Friday, December 4, 2009

What If? Confessions of a Young Conservative: Glenn Beck's High School History Class Exam Revealed for All to Read



During the next few weeks we will be featuring a series of "what if's?" Accordingly, you, our erstwhile friends and allies ask: Brother Chauncey, please clarify what exactly you mean by a "what if" scenario?

Remember when you were a kid and Marvel and DC comics teamed up and told a story where Superman fought the Hulk? Well, this is our version of what smart folks call either "counter-factuals" and/or "exercises in creative decision-making and imagination." You know that our friend Werner Herzog's Bear, resident expert on Glenn Beck and his twisted machinations had to get the first shot. In the following piece, Werner, historian par excellence, puts forth what Glenn Beck (circa frustrated senior year know it all in high school) would have written in response to a prompt in history or civics class. Enjoy!

@@@@

Glenn Beck, Esquire
Sehome High School
God Bless America!

Introduction to United States History
Final Exam

Question: What factors led to the constitutional convention, what ideas influenced the Constitution’s framers, what principles of government did it express, and how has it changed over time?

Ever since God created human beings, they have wanted freedom. No country truly had freedom until the United States. The Founding Fathers got together in Philadelphia because they wanted more freedom, which they weren’t getting from the Articles of Confederation. The Articles taxed to much. They were like a Communist government. This is why liberals don’t like the Constitution.

The Founding Fathers were obviously following the Ten Commandments with the Constitution, since there are ten amendments. Part of it says that men are “endowed by their Creator” with rights. This means that the Constitution did not believe in separation of church and state. The liberals who want that obviously never read Thomas Jefferson. He wrote the Constitution, not them.

The Founders also hated taxes’, which is why they threw tea into the harbor. The Constitution does not believe in taxes. That’s why progressive fascists added the income tax amendment. Since the Founders’ were inspired by God, the Constitution is a perfect document, and not a living document. You can’t improve on what God inspired.

The Constitution is all about real Americans. That’s why it protects the right to bare arms and have militias. The Founders had some good ideas about this that we should follow. People who aren’t real Americans should only have 3/5’s of a vote. Why is this so controversial? I guess that’s because today’s liberals hate the Constitution.

The most important part of the Constitution is the tenth amendment. That says that the states can’t be forced to do anything they don’t want. The Founders thought the federal government was tyranny. This is why the fourteenth amendment is wrong a change, since it takes away states’ rights. I don’t understand why people have a problem with states’ rights, they have always helped real Americans from tyranny. Only Communists and Nazi’s are people who like centralized government.

Today we have disrespected the Constitution. Schools can’t force students to pray. The goverment taxes all the time. The Commander-in-Chief doesn’t like real Americans, which is very dangerous. Pretty soon the liberals put us all in death camps! They hate America! They want to drive the ship into the iceberg!

Even tho the Constitution was perfect, new issues are here now. So we need new amendments. We have to make sure only real Americans become president. The Nazi liberals want to destroy America! We need to stop the gays from marrying. If we allow that society will die! Maybe we’ll have another revolution by real Americans to get the Constitution back. Like the Founders said, sometimes the tree of liberty needs to get water from patriots blood. I wish I could use the chalkboard in the front to show you this.

(Note to professor: sorry about the tear stains on the test. Sometimes I get so carried away when I talk about our great country.)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Afghanistan is President Barack Obama's Tar Baby, How Will He Free Us? How Will He Free Himself?



Heavy is the head that wears the crown. As a fan of Robert E. Howard's legendary character Conan the Barbarian, I am sure that President Obama will appreciate the allusion.

President Obama's speech on the war in Afghanistan reveals a man whose presidency is eerily reminiscent of that of the Johnson administration--men of bold vision domestically, yet tarnished by a failed war abroad. I have watched with great concern and relative silence over these last few months as Obama has committed misstep after misstep in the formulation of his Afghanistan policy. As a strong supporter of President Obama, I stood mute. I convinced myself that Obama is playing such a deep game that success awaits us if we only stay the course.

I watched Obama's speech on Tuesday with a raised eyebrow and an attentive ear. Ultimately, there is no way to elegantly parse the conclusion which I reached: We are in one hell of a mess. Sadly, I no longer believe that success, either domestically or internationally, is a Fait accompli under Obama's leadership.

Economically, we are an empire in decline. In many ways, America is the British Empire of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We believe that we are too big to fail, an indispensable power in the world, while we simultaneously maintain a bloated empire that we cannot extradite ourselves from. Like the Brits in their twilight, we no longer have a manufacturing base as we have chosen to build wealth on the shadows and mirrors of finance, speculation, and credit.

Ironically, the world itself has signaled that they too are unprepared for a world where America does not lead--yet, our peers and friends seem either unwilling or unable to take up the slack. Domestically, Obama has been too much a centrist, too willing to compromise. He needed to put on the brass knuckles many months ago. Instead, Obama chose to proceed with a conciliatory way, extending his hand to his foes while wearing a silk glove. Predictably, the Republicans and right wing populists saw compromise as weakness and chose to play the role of obstructionists.

Perhaps unavoidably, there have been many missteps in the formulation of Obama's Afghanistan policy. He has let himself be bullied by the military. Obama has been contemplative and patient while gathering the necessary information for making what is a life and death decision both for his administration (and its legacy), for this country (and our future), and for the young men and women who are the tip of the sword in Afghanistan (and who will live and die as a function of Obama's continuation of Bush era policies). Not surprisingly, Commander-in-Chief Obama was greeted by a military establishment that publicly lobbied for their own agenda and disagreed with the president's policies. Simply put, if Truman found the courage to fire Douglas MacArthur, the American Caesar, surely, Obama could have dismissed General McChrystal and those others who went public, thus revealing that they did not respect the chain of command.



While America is rightfully focused on terrorism and Al-Qaeda as threats to our safety and security, realpolitik tells us that Bin Laden and his terror franchise are not a threat to the existence of this country. At present, our greatest foe is a radically diminished standard of living caused by capitalism and finance run amok, where a politics of greed that traded long term prosperity for short term gain has been the dagger in our heart.

It is not a suicide bomber operating out of the hinterlands of Pakistan or Afghanistan that will undo us. No, it is the economic terror of the Great Recession. If we do not act rightly, with more expediency and more vigor, it will not be homicide bombers, dirty bombs, shoe bombs, asymmetrical warfare, or a failed counter-insurgency strategy--a new language, a panoply of buzz words and phrases that have recently infiltrated our 21st century lexicon--that will be listed as agent number one on our national epitaph. Rather, it will be the Great Recession that placed the last nail in America's proverbial coffin. As a qualifier, I would reiterate that like most empires, our decline will be be both long and slow. This fall will not be immediately attributable to any one factor. Nevertheless, we stand at a crossroads in our own history. I fear that Obama has taken the wrong fork--one that will lead us to inevitable ruin.

Mr. President, I understand that you are in a lose-lose position. If you choose to withdraw from Afghanistan you will be lambasted from the right and the center. If you escalate, as you have chosen to, you will lose progressives as you pursue a policy that is in many ways juxtaposed to the theme of "change" which you campaigned upon. I do not envy the decisions that have been forced upon you--or more rightfully put--a set of burdens that you chose to hoist upon your own shoulders when you made the decision to run for President.

