Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Peanut Gallery Speaks: A Video of a 29 Year Old Barack Obama Surfaces; Conspiranoid Conservatives Go Crazy



I love the Right-wing echo chamber and their peanut gallery. Of course, extreme partisanship and gross ideology leaves all involved less intelligent and prone to drooling, half-formed mouth utterances; but what counts as "discourse" by populist Conservatives, and their supplicants, rises above mere mediocrity and to the level of performance art.

A new video of a "young" 29 year old Barack Obama has recently surfaced. In this "Black History Minute," he offers a comment on Charles Hamilton Houston, the mentor of the first African American Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. This video is a novelty in the best sense of the word: the soon to be first black president of the United States reflecting on the first African American member of the Supremes; we get a glimpse of a boyish, accomplished, and not yet fully polished man, who would soon become the most powerful person on planet Earth.

In all, some good stuff.

But, if you wear the blinders of the Tea Party GOP and are addicted to the Right-wing talking point crack rock, you see something nefarious, racist, a sign of all the evil that is to come, and evidence of a conspiracy by the "mainstream media" to suppress the release of this decades old video because it would have derailed Barack Obama's campaign for President.

I do love the twisted, labyrinth-like, minds of those who reside in the Right-wing echo chamber--as we must study our enemies in the interest of protecting the Common Good.

As I occasionally do, dredging the sewer and septic tank of the Conservative blogosphere for your enjoyment, here is a selection of comments from the Daily Caller:

joe grandberg

Those who espouse "fixing the deficits" by stripmining more revenue from the productive class have no comprehension of the trillions owed and the continuing indebtedness thanks to this president. It is mathematically impossible to pay off at any rate of "growth" so the US will PRINT or DEFAULT. Are you prepared? You'll remember dismissing these comments as "hyperbole" and regret not listening.

Joseph Hores

The conservative Republicans are the only ones who I see actually supporting the constitution. The (so-called conservatives, as you call them) faulse conservatives, are the 'so-called' neo-cons, and rinos. Real conservatives are not bad for the republic. If not for the conservatives, the Progressive Left would have this country much farther down the toilet of Socialism.

The Left uses the accusation of racisim because they 'feel' that they can get some taction, due to the fact that they still think that everyone is afraid of the charge. Liberalism is not about being honest, it is about wining with any propaganda and mud slinging that is usable. Grow up, the Libs care not one little bit about honest debate exept to avoid it.

You are not doing much good at dissuading pepole of the notion of that Ron Paul folks have a high percentage of NUTS.

John Breckenridge

Amazing,

his English in this video is without any Southern or Black sounding accents.
Wow, he later on must have put a lot of effort in order to sound like a black
person who was born and raised in the United States of America!

woodpecker1

Twenty years ago was about the time the "Rev" Wright, David Axelrod and other American hating Socialist started grooming BHO to be the Socialist Dictator of the United States.

chisco1

Then you are aware of the racism that is behind the attacks on Herman Cain -- Mr. Cain, in all likelihood, has GOT to be obama's "worst nightmare", and I truly believe that with Herman Cain's business success, REAL intellectual prowess, and even his FAR more personable demeanor, a Herman Cain presidency would sppotlight the FLAWS in the "obama adventure" we've all be subjected to. If Cain is the nominee, I WOULD ABSOLUTELY vote for him!!!!

Armedpatriot

Vet their leaders??? No, destroy the Republicans. B.O. has admitted to using pot and cocaine. He has been accused of homosexual sex, (heard that on the drive by media?) his administration has been involved with funding (money laundering) his top donors and unions, ie UAW, SEIU, AFL-CIO, and teachers unions through the stimulus bill, Solyndra, Beacon Power, etc. His administration has 1/2 as much of the debt as ALL THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATIONS SINCE GEORGE WASHINGTON, all spent on failed policies.

