Saturday, March 7, 2009

It's Spreading Like a Disease: Sexxed Up White Female Teachers Again Caught Having Sex With Young Male Students

Where were teachers like this when I was in school? And this young stud must have some really good game--or some other special gift--to be able to have his way with two teachers, in the same school, at the same time.

Once more, we have a case of two desperate housewives aka public school teachers, reaching out to the young studs in their lives. No, not the mechanic or the cable guy--rather, the junior high school students who are sitting in their classes.

But lest I complain too much, I must concede that school must have really been in session during those late afternoon and early morning tutorials (insert self-congratulatory moment: sometimes I do so impress myself with my oh so easy turns of phrase).

As I said in my lampooning of CNN's Black in America series, imagine if black or hispanic teachers were featured at least once monthly on the evening news for giving some special "counseling" to the students in their care? Me thinks the public reaction would be quite different.

What drives white female teachers to drink so freely from these (too) youthful waters? Are they succubuses? Do these teachers find sustenance in the life force that is generated by the tumultuous, hormonally upset, Pon'Farr afflicted, always aroused state of being common to young boys between the ages of 12 to 17?

And I must ask: what is the romance and foreplay like? Do they pretend to be teacher and student? Is the latter "naughty" and in need of discipline, while the former is excited and all too ready to give it? Or instead, do the older woman and teenage boy pretend that they are married to one another, and after a fight over bills or the kids, the two find a way to reconcile so that they can enjoy 3 minutes of semi-monthly, boring, tedium filled, monotonous coitus?

The story follows:

Two Bountiful Jr. High teachers accused of sex with same student

Steve Gehrke, and Jason Bergreen
The Salt Lake Tribune

Two Bountiful Junior High School teachers are accused of sexually assaulting the same 13-year-old student, after their separate relationships with him spiraled from personal conversations to the exchange of sexual text messages and phone sex, authorities said.

On Friday, the Davis County Attorney's Office filed first-degree felony charges of rape and sodomy on a child against Linda R. Nef, 46, and Valynne Bowers, 39.

Nef, a Utah studies teacher and cheerleading adviser, and Bowers, who teaches math, each confessed to having sex with the student, said Bountiful Police Lt. Randy Pickett. Until recently, the two teachers did not know about each other's relationship with the same boy, Pickett said.

The charges were filed after Nef arranged a meeting with police on Thursday and admitted having sex with the boy for more than a year, Pickett said. Their sexual relationship allegedly began in October 2007 and lasted until December 2008, he said.

During the meeting, Nef revealed Bowers' relationship with the boy, Pickett said. Bowers allegedly began having sex with him in December, and she also has acknowledged the relationship, he said.

Nef was booked into the Davis County Jail on Friday afternoon and has her first court appearance scheduled for 1:30 p.m. March 27.

Bowers also was arrested and booked into the jail on Friday, Pickett said. She later appeared in court, where she waived her right to a preliminary hearing and was ordered to stand trial. A felony arraignment in her case is scheduled for 9 a.m. March 16.

Nef, who began her career with the Davis County School District in 2004 as a physical education teacher at Taylor Elementary School, resigned from her post at the junior high on Monday, said school district spokesman Chris Williams.

Bowers was placed on administrative leave while district officials conduct their own investigation. Bowers has taught in the district since 1996 and was an elementary school teacher for nine years before she transferred to Bountiful Junior High in 2006, Williams said.

"So far, there is nothing to indicate that there are any other students involved, or any other faculty or employees involved," Pickett said.

In separate conversations, the boy and the two teachers began discussing personal problems, Pickett said. That led to text messages, including ones involving sexual matters, then phone sex and the alleged sexual assaults, Pickett said.

The investigation so far indicates none of the alleged sex acts occurred at the school, Pickett said. Instead, the teachers allegedly went with the student to homes, parking lots or parks in Bountiful, Woods Cross, Farmington and Kaysville.

Williams said parents picking up their children from the school Friday expressed disbelief and shock. Jenifer Wright, whose eighth-grade daughter attends the school, said the news alarmed her.

"It makes me very worried. I'm very protective about my children," she said.

Holly Ruhr, whose seventh-grade daughter attends the school, said she is not worried by the charges because she has been "impressed in every way" by Bountiful Junior High.

"My daughter is thrilled to go to class every day," she said. "This is just a case of one or two teachers. Not a bad school."

Another parent struggled to believe the allegations, defending Bowers as a great teacher.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Come All Ye Unwashed Masses and Confess Your Secret Shames at the Church of White Liberal Guilt

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I had a vision, a shimmering image which came to me in the twilight of my waking hours. As Saint James Brown departed us, he sent a messenger. I did not know HIS name, but his energy was powerful--yet it possessed a great sadness. HE, the great White ambassador, spoke to me and the Earth shook. This messenger sent by Saint James communicated in the most clear and melodic voice: What of your White allies? What of the White masses? We too have great guilt...especially the most "liberal" and "progressive" of us. You, Chauncey, must build us a temple, a place where we can confess our guilt and shame. I looked to Brother James and he said go forth and help our White allies, for it is the special burden We Respectable Negroes must at times suffer as an act of love.

I awoke. I went to class and encountered a young white student who was emphatically recounting the events of the previous weekend to his friend. Curious, I listened. It seems that this young, naive, white soul had loaned his cell phone to a stranger in need. This stranger was black. They were on "the wrong side of town." Our naive white liberal did not want to "prejudge" this "homeless" and "rough" looking black man. "That would be wrong," he told his sympathetic friend. The black stranger implored to our white liberal student of kind comportment that he needed to "borrow" the phone, in order to call some friends so that he could find shelter for the evening.

As I heard this story, I shook my head--we respectable negroes all know how this story ends.

In great shock and pain our young white friend explained how the black lumpen walked off with his cell phone. Our young white liberal ran after the brigand. The black tough then told our progressive young friend, that "the phone is mine." Our noble youth further protested at which point the black ign't threatened to shoot him. So sad, so very sad.

Our pink cheeked, ivory hued protagonist shrugged his shoulders and told his friend, "I didn't want to fight him or complain because given that I am white in a black neighborhood somehow it would be my fault if something went wrong."

I sighed.

Come one, come all, be you either anonymous White folk or our white allies. Unburden yourselves, share your pain.

Do you pretend to like rap music because you don't want to be perceived as "racist?" All the while hating it?

Do you pretend to like "ethnic food" because you want to look tolerant, but you really can't stomach it?"

