Friday, October 16, 2009

From the Mouths of Babes: A Child Asks, "Why do They Hate You Barack Obama?" or The Burden of Blackness Given to Our Children at All Too Young an Age

Another reason that I respect Barack Obama. I thought that Barack Obama's answer to this child's question was delicate, priceless, naked, and honest. Of course, naysayers and others across the partisan divide will cry "plant" or insert some other explanation. From the right-wing Populist and Palin wing of the GOP this child's question is one more data point, and by implication further proof of the indoctrination of our school children by "The Great Father" Obama as he maliciously crafts a photo op for his legions of adoring fans.

Given that I am a realist, this clip brought a little sadness to my eye. For me, the question offered by this child is the burden of race made real. It is not simply the curiosity of youth, but an understanding, even if you don't have the words to describe it, that something is amiss in how so many white Americans hold a deep, existential hatred towards Barack Obama--a hatred that goes beyond policy or politics. Quite frankly, the idea of a Black man as President frightens some to the deepest core of their being because to them the very fact of his existence constitutes a self-evident fact, one that Prima facie, is not quite right.

The young brother in this video already senses this reality, even if he does not yet have the words to describe it. He knows that he is alien to the body politic. To paraphrase Baldwin and Ellison, this young child is American while not quite being fully American...and this black journeyman senses this fact as he sees how his hero, the president of the United States of America is treated so badly--an understatement of sorts, as Obama is actually painted as a traitor against the common good--by his foes.

Sadly, it seems that our young friend has already discovered his blues sensibility. As brother Cornel West said, even at three years old black children ask, "Why am I hated so, mommy?"

Too bad, that as a matter of physical and psychic survival so many of us have to learn the answer to the above question as a rite of passage. So long for blissful childhood innocence--at least to the degree that we black and brown folks were every really allowed to indulge in it. Welcome one step closer to adulthood my young friend.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Brother X-Squared Speaks: On Barack Obama's Nobel Prize, Rush Limbaugh and the NFL, and "Black" Barbie

In keeping with our tradition of the We Are Respectable Negroes News Network's (WARNNN) bringing you exclusive news exposes such as our interview with Pat Buchanan, we bring you the third installment in our ongoing series of interviews with Brother X-Squared, president of the North American Chapter of the Renewed Black Panther Party. In this newest interview we explore Brother X-Squared's feelings on a range of topics including Barack Obama's Nobel Prize win, the health care debate, the economy, and current developments in popular culture.

WARNNN: How are you doing today Brother X-Squared.

Brother X-Squared: I am a steady ship, right as rain, and a rock in a time of turbulence and trouble.

WARNNN: So you are happy today Brother X-Squared?

Brother X-Squared: I am as happy as a Portuguese slaver off of the Guinea coast in the 1700s with a full load of human black gold.

WARNNN: You have a way with words that we certainly appreciate Brother X-Squared...we are truly blessed that you are a regular on our news network. Let's cut to the chase. The world was mesmerized and amazed that President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Prize on Friday of last week. What is your reaction to his win? Are you proud of his accomplishment? Will Obama's win help or hurt him with his opposition in the Republican party and among the Right-wing tea baggers?

Brother X-Squared: You have a dirty mouth brother Chauncey. I warned you last time about referencing that filthy degenerate sex act...that tea-bagging...what those white sex freaks, new age, klansmen use to describe themselves.

WARNNN: So sorry.

Brother X-Squared: Apology excepted. Remember, forgiveness is a virtue that the most High reserved for the most righteous black man. So, I am laughing like a black hyena at Barack Obama and his winning that wicked, evil, Nobel prize! That halfrican is the white man's dog again. The white man made him and now he will break him! You see, the white man's tricknology is so deep. As I have warned you many times before, the white man is a devious trickster who hides his wickedness in plain sight.

Why did they give Obama that prize? They gave it for their expectations for the future! Don't you see! They own him. He is betrothed to the white man! Those devils now control his destiny. That Nobel Prize is a slave collar, a bit in Obama's mouth, a whip for the white power structure to control him and to assess him. That poor mud baby Barack Obama is getting it on both ends from those racist liberals who control him by saying they are disappointed in him and then by holding his light tan butt to the proverbial fire. He gets it from the other end--again, another unnatural sex act spread across the world by the evil European--by those bigoted Republicans who say he is a socialist or some other nonsense.

Wake up sleeping captive Africans in America, the truth is right in front of you. Obama is weak, he is a pawn, and a slave for the White man. Do you know who Nobel was, the namesake for which the prize is named?

WARNNN: I know that he was a rich industrialist, who felt great guilt over earning his money through the manufacture of weapons of war. Beyond that, I know very little. Please enlighten me Brother X-Squared.

Brother X-Squared: You are a master of language brother Chauncey. I am indeed a source of light for you captive negro troglodytes living in the cave of white supremacy. Alfred Nobel was a bigoted white man--like all of them a devil, except for Jon Brown, Harry Connick Jr., and Tom Jones--who invented dynamite! Do you understand this evil. That wicked white man, just like the foul scientist Yakub who invented that mutant species of white cave dwellers--what we now call the caucasian--eons ago brought foulness into the universe. Do you know what else is funny?

WARNNN: What? Please share?

Brother X-Squared: Those white devils hate Obama and are saying that the Nobel Prize symbolizes that he is the anti-Christ. What a laugh. This is classic misdirection. The white man is the only Devil, yet he paints Obama, their boy, as the real Devil. So devious they are. Plus, to make it seem real, they use slave catchers like that GOP coon Michael Steele to attack Obama. Again a joke. Notice the name! Steele is equal to steel. But that slave catcher is weak: this reversal of meaning is a subliminal assault on your mindstate. The white man tricks you into making the strong now seem weak. Steel also sounds like "steal." Stealing is what the white man and his agents do by nature. Open your eyes Black man. We need to "steel" ourselves against Steele and other slave catcher's assaults on us.

WARNNN: How is dynamite evil? Please explain to our readers?

Brother X-Squared: Come now brother Chauncey, don't ever underestimate my mental mindstates because assumptions lead to your ultimate destruction. Nevertheless, I will take your bait. Dynamite allowed the white man to destroy the third world. He used those explosives to destroy our people. Dynamite is an implement of rape! Yes, rape and rapine behavior! Dynamite let the white devils rape mother Earth and take out the gold from Africa. Dynamite let the white man get riches that he used to buy our people and rape our women. Now, the heirs of that white supremacist wickedness, in fact every white person on Earth, are giving out awards for peace! Give me a break. I am not that stupid. The prize is illegitimate. The prize is covered in blood. Now, those war mongers are going to give that prize to poor Obama. He is guilty by association. And Obama is also a hypocrite for accepting the Nobel Prize. Moreover, why would a truly sanctified Black man ever take an award for peace from the white man? The white man has waged war on the world. True Black men are men of war, courage, and resistance. We will never--unlike many of these brainwashed negroes in America--take the white man's hand in friendship.

WARNNN: Damn, that was sharp Brother X-Squared, very incisive. But, how is Obama a hypocrite? Are you alluding to his war in Afghanistan and Iraq?