The B.O. Administration has been involved in Operation Fast and Furious, which would have brought down any president if the media were honest and dug into this. They have raped the treasury and thrown this country into a depression, refused to make NECESSARY cuts in spending to entitlements and unrealistic programs (NEA, PBS, NPR) that can only lead to further collapse and calamity, and embraced the lawless anarchy and riots that are going on at this very moment (just wait till next spring/summer).

No, The press isnt interested in vetting. They are interested in destroying any competitor to B.O. as they are not only complacent, but complicate. They are the propaganda wing of the White House.

elainepacheco

The Marxist, Islamist, anti American and his training wheels. No one can watch this and think were he not Black, he never would have been the editor of the Harvard Law Review. Were he White, he would have been seen as mediocre. It reminds me of the saying,' It's easy to stand out when the level of competence is so low." Everyone should be judged on their ability, this affirmative action crap at all levels of society has resulted in an "adjusted scale" for competence, and frankly, this sub standard POTUS is costing the US dearly home and abroad. We can't afford to select or promote someone because they are a color we want to feel good about ourselves!

Lonecoolman

OHMGOD! FTA: "As the 2012 election cycle heats up, the Obama campaign should expect more early videos to be unearthed as Americans take a closer look at the early beliefs of their President."

Don't you think the MEDIA and those Americans should have done their homework the first time!!!!

This man is a fraud those of us screaming it in 2008, were poo poo'd as fanatics, NOW America's CHICKENS are coming home to roost!

Elilla Shadowheart

Boy oh boy. The media sure could have done a bang up job nearly 4 years ago digging this up. But nah, what the hell am I talking about. This guy is their pet favorite.

chisco1

I'd believe that this is barack obama except for one thing -- he's ACTUALLY LOOKING INTO the camera! The barack obama we all know now almost NEVER does that -- HIS head is on a swivel from one TOTUS to the other -- and looking straight into the camera is NOT what liars do!!!!

None None

You should have used a qualifier, "Allegedly graduated from Harvard Law School". No one has ever seen a transcript or diploma to prove it and no one remembers having classes with him.

Ramrod

DEmocratic policies responsible for Economic collapse you can go back to Jimmy Carter who passed the community reinvestment act when the Govt started forcing Banks to make risky loans to the poor then the DOPE from HOPE Bill Clinton doubled down on Community reinvestment act and made it easier for the poor to buy houses which gave us the Sub prime no income verification process were people were allowed to borrow upwards of 500,000 thousand clams without even haven to prove they had a JOB. Left Wing Social engineering at its worst. Hey loonie Leftist havent you herd? Central planning does not Work it failed in Russia,North Korea,Cuba etc.Best thing to do is cut size of Federal Govt by 90% the Founders understood the limitations of Govt seems like the american people have lost their way if they think Govt can fix things.Govt would screw up a cup of coffee.

msperfect

There's a video on you-tube where a young woman on welfare desribes her benefits: free housing, food stamps even for McDonald's and other fast food places, free daycare. She ends by saying "Why would I want to work:".. That's the Obama notion for all of America.

Eagle8108

So did his white half do a "white history minute?" You know, the half that didn't abandon him... the half that raised him... the "typical white person" half. It's all about race with this douchebag... then and now. I guess when you've got no other qualifications or executive acumen, you have to trade on the ancestry of your deadbeat dad and a teleprompter.

Razor

There is no need rationalizing with the liberal left. They have their opinion and the middle and right has their own. There is no compromise nor agreement to be had. The embrace of the ows crowd by this administration and the lib democraps in wa is understanding enough. They are the enemy as bad or worse than any abroad in the eyes of the right. They loath us on the right and we loath them right back.

Biff

Yes, the voice is discernibly deeper, but the tone is much less condescending or arrogant. Perhaps he should just let Michelle keep his balls a while longer.