Do you not lock your doors in high crime areas as a "progressive" act against racism because the 'hood happens to be predominantly black and brown?

Did you pretend to support Barack Obama when in fact you actually find his politics deeply troubling, yet, you wanted to do the "right" thing?

When in line at the ATM do you tell yourself that it is wrong to be scared when the hard looking brother, with the prison muscles and tattoos, who is also wearing a hoodie with a scarf wrapped around his face, is standing behind you at 3am?

Come to us, one an all...share your secret White liberal shames--those hidden thoughts--for you will find salvation here.

And let it never be said that We Respectable Negroes are guilty of reverse discrimination! As we gave gifts to the parishioners of the Church of James Brown, we shall give the best 2 confessionals in the Church of White Liberal Guilt a free copy of Ta-Nehisi Coates's great book, The Beautiful Struggle, courtesy of Spiegel & Grau publishers. Do you have the courage to lay bare your souls?

***Come forth my White folks! The shimmering spirit has come to me again--this time with a musical accompaniment that HE tells me will encourage all you to come forth. HE calls it "blue eyed soul." What is this that HE speaks of? I don't understand its mysteries, but I do think I understand its power***:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

More Respectable Negro Behavior: Response to Terrorist Attack Makes Bus Driver a Hero

Now this is some heroic, respectable negro behavior. We salute you!


Response to terrorist attack makes bus driver a hero

LAHORE, Pakistan (CNN) -- His job was to drive the bus. But Meher Mohammad Khalil is now being hailed as a lifesaver.

When gunmen jumped out of bushes and began spraying bullets at the bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team Tuesday, Khalil quickly sized up his options and got everyone to safety.

"First I thought there were some firecrackers going off. Then, when I saw the elite force cars in front of me taking fire, I immediately lost my voice," Khalil told CNN on Wednesday.

"At that time, the other elite car that was with us gave me cover, and then, when I saw he was giving me cover, my courage and my patience returned.

"I decided to take the vehicle from there, and one way or another, even if I had to drive over someone, I would take this bus and escape."

Khalil returned to the scene of the attack in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Wednesday to honor those who were killed and to place flowers in their memory.

One of the dead was Zafar Khan, a friend and fellow bus driver who had been in a vehicle behind Khalil.

"My eyes filled with tears that these were people that I was eating with and who died in doing their duty."

Khalil had been part of a convoy heading to Gaddafi Stadium, where the Sri Lankan cricket team was to continue a match against Pakistan.

Six police officers were killed, in addition to Khalil's friend Khan who was driving a bus with the match umpires. See where the attack happened »

The Sri Lankan cricketers praised Khalil's quick thinking and action, saying he saved their lives. Six team members were injured by broken glass and shrapnel.

Team captain Mahela Jayawardene wrote on his Web site of Khalil: "He probably saved our lives, showing remarkable bravery in the face of direct gunfire to keep the bus moving."

Crowds mobbed Khalil as he paid his respects at the place where his life changed in an instant.

"He is a hero, a real hero, a real man of the people," a man in the crowd said.

Private donors in Lahore have rewarded Khalil with 300,000 rupees (more than $3,000) -- a small fortune for a Pakistani bus driver.

Today, Khalil says all he can feel is pain of the loss of life. And he called on the attackers to recognize that their victims are humans just like them, with mothers and sisters.

"For God's sake, please stop this terrorism and let this nation breathe a sigh of relief," he said.

CNN's Zein Basravi contributed to this report.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Chauncey DeVega says: Dr. Martin Luther King Didn't Die for You to Let Your Pants Sag! or How Will Barack Obama Fix this Problem?

This video is priceless. We are going to do an expose on the politics of pants saggin' and our Bureau of Ign't Affairs, but this video is so great that it has to be posted and shared all around these Internets.

Some choice quotes:

@ 5:22--God, underwear, and the family:

I think it is disrespectful first of all to God and then their parents…Pants weren’t designed like that. They need to start honoring the Father in heaven, and then their parents, and then they will honor themselves…I don’t think that is a way of honoring…

@5:43--You have to give points for linking Brother Martin with the crisis of pants sagging among the ign't youth:

Hi, I am brother Malcolm and my opinion based on the law in reference to the young men that are wearing saggy pants and baggin pants I think it really is a negative attitude that is sent to the children. I have young men coming up, and I am a father, and I think all young men ought to have the potential to be as much as they can, and a gentlemen should not be walking around the neighborhood with his behind out, showing his underwear. What difference does it make what color underwear you have on? You know, we ought to be like Martin Luther King, we ought to be judged by the content of our character not the color of our skin nor the color of our behinds…

@ 7:25--Poetry in motion:

A real man do not want no one to see his underwear but a woman...

My respectable negroes and white allies, how do you manage to negotiate the plague of saggin' pants in your neighborhood?

Negro Confessions to the Church of James Brown

We are happy to say that the membership of the Church of James Brown has increased thirty-fold over the course of our revival. Respectable Negroes from far and wide have marched down the aisle to drop to their knees and confess their sins at our black velvet altar of Negritude. Can I hear an Amen?

In a reversal of the long-standing, Negro church practice of soliciting offerings for a never-to-be-built building fund or for a Cadillac upgrade, we deacons have decided instead to make offerings to our parishioners. Several of you deserve special offerings for the degree of humility and self-reflection expressed in your confessions. In addition to a small token of recognition in the form of a book written by one of our prophets, we will also be sending to you a piece of red polyester taken from the hem of Father Brown's cape along with a small flask of his blessed cold-sweat. Hit meh!

We begin our recognitions with Sister Marci. Sister Marci was the brave soul who was the first to stand up and take those meaningful steps toward the altar. It took a lot of courage to confess her addiction to the dangerous mixture of raw eggs, oil and vinegar. Sister Marci, my brethren, is a Mayo-lover -- pure and simple. Don't be ashamed, Sister Marci. We are all equal before the Permed One!

We recognize Sister VOD for confessing her impatience with sisters who whine about the shortage of marriageable black men. Sister VOD's lack of empathy likely comes from the fact that she looks like one of the Glistening One's background, praise dancers. With her afro-puffs and hot pants, Sister VOD has never experienced a shortage of interested brothers -- marriageable or not, already married or not, on the down-low or not, employed or not, living with their mothers or not... Because of this, we can also understand Sister VOD's lack of sympathy for the "endangered black male." For, they are not endangered in her world.