President Obama, like so many, I have and continue to support you because of your dignity and intelligence. The critical and reflective manner that typifies your decision making process is a breath of fresh air when compared to your predecessor.

For this, you are a credit to us all.

With that having been said, I appeal to your intellect and intelligence. Ask yourself again, as I am sure you have, can America really and truly reconcile the history of Afghanistan--a country affectionately known as the graveyard of empires--with our policy goals? In a time of economic crisis can America afford the 1 million dollars a year per soldier, the expense of keeping one soldier in Afghanistan, when we are bleeding money at home? President Obama, I implore you to review Dwight D. Eisenhower's prescient speech on the military industrial complex. Ask yourself, "how many homes could 1 million dollars save?" "How many children could be fed?" "How many people could be employed?" "How many schools could be built?"

Mr. President, as a student of history you most certainly know that America will be in Afghanistan longer than the time period that you have suggested. This is unavoidable. All that I ask for is honesty, a fair deal, and a transparent conversation with the American people where you ask them the following questions: Are they prepared for the steady stream of coffins that will slowly trickle back to Dover in order to follow through with an unsustainable policy of nation building in Afghanistan? Is it worth it?

President Obama, Afghanistan is your personal tar baby now. How will you free yourself, and this country, from its sticky grasp?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Who Says There Isn't Life After Hip Hop? Coolio Reinvents Himself as a Michelin Rated Chef



See, there is in fact a career path for aging, aged, and well past their prime "hip hop" artists.

I hope you had a good Thanksgiving Day. My meal was spot on. It was a bit uppity and high class for this working class Negro's pallet, but Lord was it scrumptious.

To point, apparently Coolio will be releasing a cookbook based on his Internet cooking show. Can anyone say welcome to diabetesville?

Second thought, so there is something called "ghettalian" bread? What's next? With incarceration as a new right of passage for the ign't classes, will prison cuisine infiltrate mainstream American fare? Are we going to see cookbooks that merge the best of the food preparation techniques from inside the prison system with the delicate ingredients that are the centerpieces of the slow food movement?

I wonder how Martha Stewart and Alice Waters are positioning themselves to profit off of this potential trend. Who knows, maybe Trader Joe's has a new addition to their line of Two Buck Chuck in the offering. Coming soon to a strip mall or a suburban exurb near you, Pruno. I can just imagine all of the wannabe cosmopolitan types raving about the subtle notes and flavors of prison hooch on NPR's All Things Considered: "Pruno is so aromatic and deceptively sophisticated...the introduction of this wondrous beverage speaks to the zeitgeist of the Great Recession...Prison culture has become American culture, first hip hop, now Pruno." Inevitably, faux wine experts will soon be imploring their friends to drink pruno out of a plastic jug lest the wine not hit the proper part of the tongue, and its flavor be diminished.

Enjoy and bon appetit! Truth be told, count me among the converted as I am going to cook me some of these soul rolls for Christmas dinner.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Now That's Just Nasty: One in Four Teen Girls Have an STD



And ladies you do deserve the best...

Yucky. Nasty. Cooties. When I was growing up I swore to always play it safe in the sexing it up department. I didn't take this oath because the anti-sex films in health class scared the hell out of me--which they did by the way. No, it was a personal encounter with a survivor of the clap that put me on the straight and narrow. Trust me, hearing your friend's little brother explain that he missed three days of school (in the seventh grade mind you) because he couldn't pee after sticking "it" into a girl was a horror story made real to my virgin ears. The visual was enough. A young man with a broken penis doubled over in pain, crippled on his mom's bathroom floor made it clear: never go raw young man, cause raw dog can, and will, burn you up.

In the immortal words of The Cleveland Show:



One of Four Teen Girls Have an STD

MONDAY, Nov. 23 (HealthDay News) -- As many as one in four U.S. teenage girls have had a sexually transmitted disease (STD), many infected soon after their first sexual encounter, a new government report shows.

"The high burden of STDs among teen girls reminds us that we can't ignore this," said study author Dr. Sami L. Gottlieb, from the division of sexually transmitted disease prevention at the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention.

"Sexual health is an important part of the overall health and well-being of teenagers," Gottlieb added. "For too long, we as a nation have been far too squeamish about sexual health issues for teens, but we owe it to our kids to get over it."

The report is published online Nov. 23 and in the December print issue of the journal Pediatrics.

For the study, Gottlieb's team collected data on 838 teen girls aged 14 to 19. Using samples provided by the teens, the researchers looked for Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, Trichomonas vaginalis, herpes simplex virus type 2 and human papillomavirus (HPV).

The study authors found that 24.1 percent of the girls had one of these STDs and among girls who were sexually experienced, 37.7 percent had an STD. HPV was the most common infection (18.3 percent), followed by chlamydia (3.9 percent).

Moreover, in the year after having their first sexual experience and with only one sex partner, 19.2 percent of the teens developed an STD, Gottlieb's group found.

To counter these problems, teens need to have early sex education, Gottlieb noted. "The vast majority of people have sex for the first time during their teenage years, so we need them to be prepared," she said.

In addition, Gottlieb believes that 11- and 12-year-old girls should get the HPV vaccine. "We have an effective and safe vaccine that can prevent most of the bad consequences of HPV infection -- cervical cancer," she stated.

Teen girls and young women should also have a yearly test for chlamydia, Gottlieb said. "This can prevent some of the adverse consequences of chlamydia, such a pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility," she stressed.

Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, said that "the authors make a convincing case that rates of both sexual activity and sexually transmitted infections are high in adolescent females in the U.S."

These are the facts of epidemiology, not ideology, and should be the basis for public health policy, he said.

"Adolescent girls need early access to comprehensive sex education, and barrier contraceptives," Katz said. "This will not increase sexual activity, but it will attenuate the resultant harms."

This study also makes a strong case for routine vaccination against HPV, as it is the most common sexually transmitted infection, Katz said. "Since HPV is often acquired so soon after the initiation of sexual activity, early vaccination is the way to go. I speak on this as the father of two young teenage daughters, both of whom have received the Gardasil vaccine," he added.

Another report released by the CDC last week provided more statistics.

Teen girls aged 15 to 19 accounted for the largest number (409,531) of the 1.5 million reported chlamydia and gonorrhea cases in the United States in 2008, followed by women aged 20 to 24, according to the annual federal report.

The researchers also found that black females continue to have a higher rate of STDs than any other racial or ethnic group.

Last year, there were about 1.2 million reported cases of chlamydia and nearly 337,000 reported cases of gonorrhea in the United States, according to the report.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chauncey DeVega says: What Racial Group Does This Garbage Belong To?



I have been searching for this clip a long time. In fact, this interview with the King of All Blacks of Howard Stern fame is one of the impetuses for this blog. A few years ago, I was watching Stern on Comcast and yelled at the TV, "this is the greatest thing ever!" Guessing the race of a family by the garbage they put on the curb is perfect, efficient, and revealing. There is an anthropology dissertation here: Trash Studies, Disposable Culture, and the Intersections of Race, Ethnicity, and Class.