LeeBoice

You don't know what the f*ck your even talking about . We broke from England to be free of a strong central all powerful government . Obma 'would be king if he could and you know it .
Leftist swine like you want the same kind of all powerful government that owns and runs and dictates EVERYTHING and takes care of you , cradle to the grave. Thats the exact opposite of why the country was formed. Now that I have sufficiently smacked the crap out of your stupid statements I think you need to get off line and let educated folks talk on here. Marixist a hole

Mr-spike007

Thats Not the Same Person who Goes by the Alias of Obama look at his Buck Teeth and
Cheek Bones, No We Know Why the Stooge Secret Service Collaborators when Searching
for a Water Glass that went missing at a Recent Fund Raiser So No One Could Lift the
Finger Prints the Person in this Video has Long Been Liquidated.

fribble

"I'm Arrogant Phony, Barack Obama. "formed a cadre" and "masterminded" "Mr. Justice ....Thurgood Marshall." "I've never done and never will, accomplish anything. I'm Barack Obama and I'm an angry half-black who is glomming onto a cause to make a false life out of my false life." "It's all I've got and my life is a lie and I am a lie." "Thank you for noticing who really awesome I am. I have a gift.........for BS."

AlphaOneAlpha

"Additional vintage videos of the president may yet emerge for the benefit of a public more eager than ever to vet their future leaders."

Yeah, in 2007 and 2008 our corrupt media gave a big pass to Obama. They did not look into ANYTHING about his background. Nor did they whine when Obama produced noting in terms of his history...school grades, who paid for his education, etc, etc.
What we did get were two books written by Obama (or BIll Ayers, his American born America hater)

Joanie

I find it hard to believe anyone would vote for obama. He has destroyed our country and four more years with him will be total destruction. Forget his color, his liberalism, his false promises and education yourself about what is going on. It's not hard, just look around you and compare the last four years and the four years before obama. Hint: gas was about $1.75 a gallon before obama's time in the WH. It wouldn't hurt to study history either, try Argentina, it was a thriving country before its downfall. With obama America is following the same pattern.

Perhaps IQ tests should be given before anyone can vote.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Disposable History: Tweeting World War Two; Tweeting The Middle Passage and Slavery; Losing Ourselves



I am a bit ambivalent about "tweeting" World War 2...

There is a great deal of pressure to make the study of history and politics "relevant" to "the general public" and "young learners." The arguments are familiar: history must be made to come "alive" if it is to remain relevant; technology is an aid, an enhancement to how we share information and communicate with one another. Thus, it must be embraced, lest our culture stagnate.

I am not a Luddite. However, I do not think that newer is necessarily better. In the case of "tweeting" World War 2, I am unsure if there is any value gained from the exercise. Moreover, there is a wealth of film, radio, and other footage about World War 2--much of it still not seen or heard by the general public--so why reinvent the wheel?

Alwyn Collison is ambitious and should be commended for his efforts. Nevertheless, the question remains: what does an instantaneous, blow-by-blow accounting of World War 2 "as it happened" on Twitter expose, accomplish, or make more clear?

My worry about these types of projects is not that Google (and the Internet, more generally) is making us more stupid (which remains an open question). Rather, that some experiences are cheapened, and basic misunderstandings of the complexity of social/historical and political events furthered, by a limitation of form. Can a person really capture the spirit of World War Two in bits of text that are no longer than 140 characters?

Reality is mediated. We learn about the world in part through the mass media, and are also bounded by the limits of our own sensory perceptions. These limitations are important: they form the experience of a moment, and color how we locate a specific historical event in the proper framework and context.

For example, World War 2 was a war of radio and film. These mediums were central to how publics understood these world-changing events. The Civil War was a war of the telegraph and photographs. The Great War straddled these two moments. For outcomes, both ill and good, The Gulf Wars and the Afghan campaign are conflicts typified by immediate and near-instantaneous communication.