For his low-down and dirty confession, the Church of James Brown gives the nod to Brother Al from Bay Shore. Brother Al. Brother Al. With tears in his eyes and a lump in his crotch, he confessed his secret shame of wanting to have a threesome with NeNe and Kim from the Real Housewives of Atlanta. It overwhelmed us all when he added the details of jheri curl juice and Jodeci on a cassette tape. Brother Al, we hear your confession and absolve you for your sins. There is not a deacon in this church who doesn't have a hot, ghetto love fantasy buried somewhere deep in his mind. Amen?

Sister Ya-Akua also deserves recognition for his heart-felt confession. She loves ghetto mess as portrayed on shows like Maury Povich and Flavor of Love, but confesses a fear of traveling to the ghetto alone. Sister Ya-Akua is a cultural voyeur. For this, she joins the ranks of Cornell West, Melissa Harris Lacewell, Henry Louis Gates and Mary Patillo McCoy. Sister Ya-Akua, we will absolve you only if you promise to reconcile the contradictions in your values. Go forth and stop eating watermelon and fried chicken in the dark!

For confessing her rage against all things Madea, Sister Natasha is recognized. Her rage has led to visions of Madea in the White House. Calm down, sistuh; otherwise, we'll soon be watching a new series called Natasha in Jail. To other members of our congregation, we ask that you hold Natasha up in your prayers. We also caution you against seeing a Madea movie in a black neighborhood -- Natasha may be in a theatre near you!

Finally, there was one who confessed but wished to remain anonymous. His shame was so deep that he couldn't bear to share his identity with others in the flock. Among other things, Anonymous confessed to hating "grown ass men, over 20 in matching hat, top, pants and shoes," "people wasting money they don't have on rims," "gold /platinum teeth," "weird, unnatural hair colors like blue, pink, and purple," and "Black churches that encourage 'prosperity salvation'." Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, and AMEN! Anonymous, we all break out in a cold-sweat when faced with such abominations. Wherever you are, you are absolved.

Brothers and Sisters, we end this service by encouraging you all to keep love, peace and funk within your hearts. Should you find yourselves burdened with the guilt of not being an authentic Negro, feel free to shift the weight from your shoulders by confessing at the Church of James Brown. A revival will be coming soon to a church near you. For now, may you be blessed with the serenity of knowing that you are not alone in your sinfulness. Good Gawd!

[The "recognized" should write to to claim their prizes.]

Sunday, March 1, 2009

One More Black History Month Hijinks: Monday is the Final Day of Confessions to the Church of James Brown!

Brother James has a concert to play with Isaac Hayes, Bernie Mac, Richard Pryor, and Redd Foxx on Tuesday. Thus, we only have have one more day for confessionals. Come Negro Sisters and Brothers, share your secret shames on Monday, 'cause come Tuesday you will have to wait till next year--and we will be announcing the winners for best confessional on that same day.

Come one, come all, Brother James loves all of you!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Behold the Church of James Brown: Come Ye Negroes One and All, Confess Your Distaste for Things and Matters that All Black Folk Are Deemed to Love

Black History Month is an opportunity for respectable negroes to wallow in the muddied waters that is the politics of Black authenticity.

To that end, we live a lie. We pretend to like certain types and examples of music, culture, books, historical figures, etc. in order to be deemed sufficiently Black. Because of our love/hate affair with this most auspicious of months in the negro pantheon of holidays, we are forced to live a lie. No longer.

Behold! we have created a safe space where you can let down your guard. Here, in this most private and anonymous of spaces you can surrender, you can unburden yourself, and lay forth those secret shames that threaten to compromise your Black authenticity.

James Brown is the patron saint of all Black people for he is the one figure whose greatness we can all agree upon. Ultimately, James Brown is a unifier--a greatest common denominator--that transcends the diversity that is the tribe of respectable negroes and it is to him that we give our secret shames.

Come my brothers and sisters, enter the Church of James Brown and share your pain as you preface your offerings with the following prayer as we mark the end of Black History Month in the year 2009:

"Oh most amazing James Brown, greatest of all negroes, I offer you my lies and secret shames. All these years I have yearned to share those things which I have pretended to like and adore in the name of being authentically Black. I cast my words into the wind so that you can take our secrets and make these shames unintelligible as you sing them for all time in your unique and spirited language."

As an example for all of you, I will be the first to share three of my secret shames:

I, Chauncey DeVega, do not like black eyed peas.

I, Chauncey DeVega, do not like the television miniseries Roots.

I, Chauncey DeVega, do not like the Black Church.

Come my friends and unburden yourself!

**** It is day three of the James Brown Church and it is moving the negro Earth beneath our feet! Do you feel the excitement! Can I have an amen!****

A Black History Month Contest (or Two)--Want Some Free Books?

We have some great prizes to give away courtesy of our friends at the Hachette Book Group.

How will we decide who get's our swag?

As a way to make this difficult choice, we will be holding a contest called "the James Brown Church" where you can confess the secrets and lies that you hold closest to your heart in order to maintain your Black authenticity.

And as an incentive for your sharing those deepest burdens and lies necessitated by the politics of Black authenticity, the best 2 confessionals will receive the following 8 books--

The American Journey of Barack Obama By The Editors of Life Magazine

Fledgling By Octavia Butler

Stand the Storm By Breena Clarke

Red River By Lalita Tademy

Keep the Faith: A Memoir By Faith Evans

Say You're One of Them By Uwem Akpan

The Shack By William Young

The Bishop's Daughter By Tiffany Warren

Gordon Gartrelle Rethinks the Buffalo Soldiers and Madame CJ Walker for Black History Month

There are two main problems with popular approaches to history in general: history is frequently reduced to mere fact-listing, and “history” often amounts to uncritical hero worship.

The same is true of popular Black history narratives. Too many times are we forced to sit through lectures like this one: “Winston A. Freeman, a BLACK MAN, invented the screw that holds together toenail clippers!” And forget the Barbershop controversy, my colleague Chauncey is quite familiar with black folks who think it’s disrespectful to tell the truth: that Parks’ protest was planned.

Unless we cultivate nuance and complexity in our traditional historical narratives, Black history will be little more than trivia to build black kids’ self-esteem and “educate” others about our contributions. By nuance and complexity, I don’t mean just acknowledging that our heroes are subject to the same human failings as the rest of us (though we need that too); I mean re-examining the core of why we celebrate the subjects of traditional Black history.