At the time, "naked garbage" was/is one of my new favorite words. I used it for weeks after seeing this show. Everywhere I would go I would point out "naked garbage!" I would see ignt's throwing garbage on their own stoops, and I would yell "naked garbage!" Random factoid: humans, along with owls, are the only animals that soil their own nests. Disgusting.

Zora was not amused by my fixation on naked garbage and demanded that I cease and desist this new found habit. Interestingly though, she goes into a near fit whenever she sees someone spitting on the sidewalk. Go figure.

As the son of a maintenance man, and yes I am reifying race and class, race matters in the garbage game. Class matters too--trust me, there is a binary distribution here where in my experience the ghetto underclass have either A) the cleanest home and neatest garbage one will ever see or B) the most utterly disgusting mess one can imagine. Funny thing, rich folks fall into a similar distribution.

Is there a correlation between race and refuse? Is this more a story of class than either race and ethnicity? Does region play into this? Is southern garbage heavier than northern garbage? Or is this a story of neighborhood norms? Thus, the tensions when neighborhoods are in "transition" and the new arrivals are loathe to conform to existing middle class norms?

I have to ask, what does Asian garbage look like? Or Native American garbage? Pray tell.

Enjoy.

Part 2



Part 3

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I am a Man! Black Teacher's Ownage of Young Ign't High School Student in Chicago



I am a man! Yes I am!

We need more teachers like Brother Charlie.

For a moment, I thought Charlie was going to tell this young ign't he was all balls and no shaft (extra credit to those of you who get the reference). Seriously, listen to the boy's response to Mr. Charlie, and how said teen conceptualizes being a "man." Is it any surprise that our communities are in disarray? Provocative question: Who is more to blame? The absent fathers or the mothers who raise these baby boy, cornerboy, soon to be fodder for the prison industrial complex, pants sagging, cum droppers?

What precipitated this mentoring session you may ask? Said man-child was texting in class and thus distracted from the lesson at hand. I know Charlie--in real life, not Internet life--and he is cool people who is hustling hard for the people here in Chicago. I have had drinks with him, argued over the merits of Cornel West's turn as public intellectual, and how best to reach the young Lost Ones. I was also present at a wedding where Mr. Charlie served as the justice of the peace. Trust me, his words were priceless.

Should we do a featured interview with Brother Charlie? What do you my respectable negro friends and allies think of his approach to the mentoring of young negro boys?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sarah Palin's Run-in with "Sexism" on the Cover of Newsweek Magazine or The Sexual Awakening of the Wasilla Wonder, Sarah Palin



If you make your bed you best lie in it. Sarah Palin, leader of the teabag wing of the Republican Party (and nominal leader of "Real America") is plying her new found role as a victim. I thought it was only "liberals" and "minorities" who played the "victim" card?

From Palin's fitting interview with Oprah Winfrey (a professional confessor and emotional surrogate to soccer mom's everywhere), to her new book--a project closer to historical fiction than political autobiography--Palin has been rewriting months old history. Apparently, confused, manipulated, and possessed of the best intentions, Palin was actually used for political gain by the McCain campaign, horribly treated by the evil mainstream media (damn those questions about magazines and reading habits!), and tarred as a scapegoat for the failed Republican 2008 presidential bid. Now it seems that Sarah has been made a victim of sexism. Right Wing Populist People's Evidence number one: the cover of Newsweek.

I will not wade into the muddy and murky waters of defining "sexism" as either deed, act, thought, ethical system, or belief. For my purposes, what is irony heaped upon irony is that Palin, the standard bearer for Conservative Feminism (read: by most definitions her policy positions are anathema to the interests of women as most commonly understood) has now discovered "victimhood." Doubly ironic that Michelle Maulkin, noted defender of women's interests that she is, has stepped up to the plate to defend Palin with the late discovery that unlike the Yeti, gender discrimination against women may in fact exist...but only when Republicans are "victimized." Contrary to this position, I would suggest that Palin's picture on the cover of Newsweek is not sexist precisely because the sexualization of Sarah Palin is ultimately of her own doing.

In much the same way that Palin decried the politicalization of her family after she herself used them as a campaign prop, Palin's all-American shtick was certainly based on her "beauty" as there is no realm of reason within which Palin's appeal could be based on intelligence, experience, or gravitas.

As many have noted, the Leave it Beaver, soccer mom narrative that Palin fulfilled as a culture warrior for Red State America is based on a type of perverse balance between female submission and male domination. Within this imagination, the traditional, obedient wife knows her rightful place in the home. She is to obey her husband and follow his lead while fulfilling his emotional and physical desires. With a 21st century feminist twist, Palin is also a superwoman--she supports her family financially all the while never usurping a husband's authority as rightful head of the family unit. Contrary to many a song, verse, and story that comprise black popular culture, it isn't black women who are the "strong" ones. Oh no, it is conservative wonder moms everywhere, the Sarah Palins of America who bring home the bacon from Walmart, take care of the kids and grandkids, and still manage to look sexy for their husbands when they come home after a long day of hunting and mudding.

The sexualization of Sarah Palin fits perfectly within the Right, neo-fascist Populism to which she is heir. As we saw in Nazi Germany, the Lost Cause/Redemptionist fantasies of the Post-Civil War South, and fascist Italy, women are symbols of the state to be protected while always being subservient to men. Here, women have agency as long as it serves the goals of men. Women and their sexuality belong to their husbands. By implication, in the conservative imagination, the sexuality of women is something that all men are obligated to protect. As also found in the most traditional and politicized veins of radical Islam--a neat parallel given the "war" between Christian Nationalism and the Muslim world--there is an odd attraction and aversion here that borders on misogyny. Women are coveted, dominated, wanted, and sexualized, while serving simultaneously as perpetual threats to the moral rectitude and strength of men.

From the Virginity Balls of Red State America where young evangelical, Conservative, Christian teenage girls "pledge" their virginity to their fathers, to Palin's strategic use of her MILFish qualities to inspire the masturbatory fantasies of young Republican activists everywhere, sex is central to the Conservative political impulses that nourish Palin's base. In total, the marketing of Sarah Palin is dependent upon her performing the role of Red State virgin/whore. Simply put, if there was a Christian Domme version of Playboy, Palin would most certainly have been centerfold of the year.

Bonus: Given that Sarah Palin is an object of lurid desire and fantasy, it is fitting that she is now part of the proud tradition of "slash fiction" with the website Sarahpalinerotica.com

Here is an excerpt from a debauched Sarah Palin themed story to start your day and titillate your desires. Enjoy.

@@@@

The World of Men

What Sarah likes most about skirts is that they fall just far enough above the knee to catch a man’s attention. If she’s learned anything living in the world of men, it’s that a woman must always catch a man’s attention because without a man’s attention, a woman has nothing. She is nothing. What makes Sarah happiest right now is that she has the attention of a great many men. If her favorite thing is telling herself she will be the next president of the United States each time she passes a reflective surface, her second favorite thing is to sit in a conference room full of men in their crisp, slightly sweaty dress shirts and designer slacks with their earnestness and condescension and turn away from the table just enough to slowly cross and uncross her legs. She’ll allow her eyes to crinkle, the corners of her mouth turning up slightly and she’ll lean forward just enough for her blouse to part. She’ll watch them and the predictable way their eyes follow the toned muscles of her calves up to her breasts. They’ll clear their throats and adjust their ties and shift uncomfortably in their seats. She knows what they’re thinking—they’re thinking if they play their cards right, they too could be fucking the next president of the United States.