Brother X-Squared: Now you are getting me Chauncey. He is sending soldiers all over the world to fight for America's wickedness. The Trilateral Commission, the IMF, all those wicked white people are using him, and he smiles. Obama is an attorney. He is socialized into the white man's laws and evil: he knows what is going on as he lays up in that foul White House. How deep is that? A supposedly black man living in the White House, a building constructed by captive black labor, as he does the white man's bidding. That is so sick as to be inexplicable. Ain't no Iraqi or Afghan ever called me nigger, so I don't have a quarrel with them. Ultimately, Obama is sending young black and brown people to kill other black and brown people to do the white man's bidding. Sad, sick, disgusting, and more proof of Obama's weakness.

WARNNN: I referenced the Tea Party movement a few moments ago. What are your thoughts about the anti-health care movement, and their hatred of Barack Obama?

Brother X-Squared: Does a lion care about the age of the antelopes that he kills on the Serengeti after he has mated with dozens of lionesses during a hot summer's day?

WARNNN: I would imagine that he does not.

Brother X-Squared: That brave Nubian lion doesn't give a damn and doesn't care: that is exactly how I feel about that issue. Those tea party, Glenn Beck bigots and Oxycontin Rush Limbaugh hill billy supporters are the 21st century version of the John Birch society. Their grandparents were lynching black people. They are human debris. The joke is that they call Obama a "Black man" and complain about that "Black man" indoctrinating their kids in school. They would not know what to do if an original African Black man like me were president. Those devils would quite literally die! Obama has a millionth of my negritude. Actually, let me correct myself, Obama has none of my negritude because his mulatto genes, his white momma, cancels out his blackness. A joke, they go into histrionics over Obama trying to give those fools a few extra visits to the doctor.

WARNNN: Let me push back. Given the state of health care in this country poor folk, poor black and brown folk especially, would benefit the most from health care reform. How can you not support it?

Brother X-Squared: Every politician and media person in the health care debate is in bed with those rich corporations. Corporations don't see people. They see money: its color is green. Thus, so much of this debate is a smoke screen. Darwin, a smart White man--although still a devil--was right. It was survival of the fittest. I eat only fresh food...nothing cooked. I use black soap and Shea butter. I only drink seltzer water. I eat ginger root and ginseng. I have never been sick. Those fool negroes who are getting sick from the white man's food...especially his pig, deserve what they get--death. And those old white people at those town hall meetings who are on the government tit and getting welfare--what White folk conveniently don't call Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid--should die. They were standing in the school house door cursing beautiful Black children during the 1950s and 1960s. Those other Klansmen in suits at those tea bagger marches can just die too. As an Afro-Asiatic Black man I am protected from skin cancer and the other diseases the white man has brought to the Earth. Let them die. All of them. The Black man will (re)inherit the Earth once more.

WARNNN: What are your thoughts on the economy? Will we turn a corner? We have spent 800 billion dollars and nothing has seemingly changed?

Brother X-Squared: The chickens are coming home to roost! Oh yes! Oh yes! Oh yes! The white man built a house of cards on the exploitation of Black people. Slavery gave the white man a comparative economic advantage that he exploited to build an empire of evil. Now, that dirty money economy, an economy built on an illusion, a set of fetishes, exchange value, and lies, is coming to a head. So glorious. Consider brother Chauncey, the dollar is going to be replaced as the reserve currency for oil transactions. This is powerful. The white media isn't reporting this story enough. America is done! Dead! Gone! Those fool white people simply are too dumb and inbred and lazy to understand that is the nail in the coffin of American empire. The brown people of the world have said, "no more!" What whitey calls the 3rd and 2nd world is rising up. This is so deep. Our Afrocentric principles have triumphed. Gold was the basis of the African kingdoms of great such Kusch and Benin. Gold is tangible a real thing. Now, yes, finally, we are going to stand tall again. The white man will have to get on his knees and go back to Africa to beg for our resources. As Black Jesus said, "the meek shall inherit the Earth."

WARNNN: Let's change gears for a moment. What are your thoughts on Rush Limbaugh's efforts to buy the NFL team, the Rams?

Brother X-Squared: I applaud it. He is a bigot. He is a man, that fat, bloviating sack of human feces, who likely has a dead body hidden on his property, upon which he does drugs and molests children, that hates Black people. Professional sports is run by racists who pay a bunch of man-children black athletes millions of dollars to run around like baby monkeys. Most of those coaches in the NFL are Republican bigots anyway. Limbaugh can wear his white robes to the games to remind those humanzees--those human monkeys who lay with white women whenever they can--that they are nothing more than million dollar slaves. Who knows? Maybe those coons wearing the white man's nigger cotton--what you all call jerseys and uniforms--will stand up and say "No!" Unlikely, they will probably play along just like that ESPN commentator Stephen Smith said they would. Speaking of sports, did you see Mike Tyson on Oprah?

WARNNN: I did not. I am still waiting to see the new Tyson documentary. Zora, has it on Netflix, but hasn't received it yet.

Brother X-Squared: Brother Chauncey, I have been working with you now for months and you still are not saved. Again, you go to the white man when you could go to the Black African on the corner and get your DVD. So sad. The interview was pathetic. Tyson, that once great warrior God was reduced to tears by that mammy. Oprah is indeed the White man's whore in Babylon. She made that great man, just like an elephant in India stuck in a sinkhole, a pathetic beast. She killed him with a death of a thousand cuts. The white man brought down Tyson, and Oprah...who could have rehabilitated his public image...finally destroyed him. It was thoroughly disheartening. It was not surprising however, as it was one more example of how the white man wages perpetual mental warfare on the Black man's mindstate.

WARNNN: As per our tradition, please tell our readers something they don't know?

Brother X-Squared: That is an easy task given how weak the typical "respectable" negro is...still in the chains of White mental slavery! Black Barbie.

WARNNN: Excuse me? The new doll?

Brother X-Squared: Yes. Have you seen that little slut? A light complected, race mixed "toy" that is dressed like a "hip hop" artist. Sick. The white man's subliminal assault on us continues. Toys are the first agents of political socialization. That foul representation of black womanhood is teaching our young beautiful black queens that light is right. It is teaching young girls to be sluts. Her hair is piss colored! It is blond! What black women are born with blond hair? None of them...unless their momma or daddy laid with a dirty European. Our children in Obama's America are being taught that they are less than, that they are inferior little slaves. Factually, Chauncey did you know that little white girls were often given little black slave children as human dolls during slavery? Living dolls?

WARNNN: Yes, I am aware of that despicable history.

Brother X-Squared: Now, corporate America gives our little girls representations of that evil. Tricknology is omnipresent again. "black" Barbie comes with a key! A key of all things! Do you negroes know what a key does? It opens locked doors. It makes visible the hidden. It opens you to something new. That foul Barbie's key represents the white man's key to the Black man's mental mindstate! Yes, oh yes! That piss colored, Barbie slut doll is a symbol of how the black man has been socialized to hate black women and to see white women as his validation.

WARNNN: Always a pleasure Brother X-Squared. Always. We look forward to talking again.

Brother X-Squared: I am always on the j-o-b. Yes, I will be ready. It was a pleasure.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chauncey DeVega's World of Ghetto Nerds: Let's Go Behind the Scenes with Arnold's 1980's Classic, Commando

Why so serious?

Behold the curse that is the triumph of digital over analog. I don't miss my VCR. But, I do miss the fact that the director's cuts, extra features, and special attractions on that wonderful analog format felt opposed to the dime a dozen refuse that we are subject to all too often at present.