Consider the Buffalo Soldiers. While they are celebrated as paragons of courage and patriotism in the face of American racism, it’s incredible how rarely their defenders question their missions: displacing Native Americans during the so-called Indian Wars, beating back Mexican insurrections, aiding imperialist efforts in Cuba and the Philippines.

Essentially, The Buffalo Soldiers were used to do the dirty work of (arguably racist) American imperialism. As such, it doesn’t make much sense to praise them unconditionally. We arrive at a fuller, more complex and interesting history if we acknowledge the dubious nature of their missions. Imagine if the dominant narrative of the Buffalo soldiers changed from “hey black men served with distinction in the military!” to “black people, hopeful that their service would lead to improved conditions in society, were used to aid the subjugation of other oppressed people. Tragically, black folks never reaped any social benefits from aiding American imperialism.”

By the way, I just don’t buy the argument that they deserve to be honored strictly based on their military service independent of whom they fought. Praising military service independent of the cause is questionable to say the least. I don’t think we want to go there.

Consider Madame CJ Walker. Her story is inspiring—self-made, independent black woman makes fortune through her business savvy in creating and marketing her line of black beauty products. That’s good stuff.

Now think about the vigor with which her defenders deny that Walker invented the hot comb (they’re right, actually) and sold skin-bleaching creams (they’re wrong on this one). This is clearly the desire to praise a black female entrepreneur clashing with later “Black is Beautiful” norms. But what’s wrong with placing Walker’s beauty products in context, noting that they were based on facilitating European notions of attractiveness? Doing so doesn’t diminish her accomplishments; it merely situates her among the racial norms of the time.

In short, we promote a more mature and more relevant Black history if we draw out tensions instead of ignoring them or attacking those who highlight them.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Black History Month Hijinks: We Must Convene a War Council and Vote One More Negro (or Actually Negress) Out of the Tribe of Respectable Negroes

We respectable negroes believe in equality among all peoples. Thus, no person, be they male or female, straight or gay, rich or poor, religious or agnostic will escape our long and mighty grasp.

This is especially true in matters of discommendation. As you know, we have successfully voted 2 lapdog Tom Negroes out of the tribe (Cowboy Troy and James T. Harris). Today, in this most auspicious Black History Month, I move that we vote our first woman out of the tribe. Her name: Tara Wall, Deputy Director of the Washington Times and former Senior Adviser to the Republican National Committee. Her offense: playing the colored race apologist aka "slave catcher" in her CNN editorial critiquing Attorney General Holder's speech in which he called Americans "cowards" on matters of race and justice.

I am all for ideological diversity, but this is simply outside of the bounds of common sense, propriety, and race pride.

Tara Wall's seditious editorial, "Americans are not Cowards on Race" is presented as evidence.

-- First, we're a nation of whiners; now, we're a nation of cowards.

The coward comment comes from none other than President Obama's newly minted attorney general, Eric Holder.

The remarks were part of a speech Holder delivered for Black History Month. Yet, even in that context, the words came across as arrogant, condescending and not at all becoming a statesman.

One dictionary definition of coward is "lacking courage." Stinging words for a country at war, where white and black soldiers are shedding the same color blood. Are they cowards?

Ironic too that Holder's remarks come at a time when the nation has just elected its first black president and witnessed the confirmation of its first black attorney general (Holder himself). Forget that more whites than blacks cast their ballots for a black man to lead the nation. So this is how Holder says thanks?

Did the attorney general not think about the weight his words would carry? Was he simply trying to be provocative? Is this his way of bringing the races together? Does his position or his color give him the bravado to think that he can get away with calling us cowards?

Imagine for a moment if John McCain or George W. Bush uttered those words. The criticism would have known no bounds.

You'll recall, it was just a few months back that a media frenzy erupted when former Sen. Phil Gramm called national leaders (not the nation) a bunch of "whiners." Media pundits and broadcasters blasted Gramm for weeks, until he was forced off McCain's campaign.

Gramm's words, while true, were mild in comparison to Holder's. Where is that same outrage and moral condemnation over Holder's loose lips? It's a rhetorical question, of course.

And as much as we are constantly reminded of the past "mistakes" this country has made, is there nothing worth celebrating, no times when racial harmony brought racial reconciliation? Little of that made it to Holder's speech. Instead, he chose the celebratory occasion to exact punishment by way of guilt.

It makes one wonder, why does every race speech by those on the left have to begin (and end) with repudiation and insult? Why must there be a constant reminder of what went wrong without giving due recognition to what went right?

I will acknowledge that the country can always do better when it comes to race, but as much as Republicans are accused of refusing to admit racism exists, assuredly Democrats exploit it for every inch of territory they can garner. They point fingers, threaten and name-call without offering real solutions or substantive conversation.

One regular reader of The Washington Times, a Democrat, forwarded me a letter he sent to Holder, telling the attorney general how much he "applauds" his remarks but saying he had one request: "I would like to recommend that your office take the lead in ensuring the appointment of at least one African-American on every committee and task force that is created by the President of the United States and current cabinet Secretary's."

How's that for affirmative action on demand? More like affirmative extortion. The writer also stated in closing: "Let us (by "us," he means black folks) take advantage of every opportunity that is before us." I was particularly struck by the words "take advantage." It is a line of thinking and supposed reasoning to justify black Americans getting what's "due."

This was just one person's opinion, but it reflects a sentiment shared by many liberals. It also reveals a get-it-all-while-you-can mentality that has nothing to do with parity, equality or justice but rather with guilt trips, paybacks and quotas. This is not how the "case for race" should be made.

To be fair, there are some points Holder made with which I do agree (at least in part). "We, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race," Holder stated. It is a challenge for each of us, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, to go outside our comfort zone and reach out to someone "different" from ourselves (though I've done it my whole life).

It is an observation that, while true, shouldn't just apply to white people. It applies to black folks, too. Yet that's where the discussion of race loses traction among liberals. Holder doesn't really want to "talk" about race, because that would entail not only encouraging blacks to reach out, but it would mean addressing black racism -- which we've seen in the likes of one Rev. Jeremiah Wright -- in addition to white racism (and all racism).

Yes, we are sometimes too "socially segregated," as Holder put it, but cowards we are not. And mere rhetoric and rancor does nothing to elevate the discussion.

In contrast to Holder's bombastic speech, President Bush's Black History Month speech last year was refreshingly retrospective without being pretentious. While condemning present-day acts of racism (i.e. hanging nooses), Bush also offered a way forward.

"We renew our commitment to securing liberty and justice for every American," Bush said, focusing on the present instead of the past: "We honor four Americans who ... are leading the way toward ending racial injustice across our land."