If her favorite thing is telling herself she will be the next president of the United States and her second favorite thing is toying with boys in conference rooms, then her third favorite thing is to read the things people say about her. When she’s flying between cities and the men in suits are buzzing around planning the future of the world, she loves to sit with her laptop, alone, reading about her inexperience and right wing politics and the tanning bed in the Governor’s Mansion which, it must be known, is one of the few places where she can have a moment to herself, and as such is a crucial part of the gubernatorial process. The caustic barbs and Photoshopped images and conspiracy theories about the maternity of her youngest don’t bother her. They’re a turn-on. They are talking about the next president of the United States, she thinks. And they just don’t get it. I could give a shit about reproductive health or alternative energy or tax cuts because when the old man kicks it, sooner than later, I will be fucking in the fucking East Wing.

One of the GOP aides who’s been assigned to Sarah is an eager young man with an earnest, serious haircut named Conor, with one “n.” He is tall and handsome in that uptight, muscular manner unique to Republican men whose bodies have not yet given way to too much bourbon, too much red meat and too many cigars. Conor recently graduated from one of those elite East Coast schools that the Republicans love to criticize but always attend. He has not been out of school long enough to realize that a degree in political science teaches one exactly nothing about politics and this ignorance is somehow endearing to Sarah. Conor is not very bright but he is good at getting things. He always knows the location of her phone, husband, glasses and suit jacket. He also knows how she takes her coffee and maintains custody of a pack of Marlboro Reds at all times. These are not inconsequential skills.

On those nights when Sarah is alone, when Todd is back in Alaska looking after their brood, Sarah is not really alone and it is not a well-kept secret. Amongst her staffers, it is not Trig Palin’s maternity in question but rather, the boy’s paternity. Some time after midnight, after she’s slipped out of her suit and set her glasses on the night stand, and she’s watching the image of a late night talk show host flicker silently on the TV screen, she’ll hear a soft tap at the door. She’ll wait for a second knock, and then she’ll open the door and let Conor in because in addition to getting things, he’s also fairly adept at giving things. He’ll look both ways, making sure the hallway is empty because he doesn’t yet realize that there are no secrets on the campaign trail. When he thinks the coast is clear, he will slide past the door and lean against it as it shuts. He’s always wearing jeans and a t-shirt and Sarah enjoys seeing the boy out of uniform.

“Madame Governor,” he’ll say, shivering because Sarah likes to keep her hotel room frigidly cold. It reminds her of home.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chauncey DeVega's World of Ghetto Nerds: WWE's "New York" Video



Why not? Let's enjoy this before the copyright monsters at WWE Corporate take it down.

This was the best part of the MSG show last night. And whatever we smart marks feel about professional wrestling at the moment, the folks in Stamford have always put together great video packages. I remember all of those moments--how old am I/we getting? In revisiting them I just couldn't help but have a smile on my face. Having been to MSG for (then) WWF shows, she really is a special place.

The other thought that I could not suppress was just how lacking in majesty the current crop of Cena's, Hardy's and the other post Attitude era stars are in comparison to the legends of the long and recent past.

Gorilla Monsoon, Andre, Captain Lou, Owen, Miss Elizabeth, Eddie, we miss you all. And Chris, we miss you too.

But enough criticism from me, I am going to mark out and reminisce for a moment or two.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Racial Divide is Bridged by Hard Times in Barack Obama's America or Ain't No Racism in the Unemployment Line



But Dennis and Jenny Duncan, a white couple who once owned millions of dollars in real estate assets as former developers, felt equally stymied. Interviewed in the lavish home they built for themselves, they said the sheriff had just come to call and told them their belongings would soon be seized to satisfy debts. Unlike Ms. Rucker, neither has a college degree, making work difficult to find.

The idea that the recession is an equalizer has become accepted in Henry County. Both black and white residents were hesitant to say that either race had taken a greater hit. But Ms. Taylor, the black woman who dispensed advice at the county food stamp office, said there were some notable distinctions between blacks and whites.

“They’re a little weaker than we are at handling things like this,” she said, adding without rancor, “but I know they get more sympathy than we do.”

****
Poor whites and poor blacks sitting in a tree k-i-s-s-i-n-g.

As suggested by the New York Times piece "A Racial Divide is Bridged by Hard Times," race and class in Barack Obama's America is (re)set once again.

My curiosity about the role of race in American life was first stimulated by my introduction in high school to the 19th c. Populist Movement. During this time white farmers were organizing against exploitation by Capital. Black farmers in the South had were also disempowered by the same structural forces. Unfortunately, the proposals by (even more) forward thinking White Populists to ally with Black farmers never came to fruition. To my eyes, this seemed like a perfect alliance, why wouldn't poor white people ally with poor black people? Frankly, not taking advantage of this moment didn't make sense to my hopeful teen eyes.

As I would later learn, this has been the story of race and class in America, from our factories, to the farms, to the cotton trade in Texas and the Southwest, opportunities for alliances across the lines of race for the common good were derailed by white racism. With those rare exceptions such as the United Mine Workers, sadly, white skin privilege would trump the material gains of cooperation. False consciousness wins again, no? The White racial id (or is it shadow?)--the appeal to white supremacy that is not inseparable from the invention of Whiteness and the White race--hovers over all things.

What to make of these temporary "alliances?" Is this the same old story of black and brown folks being the miner's canary (one of my favorite terms)? As always, extending a lifeline to white folks who have fallen down? Will anything come of this? Will the children of the white middle class that have fallen from grace soften their attitudes about race and poverty? Will being poor cease to be a stigma once poverty has been colored more White? Will poor Whites respond with hostility to black folks as their "natural" rivals in these hard times? Or will the backlash be against "illegal immigrants?"

As the old joke goes "those people" are on welfare, while "we" receive subsidies, social security, tax breaks, etc. etc. etc. Will this narrative reinscribe itself during our Great Recession?

A Racial Divide Is Bridged by Hard Times

McDONOUGH, Ga. — During the housing boom, Henry County, a suburb of Atlanta, had its share of racial tension as more and more blacks joined the tens of thousands of others pouring in, creating a standoffish gap between the newcomers and the county’s oldtimers.

But the recession has begun to erase those differences.

Blacks and whites have encountered one another in increasing numbers recently in the crowded waiting rooms of the welfare office and at the food pantry, where many of both races have ventured for the first time. Struggling black-owned businesses are attracting the attention of white patrons. Neighbors are commiserating across racial lines.

At the Division of Family and Children Services, Keasha Taylor, 36 and black, helped explain the system recently to a white mother. Ms. Taylor, who was there because her family had been evicted, told the mother, who was in line for food stamps, that a child with acute asthma might be eligible for Social Security.

“Right now, a lot of white people are in this situation,” Ms. Taylor said, recalling the conversation later. “We’re already used to poverty; they’re really not.”

Denese Rodgers, the county director of social services, who is white, has held several lunch meetings at A J’s Turkey Grill, owned by Diane Walker, a black woman, in hopes of helping business.

“It was in one of our abandoned strip malls, a forlorn looking kind of place, but when you walk in, it’s just pristine,” Ms. Rodgers said. “She’s doing everything right, it’s just not full.”

