill Clinton is a Pimp Daddy:

Second, as we have discussed here, and here, and also here, why is ol'Hillary crying again?

As The Associated Press reported:

Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., wipes her eye as she listens to a disabled U.S. veteran in the audience tell his story during a campaign stop at The City of Lewiston Memorial Armory in Lewiston, Maine., Saturday, Feb. 9, 2008.

You know what is so funny? Billary didn't shed a tear in public when Billie Bob was using his magic cigar with Monica Lewinsky, but now she cannot seem to turn off the water works. So sad. ol'Hillary we actually thought more of you:

Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday Five: 5 Overlooked Expressions of Victimology

In light of yesterday’s Victimology Blues post, this week’s Friday Five features expressions of victimology that tend to come from the relatively privileged. Since mainstream media accuse only minorities and women of “playing the victim,” the following statements are never linked to victim mentality:

1.) White people are being denied college admission and work promotions because Affirmative Action rewards mediocre minorities in order to promote diversity.

2.) Immigrants are taking all of the jobs that rightfully belong to Americans like me.

3.) Hollywood and New York cultural elites are forcing the homosexual lifestyle on our kids.

4.) When a woman accuses a man of domestic violence or rape, law enforcement and the courts are biased against the man.

5.) The secular left and the Jews are persecuting Christians by trying to remove Jesus from our government and culture.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Victimology Blues Part 2: Privileged White Men as the New England Patriots

Read Part 1 here

Throughout their great run over the last seven years, the New England Patriots have sounded like a broken record: “We get no respect…Nobody believed in us…It’s us against the world.” All successful sports teams spout these clichés, but the Patriots have perfected them. The Patriots continued to play the put-upon underdog role, even as they became the first team in NFL history to complete a 16-0 regular season, and won two additional playoff games before being upset by what turned out to be the better team in the Superbowl.

Anybody with a lick of football sense knows that the Patriots’ underdog shtick is laughable. It’s clear that New England has been by far the most successful organization in the NFL this decade. They have the best offense, the best coach, the best front office, and the best QB. They also have one of the best defenses—maybe not statistically, but when the game is on the line, the Patriots’ D usually comes up with a big play. This year, the Pats were favored in every single game they played, often by more than two touchdowns. Before they lost the big game, sports pundits were talking about The 2007 Patriots’ place in history. Chauncey will disagree, but I think that the referees exhibit a subtle bias toward The Patriots. The Pats’ only credible claim is that, outside of New England, public opinion is largely against them because they win (they believe that Spygate is just the excuse). On the surface, this football talk might seem to be unrelated to victimology; however, I submit that the Patriots are like the “traditional” white American male: successful and privileged, especially in relative terms, yet committed to a narrative of victimhood. [1]

This mindset of victimology isn’t limited to the current generation of privileged white men. Throughout this country’s history, in fact, the most successful purveyors and beneficiaries of victim mentality have been elite Christian white males. Consider the American Revolution: our nation asks us to extol people who framed their taxation at the hands of the British as the greatest injustice in history (while they owned and raped other human beings and excluded from participation the vast majority of its residents.[2] Consider the “threats” posed by Bloodthirsty Injuns, Black Brutes, the Yellow Peril, the Red Scare, and more recently, Middle-Eastern terrorists (internationally) and Mexican immigrants (domestically). I don’t wish to single out white men—many people have partaken in these various forms of fear mongering[3]—but elite white males have benefited most from them.

The point is that despite what certain bloated, racist drug addicts and Easter Island-headed token negroes seem to suggest, victimology is not the exclusive domain of black people or “minorities” of any sort. To the contrary, victimology is imprinted onto the very core of the “traditional” (read: Anglo, Judeo-Christian) American history and identity favored by liberals and conservatives who vehemently oppose multiculturalism and “revisionist” history.

The strategic rationale for fashioning one’s group as victims is clear: the public sympathy gained from victimhood can mean the difference between political support and indifference or opposition. Victimology allows activists to rally the troops, to build solidarity by conceiving an existential threat from outside. This strategy is often effective in the short run. Over the long term, though, emphasizing such a strategy can only be detrimental to the less privileged and to those concerned with social progress. But this strategy has different implications depending on the status of those wielding it.