The lag between events, and how people removed from those direct happenings experienced them afterward, is part of the spirit of that age; in turn, distance and removal impacted how policy makers, the public, and elites responded to them. The closing of the distance between the front lines, war fighters, and commanders has changed how wars are fought. Ironically, the American public now gets its information "instantaneously" too--but, only after it has been sterilized and processed into an approved package by the propagandists, spin doctors, and dream merchants at the Pentagon and White House.

But, what of events that are made too comprehensible by Twitter, and thus in their immediacy gain "a matter of factness" which robs them of their import and historical weight?

For example:

How would one "tweet" the uprisings in the Warsaw Ghetto?

"The fighting is intense. We are out of ammo. Being killed and surrounded."

How would one "tweet" their being set upon by the SS as they are herded into cattle cars to the death camps?

"So scared. What is happening. They are taking our luggage, robbing people, beating them."

How would one "tweet" the bombings of Nagasaki or Hiroshima?

"I heard a noise, There was a bright light. I can barely see. I am burned all over. What happened?"

Reaching to another moment, how does one "tweet" The Middle Passage and the Transatlantic Slave Trade?

"Went to the other village. There was a raid. We are being locked up in this castle. Losing reception. So hot, scared, people dying."

How flattening and banal.

Some events ought to be incomprehensible. These same events also benefit from the distance of the photograph, the radio, the page, or perhaps even film and TV. But Twitter? I will have to pass.

Tweeting World War 2 is a well-intentioned effort, but one which is a sign that our culture, and its legacy and meaning, are becoming (if they are already not in fact) utterly disposable and transitory.

We are left with a meta-level, ontological question: How do we communicate meaning in a substantive way, when technology is making so much of our shared experiences utterly ephemeral? Is there even "history" anymore? And should we dare to care?

Friday Fun: Pastor Manning Channels God and Curses Herman Cain and His Daughters



Hat tip to Cnu of Subrealism for sending this link to me.

I was going to post something troubling, depressing, provocative and a testimony of man's inhumanity to man, but I would rather laugh at Brother Manning.

What is the angle here? Pastor Manning hates Obama, and one would think that he would be down for Herman Cain. But, Manning has a habit of allying with the Tea Party White populist of the day (Glenn Beck, Palin, and others) and then turning on them. Is it that Pastor Manning has to be the negro of the moment, he who gets all of the shine, and thus cannot share Massa's stoop?

Regardless of his motives, Manning sons Herman Cain, calls out his sexual perversions, predicts that Providence will visit suffering on Cain's daughters, and paints a picture of the Koch brothers as whore masters for their Tea Party mouth-breathers--and that Herman Cain is their human puppet.

Cursing Cain's daughters aside, and with all that god hoodoo mumbo jumbo discounted, I am gonna have to cosign Pastor Manning's warning to Herb Cornbread Bojangles Cain. He must repent and have hands laid on him so that the purifying waters of righteousness can flow down and over him.

Fate is a trickster. Perhaps, he/she/it could arrange for an old school church tent revival in Harlem, in which Herman Cain publicly confesses his sins, lays prostrate before Pastor Manning, and is naked before the Lord.

We can only dream...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pew Survey Reveals that the Public's Belief in American Exceptionalism is on the Wane: It is All Barack Obama's Fault!



The public has lost faith in the idea of American Exceptionalism. You know this is all Barack Obama's fault. Don't you?

He travels around the world on "apology tours." He refuses to wear an American flag pin on his lapel. Obama was born outside of the American cultural and political tradition and has a deep dislike for this country. In fact, we have long suspected that he isn't even a U.S. citizen. Michelle Obama, the First Lady, did not have pride in America for most of her adult life (as is her selfish way, she only became proud of this great country when her husband was elected president, the nerve of that woman!). Obama even believes that Americans are "lazy." Horatio Alger and the Founding Fathers must be spinning in their graves.