Rhetoric aside, what was lacking from Holder's remarks was a way forward. Instead of "hope," Holder offered more hate veiled in subtle anger.

Last year, Obama gave a famous speech on race, addressing the controversy about the remarks of his former pastor, Wright, and urging people not to wallow in resentment:

Obama said, "The profound mistake of Rev. Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static, as if no progress had been made, as if this country -- a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black, Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past."

Obama's speech sums it all up. Holder's is a contradiction.


Do you respectable negroes have the courage to show this handkerchief head the exit? Or do you cower and quake with fear at the call of battle?

Per our procedures, I propose that Tara Wall should suffer discommendation from the tribe of respectable negroes for the following offenses:

___ Driving Miss Daisy

X Bagger Vancing

X Clarence Thomas Lap Dogging

___ O.J.'ing

___ Blatant Victimology a.k.a. the Jesse Jackson Offense

X Black Lap Dogging before a Conservative Audience

X Consistent and Chronic Lack of Race Pride

___Cooning and Lawn Jockeying a.k.a the Crime of Committing the Flava Flav

As a senior member of the We Are Respectable Negroes leadership council, I need the agreement of one other founding member, and the votes of 5 other members of the respectable negro tribe (or alternatively, 4 lifetime members and one white honorable ally) to complete the expulsion of Tara Wall. If I have indicated the incorrect offense, or if Tara Wall should suffer discommendation because she has instead violated some other unstated and auxiliary regulation not listed above, please indicate this discrepancy according to our established rules and procedures.

As per our procedures we will notify Tara Wall of her expulsion. In addition, all respectable negro friends and allies should query Tara Wall at CNN's website regarding her lack of race pride and cowardly behavior.

Respectfully submitted,

Chauncey DeVega

Chauncey DeVega says: Monkey-Gate Part 1 or My 2 Cents on the New York Post Chimp Cartoon Fiasco

I have a deep interest in the man-ape dynamic. As longtime readers know, I still hold that I can defeat one of those wild beasts by wielding my belt. I also believe that the man-ape relationship could in fact hold the solution for many of the social problems that continue to plague our society (a monkey Rosetta Stone of sorts). I also have an exhaustive mental Rolodex of man-ape factoids at my disposal. Yes, Gordon will tell me that apes, monkeys, and gorillas are not the same...he simply doesn't understand the wisdom of the simian tripartite. My ape reflections are so nuanced that I am of 3 minds on the controversy surrounding the New York Post and its much discussed Ape Stimulus Bill cartoon. Thus, I bring you part 1 of my thoughts on what I have come to call "Monkey-Gate."

Rupert Murdoch, the owner of the New York Post and Fox News has finally seen the light of day and apologized for the recent cartoon that attempted to satirize Barack Obama's stimulus bill. Ultimately, Murdock wanted controversy and he certainly received it--in spades (you have to love that Oscar Wilde like wordplay).

As I noted in regards to the controversy surrounding the New Yorker magazine and its failed effort at lampooning the Islamophobes and those Right-wing paranoids who were convinced that Michelle Obama was Angela Davis redux and Barack was an Al Qaeda fifth columnist, the best satire both provokes while also speaking to some deeper truth. One that is not readily apparent. Likewise, as I suggested in the New Yorker case, the New York Post cartoon fails the latter test because it is so utterly obvious.

One cannot forget that the New York Post is a tabloid. And by extension, the raison d'etre of the New York Post is to be tacky, heavy handed, and clod-footed. Thus, it is incapable of subtlety by virtue of its very nature and design.

With those qualifiers noted, yes the cartoon is racist. Yes, Murdoch's publication was intentionally linking Barack Obama to a monkey. Yes, this is quite different from those editorial cartoons that parodied George Bush as being chimpanzee like in his countenance. Yes, as researchers at UCLA have demonstrated, the relationship evoked by the New York Post cartoon speaks to a far deeper and more dangerous racial dynamic in this country. And yes, I still believe that folks need thicker skins and that they should reorient their energies towards addressing real matters of public concern.

Consider: the world is on the cusp of a second Great Depression. We have inner city communities that are virtual Hobbesian states of nature. We have failing schools. We have communities that are struggling for their very existence. We have a contracting--if not disappearing middle class. In short, we have real problems, real concerns, and real worries as this generation of Americans, and their children, will likely see a radically diminished quality of life. These are concerns that cut across the colorline. Moreover, and as United States history has repeatedly demonstrated, while white supremacy and racism were a consistent narrative, economic adversity exacerbates, rather than minimizes, racial animus. Alternatively stated, when is the kumbaya, basking in the glow of inter-racial, post-Obama bliss going to turn into a let's throw the bums out--starting with those black bums in the White House and anyone who looks like them--clarion call for a political housecleaning?

And I must ask the provocative question, will this be a general purge or a racially hued Pogrom?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

We Were Robbed!

No comment.

Chauncey DeVega's World of Ghetto Nerds: Ledger Gets His Due and Mickey Rourke Wins Best Actor!

I am writing this before Mickey Rourke accepts (what I hope will be) his Oscar for best actor.

The Wrestler and Dark Knight were my two favorite movies of the year--I have not seen Wall-E but expect it to be my 3rd favorite once my list is complete.

For you Wrestler marks, here is a great roundtable discussion on the film and the accuracy of how it depicted the world and characters that are/is professional wrestling:

Chauncey DeVega's World of Ghetto Nerds: Heath Ledger Must and Should Win the Oscar

We miss you Heath.

I have a bottle of Chimay ale ready for when you win your posthumous Oscar.

You are a gift.

You were a gift.

You will continue to be a gift.

Peace to you, wherever you are and may be.

RIP Heath, I would have loved to have enjoyed a drink with you...the highest honor this simple, working class, respectable negro can give a person.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Why Doth You Complain So Much? Eric Holder's Speech in its Entirety

I am still collecting my thoughts on the controversy surrounding Attorney General Eric Holder's address on race in American life. In my surveys of the varied reactions to his speech, I have been--in much the same way I was in regards to the discord that awaited Reverend Wright's insightful and powerful sermon--struck by how few of the critics (and supporters) seem to have actually read his address.

As a service, I am posting Holder's speech in its entirety. Respectable negroes and others, just what is all the fuss about?