Peggy Allgood, a 54-year-old black woman who lost her job and four-bedroom house and is now living in a trailer park, said she had noticed the recession obliterating racial differences up and down the economic scale.

“It’s gotten to the point where everyone I talk to, their hours have been cut, their jobs have been cut,” Ms. Allgood said. “My neighbor, she’s white, she’s trying to find a job. She hasn’t had any luck.”

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bill Belichick's Stunning Decision to Give Peyton Manning the Ball on the 30--or Bill's Worst Night as Coach of the New England Patriots



I feel like Dudley at the bicycle store right now. Yes, the refs gave Faulk a horrid spot. But, Belichick should have either 1) not blown the timeouts and thus have been able to challenge the spot or 2) simply punted the ball.

I am a New England Patriots mark. I am stunned (now twice, our loss to the Giants being the first) by Belichick's decision to give Peyton Manning the ball on the 30. If I were playing Madden 2009 then surely I go for it, and then I lay down to allow the offense an easy 6 points. This decision then allows me to get the ball back quickly and go up the field. In real life, with home field advantage at stake, you don't make calls like Belichick's.

I must ask, has Bill lost the confidence of the defense with this betrayal? He doesn't trust his "D" to stop Manning, or at least to limit the Colts to a field goal? One other thought: Lawrence Maroney is not a franchise running back. There I said it.

I am rendered silent. Your thoughts?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Some Friday Afternoon Happiness Pills--Alexyss Tylor's Interview with the Trashman, Pastor Manning's Thanksgiving, and Chris Rock's Good Hair



There is a big brown shark coming. Social science theory in action: key concept--infrapolitics.

The last few posts have been heavy with all this talk about racism, white privilege, and less than respectable negro behavior. To boot, it is Friday the 13th....a two for one blow against this respectable negro's spirits. And don't hate on my fear of Friday the 13th or I will have to ask Brother X-Squared to come back early from his world wind media tour and share some wisdom with you all.

When in need of merriment, crack open a bottle of Youtube, sit back, and relax. Here are 3 videos guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.

Happiness Pill Number One

Pastor Manning is lecturing Barack Obama for his poor form in not inviting his Kenyan grandmother to Thanksgiving. What is Obama hiding? Is he afraid that his Kenyan grandma will expose the "truth" that Obama is not an American citizen? Is Obama just too cheap to fly grandma Obama over here from Kenya? Hmmmm.....inquiring minds want to know! {I am laughing already} Random thought: I would love to see Pastor Manning perform spoken word poetry with Maya Angelou at Carnegie Hall. Now I would pay five, ten, or even twenty dollars to see that show. Are you with me?



Happiness Pill Number Two

Oh my muse Alexyss Tylor, I cannot get enough of you. A few months back she interviewed "The Trashman." You may know him not by his moniker, but for his crime: The Trashman was the gentlemen who was imprisoned for poisoning Gerber babyfood in a failed extortion scheme. Oh no! Don't you dare sleep on the Trashman as he is much more than a small time con artist. Alexyss's guest is actually an expert on prison culture, booty love, and the pleasures and perils of "the chitterling hole." Be awed by his brilliance and wisdom:



Happiness Pill Number Three

Oh praise the echo effect. I am going to Radio Shack right now to buy a vocoder or some other device to modulate my voice. Everything you say with an echo effect sounds profound. Think about when you are at Wendy's ordering a Spicy Chicken Sandwich Combo--with the echo effect--you will sound like God himself preaching from on high. So what in fact does the echo effect enhanced Mayor of Blacktown have to say about black women and their piss colored blond hair? How black women's obsession with haircare products has sapped the political economy of Black America? I bet you know already...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Columbia University White Privilege Fight Update Number One--Let's Check the Comments Section! What Does It Tell Us About Post-Racial America?

The story of Professor McIntyre's unfortunate break with respectable negro behavior, i.e. punching a woman in the face while in a heated disagreement about white privilege has generated quite a few comments on the NY Post's website. As I have done in the past, let's check the peanut gallery to get a thermometer reading of the state of race relations in the age of Obama. Once more, are the masses asses? Let's proceed...

Frank 11/11/2009 6:17 PM

Are we dealing here with another equal oppourtunity placement? A professor who got the job over who knows how many qualified candidates? How about black privilege? Take Professor Gates up at Harvard another nasty piece of work. Both of them spew hate and in the case of this guy resort to beating woman who don't take kindly to their views. God help us with Obama the wonder black in the White House with his First Lady Michelle Le Shawn Robinson Obama on Sesame Street.People like these indoctrinating the youth of our land and acting as role models for the next generation of blacks. Soon enough their day will be over as Hispanics rise through the ranks. Hispanics work, keep their family units intact and mostly I think we can live with them in peace and respect.

Mark 11/11/2009 5:46 PM

Its been black privilege for many blacks for awhile now. DO YOU THINK IF HE WERE WHITE AND PUNCHED A BLACK FEMALE IN THE FACE, HE COULD KEEP HIS JOB ETC! Not to mention the uproar from Sharpten and Jackson etc. One of the major problems are that kids are being brainwashed to believe that they are all victims and that whites are to blame of course. It is just creating racism! This professor was probably spoiled as a child who feels awfully sorry for himself. If he were a man of honor he would have a real voice to be listened too, instead of a bunch of politically correct brainwashed students to feed the blame game too!

NiceGuy 11/11/2009 5:16 PM

It was a hate crime, charge this kneegrow. He hit her and the man because they were white. And btw, some advice; when dealing with kneegrows always whack them first. before they can hit you. The white guy made a big mistake by just telling him not to hit a female and the kneegrow took it as a sign of weakness and hit him. Not too different from Travis the chimp. They only understand fear and dominance.

RightStuff 11/11/2009 5:13 PM

Murray and Herrnstein were correct. The "intellectual" McIntyre should pick up the book "The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life"

DcAreaFatCat 11/11/2009 4:57 PM

As is the case with the Fort Hood terrorist, Columbia probably had plenty of information about this professor and either chose to ignore it, or more likely elevated him to a higher stature that reflects what they consider to be a good professor. More than likely he is tenured, or will be soon. This is the calibre of professor that people who fund Columbia are paying for, so that is probably what they want.

dave 11/11/2009 3:59 PM

And the drive by media refers to the prof as an intellectual? They say that he is intelligent and respected? Guys like this and Major hasan are simply poster children for affirmative action and political correctness gone wild. They make me weep for our Nation.

oldgeez 11/11/2009 3:10 PM

People, please pay attention...nothing will come of this. First he is black. Second the first line of the article gives it away - "a prominent...'. Of course it's a hate crime, but nothing more will come of it. It will either be ignored, or someone or group will squeeze the victim into dropping any complaint.

Someone earlier mentioned that he said (paraphrasing) "he was sorry it escalated to this"...he actually never said "sorry" to anything, he said "It was a very unfortunate event," he said afterwards. "I didn't mean for it to explode the way it did." He can't even apologize. Black or white, what a pig.

Which, of course, makes me wonder how he meant for it to explode if not the way it did.

Whatever...no jail, no fine, no suspension. If the victim is lucky she might get compensated for her injury and distress, and to forget about it all.