When it comes from the privileged, victimology signals one of two things about the privileged victimologists: 1) that they have no respect for the intelligence of their adversaries and the public at large, or 2) that they have a tenuous grasp on facts and common sense. Either way, their victimology both reflects and contributes to a stunning disconnect from reality. It’s both disheartening and scary to know that there are people in positions of power and authority who think that elite white men are disadvantaged. Because it helps to reinforce privilege, this kind of victimology, by default, has an adverse effect on the less privileged. To return to the original analogy, not only have the Patriots played the victim; they’ve used this perceived victimhood to fuel their dominance, as their “everyone’s against us” attitude bolsters their intensity in walloping opponents.

When it comes from those who aren’t as privileged, victimology has a more insidious result: crippling political discourse and collective action. An emphasis on victimhood leaves people ill-equipped to deal with problems that do not fit the convenient “one of them wronged one of us” narrative. Because of the lure of victimology, discussions about practical strategies to put a dent in a serious problem—such as crime, low academic achievement, teen pregnancy, and fatherless children—too often turn to slavery. Victimology leads otherwise sensible people perpetuate batshit conspiracy theories. Victimology does not simply prompt political actors to exploit symbolic victims who have been harmed by those from other groups; victimology encourages actors to crave victimhood. Every year, a few bleeding-hearts stage “hate crimes,” usually on college campuses. These actions are obviously aberrant, but the mindset isn’t. Hate crime hoaxers aren’t insane; they are merely expressing pathological victimology politics taken to the logical extreme. Relying on fear and demonization of the other in order to define and build political communities is the only mode that a number of less privileged people know.

In short, I am troubled by the extent to which victimology is embedded in our culture.[4] One need not be a Nietzschean to argue that victim mentality exemplifies rhetorical (if not psychological) weakness. While there is certainly virtue in overcoming hardship and victimhood (as the history and resilience of scores of oppressed people attests), there is no inherent virtue in victimhood. Sometimes, victimhood, while life-changing for the victim, has no broader social import beyond the person involved; sometimes, claims of victimhood are absurd, and sometimes, “victims” are idiots or miscreants who deserve neither sympathy nor millions of dollars for making the bad decisions that allowed them to be victimized. But the issue is not whether victims exist (of course they do) or whether certain figures warrant the victim label; the issue is what role victims should play in the narratives (both backward-looking and forward-looking ones) that construct our political identities and frame our political action.

Next—Victimology Blues Part 3: The Racist Duke Lacrosse Team, the Hooker, and the Suckers Who Blindly Supported Them.


[1] The analogy breaks down once we move beyond perceptions and outcomes—more specifically, beyond the success to cries of victimhood ratio. Because the best, most deserving teams almost always win, especially in big games, the NFL is closer to a true meritocracy than America (or any other country) will ever be. But the meritocracy only applies to athletes on the field. There’s still a notable racial disparity in coaching and front office positions.

[2] This does not, however, absolve those who refuse to acknowledge the brilliance, or at least the effectiveness of the rhetoric and institutions that these elitist, racist slave owners crafted.

[3] And as Zora correctly implies, all of us, even those who are from historically disenfranchised groups, carry some form of privilege, depending on the context.

[4] But this isn’t an American phenomenon either. Pick an issue locally, nationally, globally—immigration, multicultural education, The West Bank, secularism vs. public religious expression—each side of every major conflict deals in the politics of victimhood. Victim mentality pervades all societies, garroting political discourse and identity.

Bill O'Reilly Cautions bro'Bama that He Best not Avoid the "Fair and Balanced" Fox Network

One, Two, Bill O'Reilly is coming for you:

We try to watch out for our respectable negro brethren, so please Bro'Bama, whatever you do, don't fall asleep!

By the way, isn't this theme song a wonderful bit of (deservedly) forgotten hip hop history?

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Power of White Women's Tears Redux for Super Tuesday

Told you so last month.

I love being right...

Courtesy of Reuters News Service


By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (Reuters) - An emotional Hillary Clinton and rival Barack Obama pushed for votes in the U.S. Northeast on Monday, the day before a coast-to-coast Democratic presidential showdown that is neck-and-neck in opinion polls.

On a visit to Yale University in Connecticut, Clinton's eyes glistened during an introduction recalling her law school days there. It was an echo of her emotional display before the New Hampshire primary, credited with helping turn the tide for her eventual victory in the state.

"Well I said I wouldn't tear up," the New York senator said. "Already we're not exactly on the path."

Obama, an Illinois senator, campaigned in New Jersey and Connecticut ahead of "Super Tuesday" voting in 24 states, the biggest single day of voting ever in a U.S. presidential nominating race.

"We cannot wait to bring change to America," Obama said in East Rutherford, New Jersey, where he was joined by Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy, his niece and daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy.