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Attorney General Eric Holder at the Department of Justice African American History Month Program

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Every year, in February, we attempt to recognize and to appreciate black history. It is a worthwhile endeavor for the contributions of African Americans to this great nation are numerous and significant. Even as we fight a war against terrorism, deal with the reality of electing an African American as our President for the first time and deal with the other significant issues of the day, the need to confront our racial past, and our racial present, and to understand the history of African people in this country, endures. One cannot truly understand America without understanding the historical experience of black people in this nation. Simply put, to get to the heart of this country one must examine its racial soul.

Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards. Though race related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race. It is an issue we have never been at ease with and given our nation’s history this is in some ways understandable. And yet, if we are to make progress in this area we must feel comfortable enough with one another, and tolerant enough of each other, to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us. But we must do more- and we in this room bear a special responsibility. Through its work and through its example this Department of Justice, as long as I am here, must - and will - lead the nation to the "new birth of freedom" so long ago promised by our greatest President. This is our duty and our solemn obligation.

We commemorated five years ago, the 50th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. And though the world in which we now live is fundamentally different than that which existed then, this nation has still not come to grips with its racial past nor has it been willing to contemplate, in a truly meaningful way, the diverse future it is fated to have. To our detriment, this is typical of the way in which this nation deals with issues of race. And so I would suggest that we use February of every year to not only commemorate black history but also to foster a period of dialogue among the races. This is admittedly an artificial device to generate discussion that should come more naturally, but our history is such that we must find ways to force ourselves to confront that which we have become expert at avoiding.

As a nation we have done a pretty good job in melding the races in the workplace. We work with one another, lunch together and, when the event is at the workplace during work hours or shortly thereafter, we socialize with one another fairly well, irrespective of race. And yet even this interaction operates within certain limitations. We know, by "American instinct" and by learned behavior, that certain subjects are off limits and that to explore them risks, at best embarrassment, and, at worst, the questioning of one’s character. And outside the workplace the situation is even more bleak in that there is almost no significant interaction between us. On Saturdays and Sundays America in the year 2009 does not, in some ways, differ significantly from the country that existed some fifty years ago. This is truly sad. Given all that we as a nation went through during the civil rights struggle it is hard for me to accept that the result of those efforts was to create an America that is more prosperous, more positively race conscious and yet is voluntarily socially segregated.

As a nation we should use Black History month as a means to deal with this continuing problem. By creating what will admittedly be, at first, artificial opportunities to engage one another we can hasten the day when the dream of individual, character based, acceptance can actually be realized. To respect one another we must have a basic understanding of one another. And so we should use events such as this to not only learn more about the facts of black history but also to learn more about each other. This will be, at first, a process that is both awkward and painful but the rewards are potentially great. The alternative is to allow to continue the polite, restrained mixing that now passes as meaningful interaction but that accomplishes little. Imagine if you will situations where people- regardless of their skin color- could confront racial issues freely and without fear. The potential of this country, that is becoming increasingly diverse, would be greatly enhanced. I fear however, that we are taking steps that, rather than advancing us as a nation are actually dividing us even further. We still speak too much of "them" and not "us". There can, for instance, be very legitimate debate about the question of affirmative action. This debate can, and should, be nuanced, principled and spirited. But the conversation that we now engage in as a nation on this and other racial subjects is too often simplistic and left to those on the extremes who are not hesitant to use these issues to advance nothing more than their own, narrow self interest. Our history has demonstrated that the vast majority of Americans are uncomfortable with, and would like to not have to deal with, racial matters and that is why those, black or white, elected or self-appointed, who promise relief in easy, quick solutions, no matter how divisive, are embraced. We are then free to retreat to our race protected cocoons where much is comfortable and where progress is not really made. If we allow this attitude to persist in the face of the most significant demographic changes that this nation has ever confronted- and remember, there will be no majority race in America in about fifty years- the coming diversity that could be such a powerful, positive force will, instead, become a reason for stagnation and polarization. We cannot allow this to happen and one way to prevent such an unwelcome outcome is to engage one another more routinely- and to do so now.

As I indicated before, the artificial device that is Black History month is a perfect vehicle for the beginnings of such a dialogue. And so I urge all of you to use the opportunity of this month to talk with your friends and co-workers on the other side of the divide about racial matters. In this way we can hasten the day when we truly become one America.

It is also clear that if we are to better understand one another the study of black history is essential because the history of black America and the history of this nation are inextricably tied to each other. It is for this reason that the study of black history is important to everyone- black or white. For example, the history of the United States in the nineteenth century revolves around a resolution of the question of how America was going to deal with its black inhabitants. The great debates of that era and the war that was ultimately fought are all centered around the issue of, initially, slavery and then the reconstruction of the vanquished region. A dominant domestic issue throughout the twentieth century was, again, America's treatment of its black citizens. The civil rights movement of the 1950's and 1960's changed America in truly fundamental ways. Americans of all colors were forced to examine basic beliefs and long held views. Even so, most people, who are not conversant with history, still do not really comprehend the way in which that movement transformed America. In racial terms the country that existed before the civil rights struggle is almost unrecognizable to us today. Separate public facilities, separate entrances, poll taxes, legal discrimination, forced labor, in essence an American apartheid, all were part of an America that the movement destroyed. To attend her state’s taxpayer supported college in 1963 my late sister in law had to be escorted to class by United States Marshals and past the state’s governor, George Wallace. That frightening reality seems almost unthinkable to us now. The civil rights movement made America, if not perfect, better.

In addition, the other major social movements of the latter half of the twentieth century- feminism, the nation's treatment of other minority groups, even the anti-war effort- were all tied in some way to the spirit that was set free by the quest for African American equality. Those other movements may have occurred in the absence of the civil rights struggle but the fight for black equality came first and helped to shape the way in which other groups of people came to think of themselves and to raise their desire for equal treatment. Further, many of the tactics that were used by these other groups were developed in the civil rights movement.

And today the link between the black experience and this country is still evident. While the problems that continue to afflict the black community may be more severe, they are an indication of where the rest of the nation may be if corrective measures are not taken. Our inner cities are still too conversant with crime but the level of fear generated by that crime, now found in once quiet, and now electronically padlocked suburbs is alarming and further demonstrates that our past, present and future are linked. It is not safe for this nation to assume that the unaddressed social problems in the poorest parts of our country can be isolated and will not ultimately affect the larger society.