And now, the President's lack of faith in American exceptionalism has infected the country's young people. It isn't surprising that those befouled liberals who have been brainwashed in college classrooms by Communist Socialist Fascist Maoist professors believe that America is not a special and exceptional nation. But, the very idea that "real Americans" would believe such a thing, is truly revelatory of the cultural rot which is holding this great nation back at the most inopportune of times, just as the Red Chinese conquer the world.

Seriously folks, what I offer in mocking jest will be the Right-wing talking points of the week when the findings from the Pew survey on American and Western European values trickles down and out to the mouth-breathing, Fox News, talk radio, chattering classes, and then is disseminated to their unwashed masses and Tea Party GOP supplicants.

American exceptionalism is a true lie. It does a good amount of political work in creating a sense of nationalism, legitimating government rule, and providing the fuel for those moments when "we the people" must rally around the flag in defense of the Common Good. A belief in American Exceptionalism, and its auxiliary premise that the United States is a "shining city on the hill" is a great story to play with, to inspire, and to use as a goal and barometer for achieving the best of what we can, and should be, as a nation.

However, as Dick Gregory sharply alluded to in regards to Bill Clinton, he who was our first "black president," it's okay to pretend that a cardboard box is your house, just don't try to use it as your address.

In all, American exceptionalism illuminates as much as it blinds.

For example, a certain generation is unwilling to admit that their understanding of America's role in the world, and the uniqueness of our singular destiny, is a function of a very particular arrangement of circumstances, power, and resources. Those are conditions which do not necessarily hold in the present. One of the key elements in the cultural crisis which is the United States at the nadir of Empire, is that the trope of American exceptionalism has become a cudgel to beat down cosmopolitanism, pragmatism, and creative solutions to challenging public policy dilemmas.

Here, the cultish personality of the Republican Party, and populist conservatism at large, clings to a dead corpse, a type of American exceptionalism that ceases to be valid or real in the present: it is a fetish, a magical totem that has lost its Ju-Ju. Instead of using the ideal of American exceptionalism to inspire ourselves to improve (for example, this country now ranks behind France in terms of inter-generational class mobility), it is now a tool for political chauvinists and bullies.


Feelings trump facts. Sentimentality fuels nostalgia. Nostalgia, a hopeful and inaccurate yearning for, and dreaming of the past, drives contemporary Conservatism. This willful misremembering and misperception of the past fuels the American partisan divide in the year 2012.

Conflicting views on American exceptionalism are central to this story.

The full report, The American-Western European Values Gap, can be found here. A particularly relevant section follows:

Cultural Superiority


About half of Americans (49%) and Germans (47%) agree with the statement, “Our people are not perfect, but our culture is superior to others;” 44% in Spain share this view. In Britain and France, only about a third or fewer (32% and 27%, respectively) think their culture is better than others.

While opinions about cultural superiority have remained relatively stable over the years in the four Western European countries surveyed, Americans are now far less likely to say that their culture is better than others; six-in-ten Americans held this belief in 2002 and 55% did so in 2007. Belief in cultural superiority has declined
among Americans across age, gender and education groups.

As in past surveys, older Americans remain far more inclined than younger ones to believe that their culture is better than others. Six-in-ten Americans ages 50 or older share this view, while 34% disagree; those younger than 30 hold the opposite view, with just 37% saying American culture is superior and 61% saying it is not. Opinions are more divided among those ages 30 to 49; 44% in this group see American culture as superior and 50% do not.

Similar age gaps are not as common in the Western European countries surveyed, with the exception of Spain, where majorities of older respondents, but not among younger ones, also think their culture is better than others; 55% of those ages 50 or older say this is the case, compared with 34% of those ages 30 to 49 and 39% of those younger than 30.

As is the case on other measures, opinions about cultural superiority vary considerably by educational attainment. In the four Western European countries and in the U.S., those who did not graduate from college are more likely than those who did to agree that their culture is superior, even if their people are not perfect.