Republican front-runner John McCain, hoping to score a knockout blow over rival Mitt Romney, invaded the former Massachusetts governor's home turf and told supporters in Boston he could win the state.

"I believe we have every good shot at carrying the state of Massachusetts tomorrow," McCain, an Arizona senator, told hundreds of supporters jammed into historic Faneuil Hall.

In New Jersey, he said Romney presided over a "big government, mandated health care plan" in Massachusetts and he promised to compete in the general election for votes in traditional Democratic bastions in the Northeast.

"When I get the nomination I will come back and compete for New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and these states in the Northeast," he said in Hamilton, New Jersey.

Romney swept through Tennessee and Georgia before dashing to California, the biggest prize, where a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll showed him taking a lead over McCain. McCain also hastily scheduled a stop in California on Tuesday.

"If I win California that means you're going to have a conservative in the White House," Romney told reporters after eating breakfast with voters at the Pancake Pantry restaurant in Nashville.

The presidential contenders in both parties are aiming on Tuesday to win a big share of national convention delegates who choose the nominees. More than half of the total Democratic delegates are up for grabs, and about 40 percent of the Republican delegates.


Obama and Clinton have waged a bitter battle for the Democratic nomination in November's presidential election, competing for votes from coast to coast after splitting the first four significant contests.

The physical toll of the campaign showed on Clinton, whose voice was hoarse and faint after days of nonstop activity.

A coughing spell also brought tears to her eyes in New Haven and forced her to pause and sip water at an event where she contrasted her universal health care proposal with Obama's, which she contends could leave up to 15 million uninsured.

"My objective is to get everybody into this system," Clinton said. "I am running for president because I know we can do better than we have."

Polls show tight Democratic races in many of the biggest states, although a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll showed Obama opening a 6-point lead on Clinton in California, which has 441 delegates to the nominating convention -- more than one-fifth of the total needed to win.

Because Democrats distribute delegates in proportion to their vote statewide and in individual congressional districts, candidates can come away with big chunks of delegates even in states they lose.

As a result, neither Obama nor Clinton are likely to deal a knockout blow on Tuesday, prolonging their battle for the nomination to March contests in Texas and Ohio and an April contest in Pennsylvania.

"The likelihood is the nomination will be decided somewhere in those states," Clinton strategist Mark Penn told reporters in a conference call. "This race will continue until someone has the delegates necessary to secure the nomination."

In contrast, many Republican contests are winner-take-all when awarding delegates, meaning a strong day by McCain could give him a commanding lead.

McCain said in Boston he hoped "to do well enough to hopefully draw this process to a close, but if not we'll be prepared to continue to go out and campaign."

Romney has tried to take advantage of conservative qualms about McCain's views on taxes, immigration and campaign finance reform. He said the race would not end after Tuesday.

"Across the country, conservatives have come together and said 'You know what, we don't want Senator McCain. We want a conservative to be in the White House,'" Romney said.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who won the first contest in Iowa, also remains in the Republican race, and has siphoned conservative votes from Romney in some contests. He is aiming for a strong showing in the South.

(Additional reporting by Jeff Mason in New Jersey, Claudia Parsons in Tennessee, Steve Holland in Massachusetts; Writing by John Whitesides: Editing by Chris Wilson)

(For more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at

Chuancey DeVega Says: The New England Patriots have Lost and I am Rendered Speechless

I am hurt. I am sad. I have been made mute. I am getting myself prepared for The End of Times because The Apocalypse is truly upon us:

Florida Evans said it best:

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Jim Brown: A Pre-Superbowl Respectable Negro of the Weekend

Thanks Jim for speaking a little truth to power. But Brother Jim, please don't waste too much time and energy on Tiger Woods because he is a lost cause, a "New Negro," Canablasian, tragic mulatto and simply not worth too much of your (or our) time. Tiger may see nothing in wrong in a sports commentator saying he should be "lynched," but those who know better can't help but shake our heads in disgust at Mr. Woods's non-response:

The full text of the article follows from:

Brown not backing down regarding Tiger
By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports
February 2, 2008

Dan Wetzel
Yahoo! Sports

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Tiger Woods is not just one of the world's most popular athletes, he's one of its most popular people. He is relentlessly positive, as appealing away from the game as he is on the golf course.

Some of that is his natural personality; some, presumably, part of a calculated (and understandable) attempt to navigate a public life that impossibly asks him to be all things to all people.

Woods glides through the world like one of his shots toward the green; a breathtakingly precise, yet soft-landing approach.