With DVD's we witness footage that should never have seen the light of day--but these materials make wonderful stuff for late night drinking, faux mystery science theater goof-off sessions. Most importantly, bloated DVD's make this ghetto nerd smile.

I am still looking for an online compilation of the special features from Black Knight, thus, Commando will have to make do in the meantime. Plus, you get to see Rae Dawn Chong in her we even need another excuse to bring this goodness to you, my fellow ghetto nerds, as well as respectable negroes?

Random question number 1: Who was hotter and a more recurring feature in the humpin' the bed a la Ghostface style, masturbatory fantasy rotation? Rae Dawn Chong or Heather Hunter?

Random question number 2: Am I the only one who slowed down the movie during the hotel fight scene to get a little extra peek at the full frontal nudity--aka female glory--of that scene? Any other Commando onanists in the audience?

Part 1 of the Commando featurette:

Part 2 of the Commando featurette:

Part 3 of the Commando featurette:

Friday, October 9, 2009

Conservatives are pillars of consistency

Red State’s Erick Erickson in response to Chicago losing their 2016 Olympic bid one week ago:

Friday, October 2nd at 11:29AM EDT


I thought the world would love us more now that Bush was gone.

I thought if we whored ourselves out to our enemies, great things would happen.

Apparently not.

So Obama’s pimped us to every two bit thug and dictator in the world, made promises to half the Olympic committee, and they did not even kiss him.

So much for improving America’s standing in the world, Barry O.

Got it. President Barack Hussein Obama is so narcissistic, he thought that he could sway the Olympic Committee (and by extension, the world) by repudiating Bush’s approach to foreign policy and bad mouthing America on an international stage and appeasing this country’s enemies. And the world rejected him anyway. What a loser.


Red State’s Erick Erickson in response to Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize today:

Friday, October 9th at 8:22AM EDT

I did not realize the Nobel Peace Prize had an affirmative action quota for it, but that is the only thing I can think of for this news. There is no way Barack Obama earned it in the nominations period.

Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize.

The deadline for nominations was two weeks after he was sworn in as President.

So in less than two weeks of entering office, Obama did something to qualify. What was it? Not closing Gitmo? Continuing the Bush administration’s policies in the War on Terror but no longer using the name? Or pronouncing a policy of abject American capitulation to our enemies?

The Peace Prize reaffirms it s a joke. But now a sad joke.

Wait a minute—ignore the affirmative action stuff for a minute—now Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize (from “the world”) because he is appeasing our enemies and because he is different from Bush (but only in name and color)? I thought the world rejected him?

And which one is it? Is Obama continuing Bush’s policies, or declaring a “policy of abject American capitulation?” I’m pretty sure that Bush was considered a steadfast, unabashed defender of American interests, values, and dominance.

My head hurts. I guess I’m just not smart enough to understand conservatives’ complex thought processes.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Congratulations Michelle Obama, You Have a White Rapist in the Family! or In First Lady’s Roots, a Complex Path From Slavery

We are all one people now. Did you know that black Americans have white ancestors? And shockingly, that white folks may have some chocolate in their cream? Although I enjoyed the NewYork Times piece on Michelle Obama for what it was: another contribution to the Roots 2.0, Henry Louis Gates Jr. enterprise of personal (re)discovery through genealogy, I generally respond to these types of stories with no small amount of consternation and head shaking.

To be blunt, what is the big deal? Yes, I understand the political moment and a need to re-inscribe our American narrative of racial togetherness as the Obama wave (now greatly diminished) settles across the land, but the fact of these stories--more specifically, the fact that black folk were forced to co-mingle with White people--holds no great appeal for me.

One, these stories are anti-climactic. Two, stories such as these are often uninteresting because they follow a standard narrative (black person or white person sends in DNA to a biomedical company or goes to a local historical society and finds out they have some "surprises" in the family tree). Three, the politics at work in the black and white folk discovering a common ancestor during slavery are unsettling because they quite literally apply a white wash to American history.

Consider Michelle Obama's genealogy. Her ancestor, Melvinia, was taken away from her family and bequeathed as a piece of property to the relatives of her original "owner." There she was "impregnated" and a family lineage began--a tale of strength and dignity that is far more compelling than the emphasis on the white slave owner at the beginning of the story. Not surprisingly, the foul treatment of this young child is glossed over by the Times' essay, because ultimately, Melvinia's life circumstances are taken for granted as being horrible. Thus, no real exposition or detail is apparently needed. The reasoning is as follows: "we" know slavery was cruel, violent, and denigrating to black personhood, so why focus on the specific details? Moreover, to highlight the barbarism of black enslavement at the hands of White Americans would take away from an otherwise compelling human interest story, a tale of race and reunion and the beating heart of the Times's essay.

For example, here is an original passage from "In First Lady's Roots a Complex Path from Slavery":

WASHINGTON — In 1850, the elderly master of a South Carolina estate took pen in hand and painstakingly divided up his possessions. Among the spinning wheels, scythes, tablecloths and cattle that he bequeathed to his far-flung heirs was a 6-year-old slave girl valued soon afterward at $475. In his will, she is described simply as the “negro girl Melvinia.” After his death, she was torn away from the people and places she knew and shipped to Georgia. While she was still a teenager, a white man would father her first-born son under circumstances lost in the passage of time...When her owner, David Patterson, died in 1852, Melvinia soon found herself on a 200-acre farm with new masters, Mr. Patterson’s daughter and son-in law, Christianne and Henry Shields. It was a strange and unfamiliar world...It is difficult to say who might have impregnated Melvinia, who gave birth to Dolphus around 1859, when she was perhaps as young as 15. At the time, Henry Shields was in his late 40s and had four sons ages 19 to 24, but other men may have spent time on the farm.

The story is a little bland for my taste. It lacks descriptive, evocative details. Now, let's correct that a bit.

In 1850, the elderly master of a South Carolina estate took pen in hand and painstakingly divided up his possessions. He saw nothing odd about including a human being among his property as this was the custom in a country where black people were counted as valuable commodities to be used, disposed of, and profited from as White people saw fit. Among the spinning wheels, scythes, tablecloths and cattle that he bequeathed to his far-flung heirs was a 6-year-old slave girl valued soon afterward at $475. In his will, treated as a piece of livestock and necessary equipment for the running of a plantation estate, this innocent child, described simply as the “negro girl Melvinia” was torn away from the people and places she knew and was shipped to Georgia.

Melvinia was transported to what was from her perspective a far away land. Moreover, she was ripped away from any sense of stability and relative freedom or security she had once known. This trip would have been terrifying under the best circumstances for any child. One can only imagine how frightening it must have been for a child in a country where her security and safety was often dependent upon the whims of people who saw her as less than human.

Years later, while Melvinia was still a teenager, a white man would father her first-born son. It is difficult to say who might have impregnated Melvinia. She gave birth to Dolphus around 1859, when perhaps as young as 15. At the time, Henry Shields was in his late 40s and had four sons ages 19 to 24, but other men may have spent time on the farm. Because white men had de facto access to the bodies of black women (ironic, given that during slavery and Jim Crow white women of means had their bodies policed as the private property of their white husbands, while black women's bodies were treated as the communal right of white men), it is hard to determine which of the men in the household (or among its visitors) parented Dolphus. Rape was extremely common and the violence visited upon young Melvinia could likely have been a daily occurrence at the hands of one, two, or many other white men on the plantation. Tragically, Melvinia would have had little recourse for her own protection.