Black history is extremely important because it is American history. Given this, it is in some ways sad that there is a need for a black history month. Though we are all enlarged by our study and knowledge of the roles played by blacks in American history, and though there is a crying need for all of us to know and acknowledge the contributions of black America, a black history month is a testament to the problem that has afflicted blacks throughout our stay in this country. Black history is given a separate, and clearly not equal, treatment by our society in general and by our educational institutions in particular. As a former American history major I am struck by the fact that such a major part of our national story has been divorced from the whole. In law, culture, science, athletics, industry and other fields, knowledge of the roles played by blacks is critical to an understanding of the American experiment. For too long we have been too willing to segregate the study of black history. There is clearly a need at present for a device that focuses the attention of the country on the study of the history of its black citizens. But we must endeavor to integrate black history into our culture and into our curriculums in ways in which it has never occurred before so that the study of black history, and a recognition of the contributions of black Americans, become commonplace. Until that time, Black History Month must remain an important, vital concept. But we have to recognize that until black history is included in the standard curriculum in our schools and becomes a regular part of all our lives, it will be viewed as a novelty, relatively unimportant and not as weighty as so called "real" American history.

I, like many in my generation, have been fortunate in my life and have had a great number of wonderful opportunities. Some may consider me to be a part of black history. But we do a great disservice to the concept of black history recognition if we fail to understand that any success that I have had, cannot be viewed in isolation. I stood, and stand, on the shoulders of many other black Americans. Admittedly, the identities of some of these people, through the passage of time, have become lost to us- the men, and women, who labored long in fields, who were later legally and systemically discriminated against, who were lynched by the hundreds in the century just past and those others who have been too long denied the fruits of our great American culture. The names of too many of these people, these heroes and heroines, are lost to us. But the names of others of these people should strike a resonant chord in the historical ear of all in our nation: Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Walter White, Langston Hughes, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, Charles Drew, Paul Robeson, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Vivian Malone, Rosa Parks, Marion Anderson, Emmit Till. These are just some of the people who should be generally recognized and are just some of the people to whom all of us, black and white, owe such a debt of gratitude. It is on their broad shoulders that I stand as I hope that others will some day stand on my more narrow ones.

Black history is a subject worthy of study by all our nation's people. Blacks have played a unique, productive role in the development of America. Perhaps the greatest strength of the United States is the diversity of its people and to truly understand this country one must have knowledge of its constituent parts. But an unstudied, not discussed and ultimately misunderstood diversity can become a divisive force. An appreciation of the unique black past, acquired through the study of black history, will help lead to understanding and true compassion in the present, where it is still so sorely needed, and to a future where all of our people are truly valued.

Thank you.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Distorted Reality: Attorney General Holder's Speech Viewed from Within the Right-Wing Echo Chamber

I will have something substantial to say on Holder's speech tomorrow.

For now, I always marvel at the response, quite predictable as it may be, in the comments section of Fox News and other conservative "news" outlets, towards any efforts at having an adult conversation about race or the persistence of racial ideologies in this country.

You have to love conservative mouth breathers as they are a source of never-ending joy and entertainment value. Moreover, it always strikes me how those who have immersed themselves in the cacophonous musings of the Right-wing echo chamber really do in fact live in an alternate reality.

To that point, some choice posts from the comments section of Fox News at


What a surprise, some one in husseins cabinet is talking negatively about the country and our people...this goverment has become a complete joke and is completely out of touch with americans

It's funny how black people always call the race card. Quite frankly, I'm sick of it. We have "black history month", "asian heritage", "gay pride", etc. where's the white pride. Oh I forgot, that's racist. Anyone who thinks that whites are bad and always have to use to race card towards the whites are cowards. I am white and I am proud. Am I racist for that? Well if so, let me ask you a question. Are the other ethnicities racist for thinking the same way? This cowardly way of thinking by Mr. Holder sends a message to all races to be ethnically irresponsible towards the white race. What really pi$$es me off is that other whites think this way. Stand up and be proud of who you are. And yes I will use the same quote all other people do while expressing their undying beliefs, "It's my constitutional right to be allowed to say what I want". I'm standing up for my race and what I believe in....if I don't then noone else will. I am a proud WHITE man.

Oh the irony- Holder calls the US a nation of cowards on the heels of the election to where an African American was elected as president of his "nation of cowards" and then takes it further when he suggest we use "Black History Month" to inspire the discussion. The hypocrisy of it all!

Remember the obese black minister that spoke at the first black presidents inauguration? Remember that he said "White will do right". The overwhelming majority of blacks in this country are the racists and they don't want racism to end. It's how all of you start and end your day. Racism is your issue and you have the solution. Grew a few, step up and show you're willing to be a part of this country. When things get tough don't cry racism everywhere you go.

By the comments it appears AG Holder is right. I've never seen some many victims in all my life. I have many friends from every ethnic background. It's amazing how much you can accomplish by walking up to people and extending a open hand. That approach has worked well in every community I've lived in and I have lived in several states and countries all over the world. Time to end the excuses. Who's racist? If we must proclaim "Black History Month" are not those that do so the racist people? If you want to eliminate racism, eliminate all references to race, but that will include all references. Be careful what you ask for. You might get it. I believe America's black people have been experiencing a greater degree of favoritism in hiring, retaining, recruiting, etc. in the past decade. How about we treat all people the same, and base it on merit, not race.

Black History Month Hijinks: A Pastor Manning Two For One or Barack Obama Needs to Get that Jungle Jive Out of the White House

Lord have mercy. I was in a foul mood today, now I am happy again.

Pastor Manning is now my personal Valium.

Black History Month Hijinks: Is Obama the New Caligula?

Barack Obama and Caligula do in fact resemble one another, no? And if Obama does in fact share some of Caligula's predilections then the White House will certainly be a much more interesting and fun filled place than it has been these last few years.

Interesting, mighty interesting...

Maybe Henry Louis Gates will do a PBS special and trace Obama's family tree back to the great emperors of old?

Random thought: I love how so many of us black folk want to claim a little Native American blood and then find out we ain't got none.

You got's to love these Internets!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Black History Month Hijinks: The "Iniggeration" or Don't Forget that Everyone isn't Happy with Obama's Victory

Daniel Carver of Howard Stern fame is one of my favorite people. His political analysis of Obama's campaign, and his nuanced understanding of America's racial politics is the stuff of legend. In fact, I would suggest that Daniel Carver is such a powerful and insightful voice, that he would be a wonderful addition to Meet the Press or National Public Radio.

To that point, Carver has outdone himself again with the following interview where he discussed Barack Obama's victory and historic event which Carver has rechristened "iniggeration."

Never has venom been so sweet or so funny.