It takes a tough guy to criticize Tiger Woods, to demand more, to square off and to risk the inevitable backlash of challenging such a personality. In the end, you can't really win.

Jim Brown has no such concern, of course, no such fear. His approach to life – particularly in addressing social issues – is like his old football running style. He just squares his shoulders, buries his head and blasts right at you.

That's how Brown, the product of the contentious 1960s, believes it needs to be done; the same way Woods, a far calmer generation later, probably feels his way is best.

Brown recently criticized Woods for being "too politically correct" in not speaking out sooner or with more force when a Golf Channel anchor said opposing players' best bet to stop Woods was to "lynch" him.

"He should have come out right away," Brown told ESPN. "Instead, he waited until it was politically correct (to comment)."

Even then, Woods brushed the entire episode aside.

For Brown, much of the backlash for criticizing Woods was swift and thorough. In some quarters, he was as vilified as the announcer. But as you'd expect, he isn't backing down.

"Someone asked me a question and I gave them an answer," Brown told Yahoo! Sports at a Super Bowl charity golf event this week. "And the answer, I thought, was very thoughtful and very meaningful.

"And if it is understood, a lot of people will go into their history and learn something about who developed this country, who helped develop it, who are the people who made it as great as it is today and at what cost."

Here's the thing with Brown, he asks questions and gives answers that few of us in comfortable positions sometimes want to hear. This includes me.

It's not that you have to agree with him, but simply contemplating his point can take energy, thought and even study in a day and age that prefers instant, simple-minded agreement or dismissal.

But life isn't "Hannity & Colmes."

Brown's point is that in the fade of history the true meaning of lynching had been forgotten.

"Lynching was the weapon of the greatest terrorist group in this country, the Ku Klux Klan," he said. "That was their weapon of choice. So if you don't know that, then you should really become educated because a lot of people have suffered many years because of the sickness of that terrorist organization."

To Brown "evil is evil." To joke about lynching is no different than joking about a hijacked plane on 9-11 orphaning a child, a roadside bomb in Fallujah taking out a Marine's knees, or an explosive-packed car murdering innocent shoppers in some far off land.

It's not just about race, it's about rememberance and perspective. It's a point that, at the very least, makes you stop and think.

Woods has been criticized for not being as socially outspoken as many great athletes of Brown's era. Clearly, Woods has the kind of immense power that was unattainable a generation ago.

His response is that he is socially active through his charities, which is a fair point. And he certainly doesn't have to apologize for not being Jim Brown or thinking like Jim Brown.

Brown has no more the final say on this than anyone else. If Woods thought Kelly Tilghman's two-week suspension was enough and this was, indeed, no big deal, then that's fine.

But Brown certainly can have a say. The worst thing that happened from the lynching fallout was some of the instantaneous, outright dismissal of everything Brown and others articulated.

The powers that be, especially in golf, wanted no part of looking in their sport's historical (or current) mirror. So they rallied with a simple message, "Just move on, it's no big deal, just an innocent mistake."

It would seem that at least some in the golf establishment and some of its lock-step media were as angry with Golf Week at attempting to continue the debate than the magazine's terrible choice of cover art.

But that's always the moneyed-power reaction; kill all discussion, protect the status quo. Woods – knowingly or not, purposefully or not – became their perfect spokesman on the issue.

That's Tiger's right, of course. But doing what Brown demanded – examining the past, educating people to history, challenging Woods' approach and opinion – can never be a bad thing either. Even if it becomes rarer and rarer in a sports world now mostly devoid of socially outspoken stars.

"(Athletes don't speak out today) because the most difficult part of the struggle is over," Brown said. "Now an African-American athlete can enjoy pretty much everything that everyone else can enjoy.

"When you are in an era when you can utilize the fruits of someone else's labor, it takes a thoughtful person to think the battle still goes on, the struggle still goes on and there (are) still barriers that we still have to break down."

At age 71, Brown refuses to stop challenging athletes to think about the world outside of endorsements, parties and public relations. No matter how much it costs him in all of those things.

"That's the life I live," he said. "The life I live is to try to be a part of change. A lot of youngsters, once they become educated they become advocates. They really try to do the right thing."

It's too simplistic to say Brown's approach is always right or always wrong; just as it would be to say about Woods'. Both have their merits.

Here's what is wrong in discussing race in America: taking the easy route and just say be quiet, just say it's over and no one cares anymore, to just say the other side's opinion has no merit or meaning.

The thing is, it takes courage to listen.

Jim Brown, no doubt, has that courage; the courage to fight even against an overwhelmingly popular conventional wisdom articulated by no less than Tiger Woods.