The story reads a little bit different, does it not? When one highlights the brutal rape and exploitation of a child, the warm sentiments turn a little bit more sour, no? I must wonder, what would the public's reaction to these Roots 2.0 stories be if a little more truth and detail were included on the printed page?

My godmother, a very fair skinned black woman who could have easily passed for white summed up my sentiments quite well. She never understood why some black people wanted to pass. Pragmatically, her life would have been much easier if she had chosen this path. But on an existential, moral, and ethical level my godmother could not comprehend why one would turn their back on their own people to join a group (Whites in mass) who held black people in such utter low regard. As she would often say about those nominally black folks who wanted to qualify their ancestry as "mixed," were proud to be "high yellow," or "for having white relatives," why would a black person want to celebrate having the blood of a slave-holding rapist in their veins?

I know that sounds harsh. Nevertheless, is it not an accurate description of what lies at the heart of so much black and brown folks fetishizing of their white ancestry? What is there to celebrate or be proud of because a slave owner (or his family and/or friends) took their pleasure with one of your/our/mine ancestors? Certainly, some historians and others will appeal to the "complexity" of relationships between slaves and white slave owners. Perhaps, these same historians and others will make a heartfelt plea that there was some "love" between those many often nameless Melvinias and their white rapists. This is nonsense on two accounts. First, how can two people have true love for one another when one person has total power over the other? Second, how can there be true love when one agent has neither the reasonable nor realistic power to say no?

The rest of the NY Times piece can be found here, as well as responses to the piece from a range of scholars.

Per tradition, some questions.

1. Again, help me understand. Why do some black people feel compelled to reach out to the white descendants of the people who owned, exploited, and violated their kin? What is the appeal here? Now, if there were reparations involved or a claim to a just piece of an estate I would most certainly understand the motivation. Am I the only one who shakes his head at these black folks trying to claim some lineage to famous White families such as the Jeffersons of Monticello, when you have been summarily disavowed?

2. In fairness, what of these white folk who reach out to the descendants of the black people their people owned? Honestly, if I were a member of one of these white families I would quite frankly be ashamed. For example, did anyone else see this story about Senator Tony Rand and his reunion with his black "relatives?" Apparently, the Rands all get together and extol the greatness of their "family." I wonder what would happen if some of the black Rands did some research and asked the white Rands for a piece of the family estate with interest? Hmmm...I am sure that hilarity would immediately ensue.

3. Did anyone else smile when reading about how Dolphus and Melvinia maintained their dignity, strength, and pride as they built a family? Or how Dolphus became a respected member of the community? Or how men like him and his heirs, living symbols of those many thousands of men and women who struggled with quiet dignity as Pullman car porters, maids, nurses, and laborers, struggled for their full citizenship?

4. Did anyone else feel a bit of sadness seeing how the accomplishments of other men in that family were minimized and made more difficult because they had the misfortune of growing up in a profoundly racist society?

5. I wonder if any self-identified mulattoes, mixed-race negroes, "biracials," or Canablasians read stories such as these and see the tragedy of their own hypervaluation of whiteness?

6. If history is a process, a living narrative that is being written and (re)written to serve the political needs of the present, how will the story that is black slavery and the freedom struggle be conveyed in some 50, 100, or 200 years? How whitewashed will it become? What sort of history does a now and future post-racial America demand for its national mythology?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

More Questions About Race and Media Coverage: Mitrice Richardson’s Disappearance

A few weeks ago, I asked a few short questions about race and the national media coverage of the disappearance (and subsequent death) of Yale Ph.D. student Annie Le.

Around the same time, Mitrice Richardson, another missing woman of color, received a little bit of national coverage. This was surprising, given that missing black women pretty much never become national news stories. Of course, this coverage lasted a week at the most, and was nowhere near as widespread as that of Le.

As I said in talking the Le post, normally, for a missing adult to become a national story, that adult must be:

a. White
b. Female
c. Thin and relatively attractive.
d. Upper class (by virtue of income or education)

Collectively, these characteristics serve as shorthand for “sympathetic victim.” Mainstream media folks apparently believe that the audience will identify with attractive, upper class white women—“ all-American girls” in our country’s newspeak.

While neither Le nor Richardson are/were white, they are/were both attractive young women. I haven’t read enough about Richardson’s family to speak with certainty, but the tenor of the coverage suggests that Richardson comes from a middle class background. For instance, Richardson graduated with a B.A. from Cal State Fullerton—not exactly Yale, but college nonetheless.

Complicating the coverage of Richardson’s disappearance are her documented trangressions the night she went missing. The reportedly intoxicated Richardson was arrested and booked for not paying for her meal at a restaurant and for possession of marijuana.

Because mainstream media tend to depict people in crime-related stories simplistically, either as innocent victims or as criminals, Richardson’s case poses a problem. One can imagine a news editor downplaying Richardson’s “relateability” by assuming that her crimes suggest that she had some shady associations or a less-than-stellar character.

The implication is that, if you aren’t white, you’d better be squeaky clean or else you can’t be an everywoman/all-American girl. This goes back to Rule 1 of judging black screwups: “A black person who screws up is attacked more severely than is a white person who screws up.”

For the sake of comparison, consider Natalee Holloway, the white Alabama girl who went missing in Aruba several years ago and whose case is still getting national coverage. According to even her classmates, she engaged in extremely risky behavior—excessive drinking and sleeping around—but none of that diminished her luster as a victim.

Richardson’s family is acutely aware of the double standard, and has made a concerted effort, it seems, to render their daughter in aspirational middle class tones. They made it a point to emphasize her college degree. They also noted that Richardson worked as an executive assistant, but was considering pursuing a doctoral program in psychology.

Moreover, the Richardson family has tried to minimize her responsibility for her crimes. Richardson’s parents insist that a friend introduced her to marijuana (as if a 24 year old isn’t responsible for her own decision whether to do drugs). They also seem to be suggesting that not only was Mitrice intoxicated, she was mentally unstable.

Some additional questions (playing off the the questions I raised over the Le coverage):

1.) Is there a self-consciousness on the part of media outlets about the racial aspects of their formula to determine which missing women deserve national media coverage? Not that they care about missing women of color (or missing white women, for that matter), but are Richardson or Le simply token non-white covers?

2a.) Did the fact that the police have been held partially responsible for Richardson’s disappearance make her case more or less likely to be covered?

2b.) Had Richardson not broken the law, would the national coverage of her disappearance have more legs?

3.) Is the class dimension in Richardson’s case as prominent as those in Le’s? Remember, Le’s status as an Ivy League grad student were front and center, and were tied to her class-related social value. On the other hand, the class dimensions of Richardson is more complicated, as the media has countered her education and career with her crimes and signifiers (like tattoos) of her relative lack of class-related social value.

What other questions about media coverage have been raised by Richardson’s case (especially as compared to Le’s)?

I Honor Your Service: Hamden Man Dies in Afghanistan Attack

Veterans of Vietnam often talk about that moment when they heard of a friend from their high school or town being killed in action. This was the moment that the war touched home and ceased to be an abstraction. Draft numbers got lower, and more folks got sent. It was getting personal...maybe not so much at first because an acquaintance killed in country was not the same as a dear friend. But, over time, days, months, and years, those vague faces became faces more dear. There is a statistic that is often cited by policy makers, military experts, and the like that once you know someone from your high school class who was killed in a war, then the war becomes personal...and it is a sign that it is escalating. For us, Afghanistan is going to be our long war. And we must not forget that Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires. The question then becomes, will it be one name listed on the epitaph of American empire, or will it be one more country listed--like Western Europe in the dark days following World War 2--as part of our honor roll of success and greatness. Only time will tell.