PK 11/11/2009 2:43 PM

Welcome to Thunderdome! Two go in, one come out!

There's multiple levels of sublime hypocrisy to this: Isn't the outrage at someone sucker punching a woman and using an argument of victim/privilege itself resorting to chivalrous patronage and female victim privilge? If the black man had punched a white guy in the face, would it be ok?

Either women are equal, and need to accept the responsibilities and liabilities of said equality, or they are not. White female feminism has been closely allied to the race hustler game for decades now. Now they're going to devour each other.

nur07 11/11/2009 2:30 PM

Naturally we will hear from Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and all those other defenders of racial equality!

*cricket*

Oh wait, this is a white person that got "sucker punched" by a black person! My bad. In that case it is perfectly justified since white people are all bigoted, minority hating foes that should be wiped off the face of the earth so everyone else can live in peace and utopia.

Yes, that was sarcasm.

I have nothing at all against black people, but this is man is reprehensible. Why he was let out without bail is beyond me, but I suspect it may have something to do with the color of his skin. How about we talk about black/minority privilege? How about that for a change? According to the hate crime legislation that just passed they are now more equal than white folks. Talk about racism...We have a half black man in the White House and we are still getting beat up (literally) over so-called "white privilege." The man is a professor for goodness sake! Delusional! When is enough enough? Talk about a "hate" crime...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Black Professor Punches Woman in Heated Argument Over White Privilege or When Well Meaning White People Run Face First Into the Fist of Black Rage



I must admit, as frustrated as I may have been in my many discussions of white privilege, they have never come to fisticuffs. Unfortunately, on Monday of this week Professor McIntyre's self-control was far less stalwart. Random thought: will tenure protect him on this one? Or is he out on a moral's clause?

People of color have long learned the merits of sucking it in. Apparently, this policy of silent annoyance does occasionally result in moments of explosive rage.

Respectable negroes learn at an early age to be diplomatically neutral, if not silent, even when we are right. We must smile when we are upset. And of course, we must demure to White folks in matters of race because as in all things they are the ultimate experts. This is the irony of race relations in America. Historically, black folk (and others) have been a "problem" to be managed. Not "managed" by ourselves per se--our agency is not in doubt--but managed, made the object of bureaucratic and legal apparatuses, and the focal point of studies, research, and policy designed to solve the race problem in America. The Racial State manages bodies, personhood, and relationships. Implicit in this relationship is that White folks do the managing, and people of color are the pieces of the game that are to be coordinated.

Counter to this narrative is the fact that racism is a problem of the White soul. It is not Black and brown folk, but rather White people, who need to reflect on their own culpability and responsibility for the grotesque history (and present) of this society spanning, world organizing concept and regime.

What follows is the eureka moment upon which conversations about race more generally, and whiteness, in particular become so heated: necessity dictates that black folks and the Other are experts on White people, and by reversing the gaze (where Whiteness and White people are now made the objects of inquiry) feelings, emotions, and expectations can become dangerously impassioned.

The moment of reversal can result in two binary outcomes. For racial reactionaries and conservatives there is a fierce denial of White privilege, one that is prefaced on an unwillingness to accept the profound impact of race and racism on American social and political life. It is tragically funny then, that the racial resentment felt by White conservatives is exactly a response to the perception that their superior position is under threat:



For White liberals, especially self-described "progressives," White privilege is met with some acknowledgment where the responses follow a predictable script: "Sure racism is real, but I am not a racist, right?" Alternatively, these same progressives may assert that, "I am certainly fighting white privilege because I am a progressive, feminist, environmentalist, vegan. My bonafides are proven, thus I share no complicity in supporting or perpetuating social inequality."



My favorite of this genus is the racist White liberal. This purveyor of the soft bigotry of low-expectations expects little from people of color. And in their patronizing, he/she proceeds from a position of inherent superiority. In discussions of white privilege the racist White liberal is oftentimes the very person who introduces the concept. Ultimately, this is just another domain within which to grandstand, all the while maintaining one's expertise on people of color, the race problem, and white privilege. It is a coup of sorts because the expertise of racist white liberals on these matters is enabled by white privilege, all the while they rally against the very thing which sustains their "superiority." The result: people of color are rendered mute as experts on the condition of their own being.

Theorizing in a vacuum, what do you think precipitated the fight in the following story? Who is more racist and frustrating? Liberals or Conservatives? Do you have a favorite white privilege/male privilege/some other privilege story? One that ends in some exciting fireworks of tears, anger, rage, or just utter exacerbation? I must ask: Who is more likely to cry as a defense mechanism and distraction? I know the answer. I just want to here others confirm it. I will beg the question: Is White privilege even worth discussing? Or is it just a dead end where one ends up wasting energy by speaking to the honest (who already "get" it) as well as the disingenuous (who pretend to "get" it) alike?

From the NY Post, the story follows:

****
Prof busted in Columbia gal 'punch'

Last Updated: 1:17 PM, November 10, 2009

Posted: 2:57 AM, November 10, 2009

A prominent Columbia architecture professor punched a female university employee in the face at a Harlem bar during a heated argument about race relations, cops said yesterday.

Police busted Lionel McIntyre, 59, for assault yesterday after his bruised victim, Camille Davis, filed charges.

McIntyre and Davis, who works as a production manager in the school's theater department, are both regulars at Toast, a popular university bar on Broadway and 125th Street, sources said.

The professor, who is black, had been engaged in a fiery discussion about "white privilege" with Davis, who is white, and another male regular, who is also white, Friday night at 10:30 when fists started flying, patrons said.

McIntyre, who is known as "Mac" at the bar, shoved Davis, and when the other patron and a bar employee tried to break it up, the prof slugged Davis in the face, witnesses said.

"The punch was so loud, the kitchen workers in the back heard it over all the noise," bar back Richie Velez, 28, told The Post. "I was on my way over when he punched Camille and she fell on top of me."

The other patron involved in the dispute said McIntyre then took a swing at him after he yelled, "You don't hit a woman!"

"He knocked the glasses right off my face," said the man, who would only give his first name as "Shannon." "The punch came out of nowhere. Mac was talking to us about white privilege and what I was doing about it -- apparently I wasn't doing enough."

McIntyre had squabbled with Davis several weeks earlier over issues involving race, witnesses said. As soon as the professor threw the punch Friday, server Rob Dalton and another employee tossed him out.

"It was a real sucker punch," Dalton said. "Camille's a great lady, always nice to everybody, and doesn't deserve anything like this."

Davis was spotted wearing sunglasses yesterday to conceal the black eye. Reached at her Columbia office, she declined to comment on the alleged attack.

McIntyre was released without bail at his arraignment last night.

"It was a very unfortunate event," he said afterwards. "I didn't mean for it to explode the way it did."

Additional reporting by Sarah Makuta

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Brother X-Squared's First Guest Interview--The Cipher: A Conversation with a Revolutionary Black Thinker

One of our most stalwart allies, Brother X-Squared has been busy on these Internets. Last week, he gave an "exclusive" interview to the great website The Intersection of Madness & Reality. Hosted by Brother Rippa, our very own resident black nationalist expounded (as only he can) on terrorism, the boy in the balloon, and the state of Black America in these perilous times. Enjoy!