Maybe, in the end, he changed few minds in golf or anywhere else, but America remains a better place because Jim Brown, all these years later, keeps trying to fight these mostly un-winnable fights.

For all his faults, Jim Brown was, and is, one hell of a man:

Thanks again Jim.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Zora on Film: Has Hollywood Helped Pave the Way for Obama?

After voters have seen several black presidents on screen, are they more likely to elect one in real life? NPR's Michele Norris recently raised this question to Dr. Todd Boyd, Professor of Critical Studies in the USC School of Cinematic Arts aka The Notorious PhD. "I'm a bit hesitant to say that because James Earl Jones or Morgan Freeman or Dennis Haysbert played a president on a TV show or in a movie, it means Barack Obama can be president," Boyd responded. "I think that's a bit of a stretch."

Boyd goes on, though, to say that such representations — especially those like 24's, beamed weekly into American living rooms — "may have unconsciously made some things in society seem less troubling" than if there'd been no pop-culture pictures of a black president.

I'm betting that a lot of folks will take issue with Dr. Boyd's response. Leaders within the African-American community have been pushing for decades to have more positive representations of Negroes in the media. The result is that we regularly see African-Americans playing the roles of well-to-do professionals who are in positions of power. (For some reason, television casting directors love seeing African-American women in the role of judges -- the Law & Order spin-offs must be the most consistent employer of middle-aged, black female extras in the industry.) The irony is that the majority of the most blatant stereotypical imagery we see in popular culture today is produced by ourselves and for ourselves --> T_ler P_rry.

With Hollywood favorites like Denzel Washington, Bill Cosby and Will Smith, we've been looking pretty damn good on television and film over the last two decades (local news broadcasts not included). Some might say, too good. The problem is that the progress we've made on the cinematic screen does not reflect the progress we've made on the street. Liberals in Hollywood are producing symbols that are not grounded in reality. These symbols may actually be negatively affecting African-American progress.

The power of the media in shaping American perceptions of reality has been a regular theme on this blog. Because we are still a very segregated nation, most white Americans get a lot of their information about black Americans from the television. In places with marginal black populations like New Hampshire, Vermont, Montana, Utah and New Mexico, media images are even less likely to be balanced by real life interactions with African-Americans. If all they're seeing is images of well-off, powerful Negroes, then tales of black poverty and racial discrimination must fall on deaf ears.

I live in a small, New England town where I can count the number of African-Americans on my fingers and toes. All of us are professionals who are associated with the local college. We are surrounded by a lot of deep and profound poverty. It is nearly impossible to talk with Whites who have grown-up in this area about racial inequality and discrimination. From what they can observe, African-Americans have actually moved ahead of Whites. Most of them barely have a high-school education, so you can forget about discussing symbolic imagery and media manipulation with them.

All of the positive images of African-Americans are surely feeding what social theorists would term realistic group conflict. This is especially likely in this time of economic difficulty with the competition for jobs and benefits growing more fierce each day. We should not have been surprised at all that Obama lost in New Hampshire. Bill Clinton wasn't surprised. He knew immediately why Obama lost and sought to nourish the seeds of conflict with his comments on the "race card." The Clinton camp knew that they couldn't win the South Carolina battle, but they are looking long-term at the war. For all of Obama's talk about "hope," he has to also acknowledge (at least among his strategists) that he also inspires a lot of fear.

With all of the black presidents we have seen on screen, only African-Americans are more likely to elect a black president. For them, the symbols represent possibilities that were perhaps unimaginable before: "Maybe we can win? Maybe we can be successful?" For other groups, the media symbols of Negro success are more likely to inspire fear, or apathy at the very least. I would argue that the lack of support for Obama among Latino Democrats is further evidence of this.

Does this mean that we should go back to being portrayed as maids and field hands? Of course, not. We do, however, have to make sure that we are portrayed in a balanced and realistic manner. It doesn't serve any of us to live in a "fantasy land."

A Few Words on the Hillary-Obama Debate

I have little to say, except that the debate was a spectacle of conviviality and (almost) friendship. You know? I almost feel cheated.

Fittingly, 2 songs were running through my head during the debate.

Song number one:

Song number two:

One great parody came to mind as well--just substitute Obama and Hillary as needed:

And bro'Bama when you gave that weak answer on immigration reform I wanted to "insert hand into throat" in order to vomit. Bro'Bama, you better wake up and come stronger on this issue because the "brown" part of the coalition you are pulling for has no love for a brother.