Captain Sklaver is the first person from my high school that I am aware of (and who I remember) to be killed in Afghanistan or Iraq.

I wish peace for him and his family. Strength and honor Captain Sklaver. Your service and volunteer work was and is respectable negro behavior.

Hamden Man Dies in Afghanistan Attack

Hamden (WTNH) - Funeral services will be held Tuesday for a Hamden army captain who was killed by a suicide attacker in Afghanistan. Gov. Jodi Rell has ordered flags at half staff in his honor.

Army Capt. Benjamin Sklaver was killed on Friday, the governor said in a statement.

"He was a hero, in my eyes. He defended his country. I'm at a loss for words," said Carl Saraceni of Hamden.

Sklaver, 32, was on patrol in Muscheh, Afghanistan, when his unit was ambushed by a suicide attacker.

Sklaver was a graduate of Hamden high School and went to Tufts University. He was part of the Army's 422nd Civil Affairs Battalion, which concentrates on building infrastructure.

During his first tour of duty in Uganda his mission was bringing clean water to villages. When that tour ended, he still worked on that goal. He set up a charity -- Clearwater Initiative -- that works to bring drinking water to people in Africa.

It was yet another reason for pride from his friends and family.

"They were very proud of him. He was an all American boy who evolved into a humanitarian in his early adulthood," said Tom Koppel.

Members of Hamden's American Legion Post were saddened to learn the news. They pledged their complete support to the Sklaver family and plan to place flowers at the City's Veteran's Memorial today.

"On behalf of our state, I extend our deepest sympathies to his family at this most difficult time," Gov. Rell said Sunday. "And I ask everyone in Connecticut to keep all our soldiers, sailors and airmen, who are far from home, in our thoughts each and every day."

Capt. Sklaver was due to be married in June.

Funeral services for Capt. Sklaver will be Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m. at Congregation Mishkan Israel at 786 Ridge Road in Hamden. He will be laid to rest at Farband Cemetery on Route 109 in the Town of Morris.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Boo Hoo Bill O'Reilly Plays the Victim (Again) or Sam Tanenhaus Discusses the Death of Conservativism with Bill O'Reilly on The Factor

Bill O'Reilly plays the victimologist card once more. As Gordon has pointed out, it is one of the recurring ironies of the resurgent Right that white men, conservative white men in particular, are now victims of the liberals, the media, the Left, Barack Obama, or [insert villain of the day]. Actually, is it an irony anymore given that the "conservatives are perennial victims card" has become a script of sorts for the Right?

I thought Limbaugh, Beck, Coulter, Malkin, et al. bemoaned how minorities, women, gays, and others played the perennial "victim?" I guess one wears the shoe (or in keeping with the metaphor, plays the card) if it is politically expedient--even if it is a gross act of hypocrisy.

Compare Tanenhaus's appearance on O'Reilly with his interview on Bill Moyers Journal or this clip from Reason.TV:

Apples and oranges, no? True, the formats are different. But, I honestly do not know why anyone not in league with O'Reilly or inclined to agree with his brand of Right wing populism would go on The Factor to begin with. Any thoughts? Are folks just gluttons for punishment? Does the appeal lie in the fact that it is hard to take down the king in his own castle, on his throne, and surrounded by his elite bodyguards...but then again that victory would be the ultimate in sweet satisfaction.

As a bonus: Here is a great excerpt from the documentary Outfoxed that exposes some of the trickery and stagecraft behind O'Reilly's show:

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saturday Afternoon Funnies--Alexyss Tylor, Man Sharing, and the Wisdom of Shahrazad Ali

One of my friends just got back from DC and was lamenting the dating situation for black women in that city. I decided to use these Internets to do a little Youtube research because I knew that Alexyss or Brother Manning would have some guidance to offer on the issue (alas, the latter was mute on this point...he is too busy conspiring against Obama it seems). One worry though: I love me Alexyss, she is my personal goddess and I so desire to be her servant in semi-committed yoni-lingam betrothal. But, Ms. Tyler's look in this video ain't too good--am I crazy, but has she not lost a step or two (or three) since her debut a few years back?

As luck would have it, my mental energies were excited as I reviewed Alexyss's treatise on man-sharing. The old neurons began to fire a bit faster as I realized that I had heard some of this before. Yes indeed, from one of my favorite street corner, self-published intellectuals of the 1980s. Behold Ms. Shahrazad Ali, author of The Blackman's Guide to Understanding the Black Woman, in a classic appearance on The Sally Jesse Raphael Show:

Some preliminary thoughts/questions.

One, look at the brothers in the video. Don't they look like walk ons from a Kool Moe Dee, Grandmaster Flash, Treacherous 3, or Funky Four+1 video?

Two, ain't Miss Ali special? They don't make them like her anymore. Or do they? If they do, where can I find one?

Three, when is Miss Ali going to get a cabinet position with Obama's administration? She could be czar of black male-black female relationships.

Four, yes, yes, yes. Black women are marrying white men to escape being naturally submissive to the Black man. Oops, sorry I had a black nationalist, Willie Lynch moment, it must be the Korean BBQ I am eating.

Five, we do need a book to understand the sisters. But, I must be honest because this black man needs a book to understand himself. Are you with me? Am I the only one who is confused about a great many things? Beginning with myself and extending outward?

I must ask, am I the only brother who smiled when she dropped the truth about the almighty Black Man being the head of the family, the natural ruler of the family, and original king who has taught all men--including the White man--how to rule? I am feeling really Afrocentric now! I am hearing the drums in my ears, my heart feels the call of battle:

Sorry, I couldn't resist succumbing to a Shaka Zulu moment.

Maybe I will wear my dashiki and kufi out on Sunday when I go to see Zombieland and also make my weekly stop at Filene's Basement.


Part 1--

Part 2--

Part 3--

Part 4--

Friday, October 2, 2009

Kimbo Slice Beat on The Ultimate Fighter or Fight of the Century: The Myth of the Black Rapist Beaten by the Pillsbury Dough Boy

Kimbo Slice got his rusty black behind whooped on The Ultimate Fighter--quite deservedly if you ask me. Slice has no ground game and would have had better luck in the early, pre-Gracie era of UFC. Now, before he even steps into the octagon, Slice is already rendered obsolete.

Question: Doesn't Kimbo look like the myth of the black rapist come to life? Question two: could Kimbo do double duty as a poster child for the Klan's campaign against miscegenation? Question three: Were you surprised that the Pillsbury Dough Boy beat Kimbo "the guy you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley or see leering in your bedroom window" Slice?

By the way, Kimbo has a deal to fight at UFC's pay-per-view in December. Talk about failing your way to the top...