****
The Cipher: A Conversation with a Revolutionary Black Thinker

Today on the Intersection of Madness & Reality we have one of the most revered thinkers in the struggle for justice and equality (pictured above), Brother X-Squared; president of the North American Chapter of the Renewed Black Panther Party. I had the pleasure of coming to know X-Squared from the good folks at WARNN (We Are Respectable Negroes News Network) at the blog We Are Respectable Negroes. If you haven't had the opportunity to at least checkout or frequent their blog, you're truly missing out. Seriously, do yourself a favor and add their blog to your daily reading because they're stamped and RiPPa approved. Recently I had the privilege of chopping it up with the brother and the following is an exclusive transcript of our conversation

RiPPa: Welcome Brother X-Squared.

Brother X-Squared: It is a pleasure to finally have the opportunity to speak with you Brother Rippa. Your name is an inspiration. It signals strength, power, dignity, and honor. I know from your works--'cause I monitor the white man's Internets in an effort to sabotage the white man's efforts to use tricknology to manipulate the mental mindstates of the captive Black African, especially the bastion of evil Youtube where you can see all manner of black foolishness--that you too are a warrior in the struggle against white supremacy. Your name also has many levels of meaning Brother Rippa. Do you understand that your name also is a dualism? A polyhedron of knowledge that resonates throughout the multiverse?

RiPPa: Not sure if my name is Swahili for anything, or even what a polyhedron is all about, but I'd appreciate if you could expand on that for me my brother.

Brother X-Squared: Rippa is a name that makes sense. It embodies energy. It speaks truth. Obviously, you shed your slave name in order to rename yourself as a strong, righteous, black man. You see, Brother Rippa you are not one of these baby boy, little girl sissy men who was named by a an illegitimate, ghetto underclass, confused, cum dumpster implement of the white man's evil like that sad negress in that damned to hell movie Precious. Rippa exudes dignity and intelligence unlike those Shaquan's, Latrelle's, Tyrone's, and those other names common to the NBA—Nigger Ball Association--that signal from birth that you are destined for the white man's prison. Human fodder for his prison industrial complex.

RiPPa: Well that puts a lot of pressure on me now that I know this. Which is actually scary when I think of it Brother X. Next thing you know I'll be on the FBI watch-list like those brothers in Dearborn Michigan. Of course you heard what happened to them the other day didn't you?

Brother X-Squared: I heard of those pigs killing my fellow revolutionary. Do you know how many men died in the battle of the Somme in 1915?

RiPPa: Not exactly but I'm sure there were many.

Brother X-Squared: Almost 1 million of those white devils died. And that number is nothing compared to how many of our brothers have been killed by the white man's slave catchers and enforcers of his white supremacist racial state. That martyr won't be the last...no way, there will be many many more. You asked me about fear? About being afraid?

RiPPa: Yes I did; isn't it natural for a man like you, a Black man in America to ever be fearful? Surely you must be, right?

Brother X-Squared: You clearly don't know who I am Brother Rippa. I am disappointed. I have never shown fear. The only being I fear is the almighty Black God, the creator of the universe. Death is a comfort to me Brother Rippa. You see, I am a modern day samurai. I am their heir in action. The samurai were the greatest warriors the world has ever seen because they welcomed death, they went into battle as dead men looking to earn back their lives. Just like those strong Nubian warriors the Jem'hadar in those white space movies Star Trek, victory is life for all true revolutionaries. I welcome battle with the white man and his death squads. But, I know they won't come for me because I am too strong, too black, and too powerful. They understand that Brother X-Squared is too educated to fall for their nonsense and trickery. I use their own Constitution and Bill of Rights against them. I keep a copy of it in my pocket as a reminder of their wickedness. Those sacred documents have also given the Black man a tool to use against those white tricksters and forked tongue devils. I slay him--just like you do Brother Rippa--with his own laws and principles.

RiPPa: Wow, brothers in outer space - never gave it any thought. Sorry about that brother, I hope I didn't offend you in any way. But anyway; usually "conscious" or "enlightened" Black men such as you often come to this point in their lives through incarceration, is this true for you as well? And what are your thoughts on the vaccination of prisoners before "law abiding" citizens?

Brother X-Squared: Apology accepted. To know when one is wrong and to change one's course of action is the path of the enlightened new Black Man. For adhering to those tenets you are to be praised. Again, the media is controlled by the White Man. Notice--I capitalized his name to emphasize how powerful the white man's media is. In a democracy the media is supposed to serve a watchdog function, it is the fourth estate as those European sissy feminine white intellectuals called it in the 18th century, that should be holding the Man to the fire and giving the people knowledge. Now, it is all corporate. Like Noam Chomsky said--a decent white man--this is about manufacturing consent, about making the people malleable and feeding them lies. People who believe that only strong, smart, dedicated revolutionaries come from being inside of the white man's prisons, his rape houses where black men are turned into women and slaves, are victims of the mass media. So no prison for me Brother Rippa. I have been, will continue to be, and am always a revolutionary. I am the question and the answer. There is only Brother X-Squared.

RiPPa: Now that’s interesting considering that most brothers today do not reach the level of consciousness such as yourself without having done some time in prison.

Brother X-Squared: As for this inoculating prisoners. This is right out of white supremacy and capitalism 101. You all need to read more Marx, Gramsci, Foucalt, and those others thinkers on this issue of power, the body, and labor. You see slavery wasn't just about racism. Oh no, this was about getting the black man's labor. We are the strongest men in the world and we are worth more than our weight in gold. Those little Indians in Latin America had this white catholic priest devil--you do know that Catholicism is a foul white religion, a mixture of crazy Druid and Nature worshipping and magic with Christianity Brother Rippa? That is why their popes and priests dress like they are conducting a magic ceremony, all that talk of turning blood into wine! Nothing but magic--back to my original point, that devil who saved the Indians was named Bartoleme de las Casas. This devil argued that the Indians were too weak to be slaves and that the Black Gods from Africa should be brought to what they called "The New World" to work forever. This relationship has continued for centuries.

From slavery to freedom the Black man has been cheap labor. Now, and this is so deep Brother so listen carefully, the prisons are being used as labor camps. When you call United Airlines, or when you order from certain catalogs, that is going right to the jail. In California--that land stolen from my brothers in Mexico, Viva La Raza you and your struggle are not forgotten, Brown and Black Power!—the government uses prisoners to make furniture and clothes that it sells at a huge profit. Check out the book Slavery by Another name, it is deep. That book talks about what was called the convict lease system in the South during Jim Crow. What ignorant captive new Africans in America call the chain gang. Those poor people were slaves, captured by the government and then sold to big companies. This Swine Flu lie--it is a lie, because this is actually a biological weapon engineered by some white devil, he was made from wicked science, and wicked science will continue to be his favorite tool--will result in society crumbling. To remake it, they will need a captive labor force. Thus, their protecting the prisoners.

Nothing is new Brother Rippa the game has never changed.

It is sad, that right now, even in this Depression, so many dumb NBA and Hip Hop coons and their fans are walking around with all that gold and junk on their necks. Bragging about chains! Damn the mental assault on our subliminals is so deep, that these young fools are reenacting being on a chain gang like they were slaves! Poor fools don't even know it. The poor black man is recreating the conditions of his own oppression.