Wake up White people!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Black History Month Hijinks Shall Now Ensue

It is Black History Month. More accurately, it has been Black History Month for some two weeks now and we respectable negroes have been otherwise all know how we can be a little late with things.

Don't fret, we have some fun activities planned for this most auspicious of months. And yes, the above video clips hint in not so subtle fashion at our love hate relationship with Black History Month.

In the upcoming weeks we are going to be holding some contests--contests where we give you folks some pretty good prizes (if I do say so myself) that have been graciously provided by some of our friends in the book publishing industry.

So please stay tuned, we will be back at the same respectable negro time and the same respectable negro station!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Chauncey DeVega says: Sometimes You Can Play a Perfect Game and Still Lose

I have to admit the fact that my spirits are a little low today. I called upon the tribe for some of that Shaka Zulu energy and I still failed despite your assistance. This failing was mine and mine alone, and I was brought closer to my goal because of your help and not despite it. I am indebted to you because of the assistance you have rendered to me.

But, you know what? The creator is a bit of a trickster with a master plan and I know there is something good in store for a brother in the near future. Things may be hard today, but I hope things will be easier tomorrow.

When I am disappointed, I consult my mental Rolodex for life lessons and inspiration.

Frankly, I sold ice to an Eskimo last week and it still wasn't good enough. I know that I am my own worst critic. Yet, I also know that I brought it the way that Ric Flair did during his glory years and I still came up short:

Why? As my dad would say, "there was someone better." Sometimes you just have to own that fact.

Alternatively stated, you can play a perfect game and still lose. I think that is how I will frame last week's happenings. It has to be said--damn the academic job market this year! Okay, I feel a little better now.

By example, for my wrestling fans and others, a life lesson from Wrestlemania 23: Sean Michaels wrestled a perfect match against John Cena. The Heartbreak Kid still lost the bout. It happens. The lesson Sean was sharing in that match was how one should graciously accept such a loss. We can all benefit from his example:

Part 1--

Part 2--

Part 3--

Part 4--

Chauncey DeVega's World of Ghetto Nerds: Geek Trifecta--Inglourious Basterds; Wolverine; and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

I feel a certain tingling in my nether regions. It must a geekgasm!


Awesome. But, they couldn't find room for the obligatory black actor a la the Dirty Dozen or the Guns of Navarone?

How many characters from Marvel canon do we see in the trailer?

The "fallen" transformer looks cool, but I am much more amped to see Devastator in action, you?


A Ghetto Nerd Bonus: Quentin Tarantino knows his movies, here is a clip from the "original" Inglorious Bastards, the Italian exploitation flick known as Quel maledetto treno blindato:

Gordon Gartrelle Digests the Chitlins and Gefilte Fish

Even though it didn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked and turnout wasn’t what I expected, I got a lot out of this dialogue, and I know that others did too.

Hopefully, we will be hosting a C&G installment once every few months, so be on the lookout for more intrepid tales of Black-Jewish adventures.

I want to thank all the participants and everyone else who talked to me about this project. I know firsthand how difficult it is to write on this subject.

I’ll leave you with this classic Eddie Murphy SNL skit, which is how I first learned about Black-Jewish tensions and which still holds up 25 years later:

Gordon Gartrelle finishes off this batch of Chitlins and Gefilte Fish: "We need to be more like the Jews..."

A few months ago, T.R.O.Y.’s RHS penned an extraordinary piece on the Juggaknots song “Generally,” a song he describes as “a dissection of the racial subtext of The Dukes Of Hazzard television show.” As thorough as his analysis is, RHS doesn’t mention what I think is the song’s defining line:

“sure was a brainwashed kid but never had a fad with rockin’ a swastika.”

It comes as rapper Breeze reflects on the fact that, through The Dukes of Hazzard, the Confederate flag became a symbol stripped of its history and mass marketed to an eager public—a feat Breeze deems unimaginable for the ultimate symbol of modern anti-Semitism. Initially, I read the aforementioned line as a simple condemnation of mainstream America’s callousness toward blacks: “white people don’t respect us because they don’t value black lives.” I now see Breeze’s line as a critique of black offense politics, especially as measured against Jewish offense politics. To me, the topic underlying this line—black self-conceptions vis-à-vis the perception of Jews—is even more interesting than personal interactions between Blacks and Jews, positive or negative.

Old school African American race men and women often say that black folks should model their behaviors after those of a host of ethnic groups: Koreans, Arabs, Mexicans, Jamaicans—basically, any group but our own (for a variety of reasons, previous generations of black people are like a foreign ethnic group to modern black folks).

Black people regularly praise other ethnic groups’ success, work ethic, commitment to education, cohesiveness, and self-sufficiency. What all of this says about our estimation of ourselves is a topic for another day (no, really. Chauncey will be tackling this subject soon).

In any case, black folks’ “model minority” envy extends to Jews as well, of course, but Jews represent something else in the black imagination, namely, the idealized vision of what right wingers call “grievance politics” and “PC identity politics.” At the heart of this idealization is the practice of defending the collective public image from a constant stream of attacks. While “Generally” never explicitly mentions Jewish activism, Breeze could very well have added to his lyrics the following appeal to his black brethren:

“White folks continue to disrespect us and ignore our indignant cries of offense because we don’t stand up for ourselves. We need to be more like the Jews. Jews would never allow mainstream America to get away with such levels of disrespect.”

Jewish elites stick to the public script (on the Holocaust, Israel, anti-Semitism), and they devote waves of resources to shaming and punishing those who depart from it. Jewish people who critique this process have their authenticity questioned and are labeled “self-hating Jews.” We should be that disciplined. We must stigmatize offenses against black dignity and history to the extent that Jews have stigmatized offenses against Jewish people…or so the story is told by black race men and women.

Black folks are certainly aware that we have our own rigid public speech norms (on the middle passage, American bondage, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement) and our own authenticity- questioning slur (Uncle Tom). We just think that our forms of speech policing are nowhere near as effective or serious as Jewish people’s. Ask a politically-inclined black person to name the third rail of public discourse. Anti-Semitism will likely be the response. Incidentally, if you were to ask the same question to a politically-inclined Jewish person, the answer you’d get would probably be anti-black racism.

Triangulation is central to the internal and external politics of blacks and Jews. This triangulation—this psychic bond of mutual (mis)perception, this constant measuring against the other, this notion that the sympathy grass is greener on the other side—forms the core of our “special relationship” and is a big reason why calls for more Black-Jewish dialogues won’t subside any time soon.