Update--check this great piece "Attack of the Giant Negroes," on Kimbo Slice and stereotypes of black manhood by Scratch of the blog, Scritch and Scratch...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chauncey DeVega says: On the Horrible Murder of Derrion Albert--The Rule of the Jungle, Elephant Attacks, and the Rise of the Ghetto Youthocracy

I was reading Field Negro's great post on the senseless murder of Derrion Albert in Chicago and had a light bulb moment. One of our first posts on this site was a bit prescient in that it (sadly) commented upon the root causes of the barbarism that we witnessed in Chicago this week--and which we have seen all too often in our communities many, many times. Sadly, here is a We Are Respectable Negroes flashback from July 28, 2008. It is all too telling as we try to explain the savagery among the ign't classes as of late:

Chauncey DeVega says: Of Naked Apes and Elephant Attacks

Besides the ape, the elephant ranks among my favorite creatures. They possess a certain power, wisdom, dignity, grace, and intelligence which is in my opinion, without equal among land mammals. I also love the sea cow, a.k.a. the manatee.

In fact, I so love elephants that on principle I do not attend circuses (creepy clowns) or zoos (even as a child I thought they were cruel, and I will not let my children go to zoos or circuses either). Besides belonging to the World Wildlife Federation, my support for the elephant is so great that I root for the elephants when they escape their cruel handlers and commence to get some revenge by laying the smackdown on their human captors. Making them even more ideal as subjects for study, elephants hold funerals for their honored dead (and this has been documented to include humans whom the elephants are fond of), have their own version of the telephone game, and are highly social. In total, this makes them great mirrors for examining human behavior.

The Straight Dope, a weekly syndicated column, recently featured a piece on the rise of social dysfunction among elephants. It seems that an absence of older elephants, and the violence facing elephant herds by poachers and Africa's litany of civil wars (these countries can't get their act together can they? and now the elephants, and the great apes, are paying the price for human foolishness) has damaged the social cohesion of elephant society. The older male elephants, the elephant OG's/elders are not around to control the young elephant ign'ts. And the female elephants can't keep these young elephant ign'ts in check. This breakdown is so profound that the young male elephants are killing innocent rhinos, fighting each other without cause, and then raping their dead and defeated adversaries. When reading the column, I couldn't help but think about the eerie parallels this has with the breakdown of social cohesion among the underclass. It seems that elephants, like mankind, are facing a crisis of "youthocracy"--Robin Kelley's word not mine--where the natural balance among families and communities is being upended by a crisis in elephant manhood.

Here is the article:

Are elephants in the wild showing newly aggressive behavior including rape? Is man to blame?

Dear Cecil:

I've read that elephants are now exhibiting aggression previously unseen — including raping rhinos on the African savannah. Have we truly screwed up the elephants that much, or is this merely one of those myths that is now perpetuated in the media? — K. Honey, Georgetown, Ontario

Cecil replies:

As far as I've seen, the most unambiguous published claim that male elephants do with some regularity rape rhinoceroses appears in an October 2006 New York Times Magazine article titled "An Elephant Crackup?" In opening his argument that a specieswide breakdown in social cohesion has led to an upsurge in violence by elephants, author Charles Siebert offers evidence that elephant aggression has been marked by what he calls a "singular perversity": "Since the early 1990's, for example, young male elephants in Pilanesberg National Park and the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve in South Africa have been raping and killing rhinoceroses; this abnormal behavior, according to a 2001 study in the journal Pachyderm, has been reported in "'a number of reserves' in the region." That's an assertion guaranteed to catch the eye of even the most inattentive reader, and it's since appeared in other discussions of animal behavior, often phrased in ways suggesting the NYT article was the source.

But is it true? Sitting down with the Pachyderm study Siebert cites — Slotow et al, "Killing of Black and White Rhinoceroses by African Elephants in Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park, South Africa" — we learn that between 1991 and 2001 the park's elephants dispatched 63 rhinos, mainly by goring. The authors suggest that the animals responsible were young males who had grown up in social groups from which older males had been "culled" (read: slaughtered by government-commissioned hunters as a population-control measure) and as a result entered a state of heightened, testosterone-fueled aggression called musth much earlier in life than they ordinarily would have. Since similar incidents at Pilanesberg stopped after large adult males were reintroduced into the population, thus reestablishing the natural male hierarchy, the authors advocate trying the same thing at Hluhluwe-Umfolozi.

Wait a minute, you say — what about the raping part? That's what I said too. I went back through the study a second time, then a third. The reference to abnormal behavior seen in "a number of reserves" has only to do with elephants killing rhinos; nowhere is any mention made of rape. Seeing a clear need for some inside info, I had my assistant Una get in touch with one of the article's authors, Rob Slotow, director of the Amarula Elephant Research Program at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Professor Slotow's reply was straightforward: the young elephants seemingly got into ritualized combat situations with the rhinos, as males are wont to do, but having no experience being in the musth state, didn't know they were supposed to back off when the rhinos backed down, with the result that the rhinos wound up dead. "There was," Slotow concluded, "nothing sexual about these attacks." (He went on to report that, sure enough, the attacks on rhinos subsided almost entirely once older males were brought back on board.)

That would suggest a problem in the NYT quote above. Best case, I figured, was that the article got the underlying facts right — i.e., elephants really were raping as well as killing rhinos at the parks in question — but named the wrong study in support. That was Siebert's best guess as well, and he sent me to G.A. Bradshaw, an animal psychologist at Oregon State, who'd been a key source for him on the Times piece. Bradshaw maintains that the elephants have been observed mounting their rhino victims and that it's ridiculous to dismiss the possibility that the attacks have a sexual aspect. Though she prefers the term "false copulation," she says, "it is unlikely that the act was consensual as so many rhinos were killed, so in that context and in light of current science, 'rape' is not inappropriate."

There's little doubt that decades of poaching, culling, and habitat loss have played havoc with elephants' complex social and emotional lives, and a traumatized elephant is clearly capable of some scary behavior. But so far experts don't agree on what to call it.


Maybe I read too many issues of the comic the Elephantmen, but in considering the mayhem in the elephant community I couldn't help but visualize an elephant Bill Cosby lecturing the young elephant men on manhood, "come on elephant people we can do better!"

Or maybe a elephant Sudhir Venkatesh or William Julius Wilson doing ethnographies on the social networks of the elephant 'hood. Perhaps, there is an elephant version of Daniel Patrick Moynihan studying this issue and making policy prescriptions to correct the chaos among the elephant youth? Of course, there would also be the obligatory elephant John McWhorters and Stanley Crouches (maybe being an elephant would actually improve the latter's looks) railing against the social evil that is hip hop--or its elephant equivalent.

And guess what, when older male elephants were returned to the elephant herds the anti-social behavior of the young elephant ign'ts virtually ceased. Perhaps we should borrow that model in order to improve our own communities? But then again, where would we find these responsible, wise elders? And would they want to return to the 'hood?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Afternoon Lunch Reading: Gore Vidal on Obama, America's Decline, and The Dim-Witted Masses

Gore Vidal is one of my favorite essayists. He is so quotable and pithy. For example: "I never miss a chance to have sex or appear on television." Talk about a life mantra. In the Times online, Vidal offers his incisive wisdom on Obama's failings, America's future, and the anti-intellectualism of the American people. Again, as I observe with no so small amount of disgust, given the rabble of the Tea Parties, the 50th percentile that is comfortable with its mediocrity, and a country that gave us George Bush (twice), are the masses indeed asses? Or is this respectable negro just a bit of an elitist?

Some quotables from Vidal's interview, "We'll have a dictatorship soon in the U.S."