RiPPa: So the white man is pretty slick with his tricknology, huh?

Brother X-Squared: Tricknology is his primary means of control. Check the book Guns, Germs, and Steel. The white man used his weapons of war, his evil to conquer the world. How did a small part of the world, with comparatively few people, cave dwellers at that, come to dominate the world? Through the wickedness of their technology. The white man knows no limits of morality. Therefore, he can make all sorts of foul implements of war. Nuclear bombs. Machine guns. Explosives. All manner of evil. Even the Internets. Damn brother, pay attention now because this is gonna blow your mind. These Internets were made by the US military and their group called DARPA---Defense, Advanced, Research, Projects, Administration so that the military could communicate following a nuclear war. Now they let "the people" use it for "communication." Nope, they are monitoring you at all times. These internets are tricknology, tricknology that most of you captive ignorant coon moon crickets who slave for the white man are married to and controlled by. You all don't even know it! Watch the Matrix films brothers! Free you mind! Everytime I see a captive black african with an Ipod or Iphone or other mess I shake my head. Mental slavery, right out of a Phillip K. Dick novel, and you folks are living it right now.

RiPPa: Tell me something I don't know.

Brother X-Squared: Boys in balloons. Did you see that story about the fame crazed bunch of white people with that mixed race child who staged that balloon nonsense?

RiPPa: Yes, wasn't that crazy? I'd like to see someone Black pull that one off.

Brother X-Squared: White people go up in balloons and the whole world stops for that nonsense. Black people, black children are being killed on these streets, right at sea level and the white media doesn't give a damn. Black people are being shot down in the street on terra firma and no white person cares. The white man is so obvious with his agenda and how he values the lives of his children...let there be a rumor one of them is in trouble--or God forbid a white woman, some Miss Ann is in trouble...probably killed by her own evil white husband or boyfriend or a white serial killer because as we know they have a lock on that...and you have some Amber alert, red alert, stop the world bs that some white media news station will cover forever. But, let some Black queen get in trouble and they could care less. Post-racial America? Please. White Supremacist America is more like it! The Black man needs to wake up and see the tricknology right in front of his very eyes. I can fight the fight for you sad, captive negroes, but I can't win the war unless you all wake up!

RiPPa:. One last question: is/was Jesus Christ a Black man?

Brother X-Squared: Does a Pigeon fly in circles after it has been flying near salt water and eating almonds? Of course it does! Brother use your negro truisms and folk tales to understand the world around you! It is a self-evident fact that Jesus, the most high, the ultimate bad ass and freedom fighter who took on the credit cards of his day and the pimps is a BLACK MAN. How could he be anything but? Tell me!

RiPPa: Well it sure has been a pleasure Brother X-Squared having you here at the intersection of Madness & Reality. I'd like you to know that the door is always open for you to come on through and share your infinite wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

Brother X-Squared: It was a pleasure. Peace and honor. Stay strong in the struggle.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday Random Goodness: Hip Hop Philosophy with the RZA's New Book The Tao of Wu



I love the Wu-Tang Clan. Most importantly, I never forget that Old Dirty Bastard and Wu-Tang is for the children.



I won't categorize this clip under hip hop as cliche by virtue of RZA's appearing on PBS (but it is pretty close...maybe I am just biased). From the RZA's musings on speed chess, innovations in musical production and distribution, as well as his habitus--that is fancy, academic speak for the RZA's style, energy, and sense of place--Mr. Robert Diggs clearly possesses a philosopher's soul. Who else would so carefully parse Ol Dirty's final words, so poignant, that "I don't understand." Damn indeed, I never have seen a man cry, till I seen a man die.

Some quick questions: Is there such a thing as hip hop philosophy? Or is philosophy so laden by the Western canon (and its Eurocentric baggage) that hip hop has its own unique system of thinking about, reflecting upon, and generating knowledge? Is RZA's philosophical vision some version of Africana philosophy? If you are giving a book to a young adult as his or her life manual, which would you choose? The Tao of Pooh or The Tao of Wu? Bobby Digital? Artistic genius? or piece of garbage conveniently forgotten and justifiably consigned to the dustbin of music history.

Bonus clip: let us not forget that Ghostface Killah is also a philosopher...a philosopher of the mysteries of love--



Saturday, November 7, 2009

Chauncey DeVega says: Charlotte History Teacher Reenacts Slavery with His Black Students or Now that is One Dumb--and Soon to be Unemployed--Black Man



There is a bit of an uproar in Charlotte, N.C., as parents, teachers and the local NAACP are livid over a civil war lesson that supposedly went wrong during a Rea View Elementary school class trip to Latta Plantation on Wednesday.

According to WSOCTV.com, Ian Campbell, a black historian, had three black students, already a racial minority in their class, model cotton-picking slaves, with bags around their necks, in front of their peers. Kojo Nantambu, president of the NAACP in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, is one of many who believes the demonstration was both insensitive and poorly executed:

There is a lingering pain, a lingering bitterness, a lingering insecurity and a lingering sense of inhumanity since slavery. Because that's still there, you want to be more sensitive than politically correct or historically correct.

Campbell, though, begs to differ. As a historian of 15 years, he argues that he has had kids partake in demonstrations before, and this is the first time there has been a complaint. Campbell also believes he is being historically accurate...

****

To paraphrase Robert Dinero in the movie Casino, "now that is one dumb black man."

I believe in the power of experiential learning. But, one has to act both appropriately and considerately. For example, in a society where black children continue to be marginalized, ought one to further dis empower them in class? I am less worried about the idea that reenacting slavery "stigmatized" these children because there is no shame in being the descendants of a people who were enslaved by others. Moreover, Africans in America fought at every step for their freedom--and improved American democracy through their efforts--so I feel no lingering embarrassment or lack of pride in my people or their accomplishments.

My concern is that while the lesson was effective in one sense (for the white kids in class, having to see how a seemingly arbitrary decision about the personhood of their friends can be based on something as "simple" as the color of one's skin) can never replicate, not in any way, the dehumanizing, violent, and debasing experience that was chattel slavery. In fact, if the point of Mr. Campbell's lesson plan was to encourage the children to reflect on slavery as something more than a historical abstraction and mere curiosity, he could have instead made the white children slaves. Or if he were really sharp, Mr. Campbell would have auctioned off the white children in an imaginary slave market where their peers, as well as students from other classes, could have bid on them.

Alternatively, Mr. Campbell could have even done some version of the classic blue eyes/browns eyes experiment to greater effect and far less controversy.

I have tried to use experiential learning techniques in my classes on race with mixed results. The white students resented having to discuss their relative privilege. In fact, several opted out of the exercise (here: the privilege walk). In the same instance, the black students (with the other students of color somewhere in the middle in terms of their comfort level) were disgusted with having the present and persistent realities of racial privilege as inextricably tied to past inequalities of race, wealth, and opportunity laid bare for all to see. I suppose they wanted to keep this naked "secret" all to themselves.

For those teachers and educators among us, how have these exercises worked out for you in class? Are we being too hard on Mr. Campbell? Is this all to do about nothing? How would the public respond if it were a simulation of the Holocaust for example? Would there be the same amount of controversy? Is Mr. Campbell a visionary who we should be encouraging?

The story follows here.