On Obama's Afghanistan policy:

Last year he famously switched allegiance from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama during the Democratic nomination process for president. Now, he reveals, he regrets his change of heart. How’s Obama doing? “Dreadfully. I was hopeful. He was the most intelligent person we’ve had in that position for a long time. But he’s inexperienced. He has a total inability to understand military matters. He’s acting as if Afghanistan is the magic talisman: solve that and you solve terrorism.” America should leave Afghanistan, he says. “We’ve failed in every other aspect of our effort of conquering the Middle East or whatever you want to call it.” The “War on Terror” was “made up”, Vidal says. “The whole thing was PR, just like ‘weapons of mass destruction’. It has wrecked the airline business, which my father founded in the 1930s. He’d be cutting his wrists. Now when you fly you’re both scared to death and bored to death, a most disagreeable combination.”

On Obama's leadership:

Vidal originally became pro-Obama because he grew up in “a black city” (meaning Washington), as well as being impressed by Obama’s intelligence. “But he believes the generals. Even Bush knew the way to win a general was to give him another star. Obama believes the Republican Party is a party when in fact it’s a mindset, like Hitler Youth, based on hatred — religious hatred, racial hatred. When you foreigners hear the word ‘conservative’ you think of kindly old men hunting foxes. They’re not, they’re fascists.”

Another notable Obama mis-step has been on healthcare reform. “He f***ed it up. I don’t know how because the country wanted it. We’ll never see it happen.” As for his wider vision: “Maybe he doesn’t have one, not to imply he is a fraud. He loves quoting Lincoln and there’s a great Lincoln quote from a letter he wrote to one of his generals in the South after the Civil War. ‘I am President of the United States. I have full overall power and never forget it, because I will exercise it’. That’s what Obama needs — a bit of Lincoln’s chill.” Has he met Obama? “No,” he says quietly, “I’ve had my time with presidents.” Vidal raises his fingers to signify a gun and mutters: “Bang bang.” He is referring to the possibility of Obama being assassinated. “Just a mysterious lone gunman lurking in the shadows of the capital,” he says in a wry, dreamy way.

And my favorite observation about the current political atmosphere and the American people:

Today religious mania has infected the political bloodstream and America has become corrosively isolationist, he says. “Ask an American what they know about Sweden and they’d say ‘They live well but they’re all alcoholics’. In fact a Scandinavian system could have benefited us many times over.” Instead, America has “no intellectual class” and is “rotting away at a funereal pace. We’ll have a military dictatorship fairly soon, on the basis that nobody else can hold everything together. Obama would have been better off focusing on educating the American people. His problem is being over-educated. He doesn’t realise how dim-witted and ignorant his audience is. Benjamin Franklin said that the system would fail because of the corruption of the people and that happened under Bush.”

The entire piece can be found here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pet Food Industry Enjoys Strong Sales in Weak Economy or Alternative Explanation: Things Are So Bad People are Now Eating Dog Food

Man bites dog...again.

Behold once more the wisdom of Good Times. Is there any life dilemma or situation that James Evans Jr. and company cannot resolve? Could it be that the bourgeois, naive reporter who compiled the following piece simply doesn't know how hard folk have/are having it in this economy?

I would like to believe that some folks are toughing it out and shorting themselves in order to keep their pets happy and well fed (I know me and my people would and are)--but, so many other sad and depressing data points are suggesting that our animal friends are sadly the first to be deemed a "luxury" item and thus discarded because of the horrid state of the economy.

Unfortunately, this is one more story that is being sadly underreported: along with good hard working Americans now being forced to live in their cars and in tent cities, my smart money is on the fact that pet food sales are "stable" because an increasing number of American families have been forced to make dog and cat food a staple of their diets. Courtesy of the Denver Post:

Pet Food Industry Enjoys Strong Sales in Weak Economy

Despite rising unemployment, credit-card debt and thinning discretionary spending, American pet owners remain loyal customers of an industry that is enjoying consistent growth.

The pet-food industry is fueled by consumers who won't back away from spending on food and necessities for their animals, though they're likely to pare down the family vacation.

The strong spending comes amid price increases in nearly every pet-food category, the result of rising costs of fuel, ingredients and transportation for manufacturers.

Dogs and cats, though, still feel the pinch in other ways, owners said. Fewer treats, new toys or accessories such as collars and leashes, even fewer trips to the groomer are all part of the cost

"We've cut back for us all," said Kathy Schmidt of Lone Tree, whose miniature schnauzer, Archie, has had to wait longer between clippings.

Though the family has trimmed back, Archie still eats pretty well because "he needs to eat what he's accustomed to," Schmidt said.

That's one reason spending on pets remains robust, with total sales of all pet products topping $45 billion this year, a 5 percent increase, according to the American Pet Products Association. And retail sales of pet food are up 4.5 percent in 2009 at about $18 billion. Future pet-food sales are projected to top $21 billion by 2013.

It's showing up at local stores, where boutique owners are enjoying growth as many of their counterparts catering solely to humans struggle.

"We've seen double-digit growth this year. The recession hasn't really touched us," said Deb Dempsey, owner of Mouthfuls in Denver's Highland neighborhood. "We're not selling tons of bedding and clothing, and treats and durable goods, the foofy stuff, has stayed down."

Dedication to their pet's health apparently has much to do with how owners spend.

"We have so many customers who say they'd eat macaroni and cheese before they'd cut back on their dogs," she said.

The pet-food recalls of 2007 didn't leave the industry unscathed but did reinforce owners' focus on quality, not price.

"I'll go to McDonald's and eat lunch from the dollar menu, but a can of food isn't something I want to skimp on," money manager Pat Janssen said of his dog-food buying. "But there are fewer toys and chews in the bag these days."

Prices are stabilizing, but consumers shouldn't expect too big a drop any time soon. Much is because of long-term supply contracts producers locked into when prices were already high, analysts say.

"We're trying to cut back, though we're not real good at it," Mark Niederhauser said of his two chow-chows and papillon during a recent trip to PetSmart near Park Meadows shopping center.

"I just can't deny the dogs."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Chauncey DeVega Says--An Unspeakable Act: 3 Hoodlums Charged in Beating Death of Chicago Honor Student or Who the Hell is Raising these Monsters?

I have to ask, who the hell is raising these monsters?

I have alluded to the following story a few times on this site, but incidents such as the above crime bring certain memories right back to the forefront of my mind.

A few years ago, I was the victim of an attempted armed robbery. I got lucky--very lucky--and fought off a gunman who during our struggle tried to take a brother out...thankfully the elder gods intervened and I was spared. I left my uncle a message that night about what happened. I was pretty impressed with myself, I didn't panic, with bare fists I fought off a person with a gun, and I did the right and honorable thing by the female friend I was with (I could just feel that he would have beat and raped her, and I would rather have stepped up and risked my life than to live and have watched such a thing happen without intervening).

Uncle didn't call me back for a few days. When he finally did, he told me in a quiet, very direct way, that since my dad had passed away, now he, my uncle, would give me the advice my pops would have if he were still here. My uncle coldly told me that I have a future, and that piece of garbage--another black man, sadly--could have killed me. My death would be the greatest thing that he accomplished, and the stickup kid's life will amount to nothing either don't ever give one of these monsters another shot at you. These hoodlums live to destroy people's lives and they have no conscience, moral framework, or self-control. They are mired in muck and debris. They are the living embodiment of our society's collective ugliness. In reading this sad story, and watching the video, I can't help but think that the pieces of human filth that killed young Derrion Albert for sport have taken a bright star out of the universe. Sadly, we are now forced to grieve with young Mr. Derrion's family--and to hope that he finds peace.

Too bad we don't have garbage men for the human condition who would deposit these young thugs on the refuse pile where they belong. Too bad, indeed...

Official Suspect Admits Role in Beating Death of Chicago Teen

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN)
-- One of the suspects accused of killing an honor student in a beating captured on tape in Chicago has admitted to jumping on the victim's head after he was already lying on the ground, a spokeswoman for the Chicago States Attorney office said.

In the videotaped confession, 19-year-old Silvanus Shannon also said that the victim, Derrion Albert, never struck him, said Tandra Simonton, spokesperson for the Cook County States Attorney.

All three teens arrested for Albert's death -- Silvanus Shannon, 19; Eric Carson, 16; and Eugene Riley, 18 -- were seen on the videotape attacking Albert, and were charged with first degree murder and held without bail, Simonton said.

On Monday during the bond hearing, prosecutors described how the street fight escalated from a dispute between two factions at Albert's high school to a beating that left the honor student dead.

Prosecutors said Derrion Albert was an "innocent bystander" who ended up in the middle of a street fight between two factions of students at his Fenger High School.

When school let out at 2:50 p.m. on Thursday, Albert was on his way to the bus stop when two groups of students converged on the street, Simonton said.

The two factions, one that lived near the Altgeld Gardens housing development and one in an area known as "The Ville," began fighting after a shooting earlier that day that police called gang-related.

Albert was approached by 16-year-old Eric Carson and another unknown person, both members of the "The Ville" faction, Simonton said. Carson struck Albert in the head with a long wooden railroad tie, and the second person punched him in the face, Simonton said.

Albert was knocked unconscious by the blows for a short period, Simonton said, but gained consciousness and quickly tried to move from the escalating street fight.

"He gained consciousness and moved a few feet away, but as he was trying to get up, he was attacked by a second group," Simonton said.

That group, made up of five members from the opposing faction, then took their shots at Albert, Simonton said.

He was struck in the head by Riley with a railroad tie, a rectangular piece of wood used as a base for railroad tracks, Simonton said.

Once Albert was on the ground again, Shannon was seen "stomping on his head repeatedly," Simonton said.

An amateur videotape shot by a witness, which has been broadcast nationally, showed the attack unfolding. A local TV station that received the tape turned it over to police.

The video shows that, as the attackers ran away, the person with the camera and several others approached Albert and carried him into a nearby building.

"Derrion, get up!" a female voice pleads on the video.

Albert was taken to Roseland Community Hospital and then to Advocate Christ Hospital and Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, Simonton said.

Shannon and Riley do not have criminal records. Carson is on probation for a 2008 robbery conviction, according to Simonton.

On Monday, family and friends, some wearing shirts bearing Albert's photo, held a vigil in his honor.

Albert's grandfather, Joseph Walker, told CNN affiliate WLS-TV that his grandson was a good kid who didn't deserve to die.

"He was in Bible class this Tuesday night. Church on Sunday," Walker told WLS-TV. "I have no trouble out of my grandson whatsoever. This thing that happened to him is so horrific that we just don't know what we're going to do. We lost a really dear friend in my grandson. He was a blessed child."

Walker said the family was struggling to come to terms with why Albert was killed.

"I don't know where all this anger come from these people today," he told WLS-TV. "That's just too much anger for someone to have in their heart. All I can do is I'm going to pray for these people, I'm going to to pray for forgiveness."

Albert's aunt, Rose Braxton, told CNN affiliate WGN-TV that the family was hurt again when a memorial in Albert's honor was burned down.

"To go and burn a memorial after such tragedy, then that just speaks for itself to what kind of people they are," she told WGN-TV.

Family and friends asked the community to turn in anyone they knew who was a part of Albert's beating.

"What kind of person, what kind of individual, has such rage and such anger and such madness?" the Rev. Michael Pfleger said. "We've got to get to the hearts of our children, because nothing, nothing, excuses or justifies the actions of an individual who would beat another individual. Nothing justifies that in this society. "

Pfleger said it was time to make a change, so children aren't afraid to go to or from school.

He said this kind of teen violence was not just an issue for Chicago, but from "Oakland to Newark."

Ron Huberman, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, said he had met with Albert's classmates.

"How do we make sure this event doesn't become another event?" he said. "Another vigil on another day."

Huberman said he will fight every day to ensure the safety of children in Chicago's schools.

"We can promise them and we can say that we we will absolutely remember Derrion," he said.

Flanked by people holding signs with photos of a young child and the words "Don't shoot, I want to grow up," Pfleger pleaded for peace.

"It's time for guns, and it's time for two-by-fours to stop being the way we treat each other," he said.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Fun--"Let a Bitch Work": Ann Coulter, Obama as the Joker, and the Liberal Conspiracy


Ann Coulter, so deserves to be the subject of a an avant-garde art festival or collection of scatalogically themed new age poetry. I have always preferred Playboy Magazine's approach to Coulter and her kin--"the infamous Conservatives I would like to hate fuck list"--but, we respectable negroes have to be more restrained. Interestingly, Coulter did not make the top ten of said compilation (although Michelle Malkin, coconut, race traitor, pro-Japanese internment advocate did quite predictably place at the top of the list).

For some Sunday laughs here is a bit of Coulter's latest wisdom: apparently those sneaky liberals are actually behind the racist excesses of the Glenn Beck, brown shirt Tea Party brigades. Courtesy of the Raw Story--

Coulter Suspects Liberals Behind Obama-as-Hitler Posters

For conservative political commentator Ann Coulter, it seems right-wingers can do no wrong — and, if they are seen to be doing wrong, it’s the fault of the left anyway.

Coulter says she suspects that posters of President Barack Obama with a Hitler mustache that appeared at Tea Party rallies are the work of “liberal agitators.”

During a discussion on Fox News’ Geraldo at Large on Saturday, host Geraldo Rivera played a clip of President Barack Obama addressing the Congressional Black Caucus, in which the president recounted an anecdote from last week’s G20 meetings.

“One of the leaders — I won’t mention who it was — he comes up to me … he says, ‘Barack, explain to me this health care debate,’” the president said. “He says, ‘We don’t understand it. You’re trying to make sure everybody gets health care and they’re putting a Hitler mustache on you. That doesn’t make sense to me. Explain that to me.’ He didn’t understand.”

“Isn’t it true that some of this extremist rhetoric [is] embarrassing to the United States and our president?” Rivera asked.If so, then liberals really did a number on America’s image over the eight years of [President] George Bush,” Coulter replied, going on to describe various hyperbolic protests that took place over the course of the Bush administration.

But in the case of liberals protesting Bush, “it was done much more egregiously,” Coulter added. “And we don’t know that the rare Hitler mustache you see at these Tea Parties was even [done by] a conservative. I suspect they were liberal agitators.”

That made Rivera laugh. “Those sneaky liberal agitators!” he exclaimed.

“Yeah, of course they do that,” Coulter retorted, adding that it is “a way to shut down speech."

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Night Funnies: Stephen Colbert's Ownage of The Racist Screeds of Limbaugh and Beck

I must ask. Who is the American Socrates? Colbert? Chappelle? or Michael Moore? Who and why?

A bonus clip because we can, a classic from SNL--Chevy Chase and Richard Pryor's, "Word Association":