For example, Germans with less education are twice as likely as those with a college degree to believe their culture is superior (50% vs. 25%); double-digit differences are also present in France (20 percentage points), Spain (18 points) and Britain (11 points), while a less pronounced gap is evident in the U.S. (9 points).

Finally, among Americans and Germans, political conservative are especially likely to believe their culture is superior to others. In the U.S., 63% of conservatives take this view, compared with 45% of moderates and just 34% of liberals. Similarly, a majority (55%) of right-wing Germans see their culture as superior, while 47% of moderates and 34% of those on the political left agree.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Malleability of Truth? Capturing the Friedmans and Jerry Sandusky's Adventures in Pedophilia


I enjoy watching masters at work. There is something about effortless and natural competence which I cannot get enough of: Michael Stones' interviews with serial killers; Shawn Michaels' last two matches with the Undertaker; and now Bob Costas' interview with Jerry Sandusky.

The saga of Penn State University has provided an object lesson in bad behavior. The coaches and staff who suspected that children were being molested. The students who riot over their beloved coach being held accountable for his behavior--but who sadly are more compelled to act like fools over football than to be active and responsibly engaged citizens in their communities and nation. The police and other authorities who looked the other way.

When the families of these children come forth--and do not be mistaken, these "underprivileged" kids are indeed black--the victims will have a face, and the drama will enter another act. Will this be the denouement? Rising action? The climax?

I am unsure. Whatever moment in the drama ensues, it will be both epic and tragic.

Listening to Jerry Sandusky's interview with Bob Costas, I was reminded of the award winning documentary Capturing the Friedmans. One of the best films in recent memory, it exposes how a family quite literally imploded when its patriarch, Arnold Friedman, and his son Jessie, were accused of molesting dozens of children in the community of Great Neck, New York during the 1980s.

The film resonates because it highlights how the very nature of the truth is malleable, and largely dependent on context and perspective. The film is also a damning indictment of our society's culture of victimhood and a legal system that has to confront monsters, while doing its best to adhere to some minimum norm of procedural justice.

There are some eerie similarities between Jerry Sandusky's honesty about "innocent" naked play with young boys, and Arnold Friedman's confession of his own pedophilia. To my ear at least, the resonance of their words is interchangeable.

Frightening. Sad. In all, not surprising in the least bit.

This one is yours folks. I am at a loss for words.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Is This Guy Just Another Dumb Black Man or What? Herman Cain's Refined Embrace of Ignorance



Gots all this stuff twirlin' about in my head.

Herman Cain needs to hurry up and book his guest spot on Tyler Perry's new age race minstrel show The House of Payne.

Anyone can have a system crash moment where their mainframe goes down and needs to reboot.

But, this newest epic fail by Herbie Cornbread Cain is part of a pattern of failure regarding basic knowledge about matters of public policy. He clearly is not prepared to be President of the United States. This fact is clear.

As I was with Sarah Palin, another triumph of Tea Party GOP anti-intellectual mediocrity, I do not understand the hubris and arrogance which leads a person to believe that they can be President, or hold a senior leadership position in government, when they have little if any interest in matters of foreign or domestic politics.

There is no set formula for what makes a successful Chief Executive. Certainly, intelligence helps. But instinct, charisma, and the ability to select competent people to help you in a collegiate, consensus-based model of decision-making, can work around this gap. A President can be fully degreed, with paper from the country's best institutions, but they can be a dullard who is manipulated by their advisers and handlers. There are educated fools; there are fools who are educated.

However, a successful leader cannot be intellectually "incurious." As Palin's handlers learned in trying to brief her for the 2008 Republican campaign, you cannot cram a lifetime of information into a few months of studying and preparation. While I will never be President, and most certainly do not have the competency for such a role, I remember watching the news in elementary school and reading newspapers and magazines. I liked talking about politics, history, philosophy, and other such matters, with friends and family.

Like you, I picked up a narrative about politics that I take for granted. This is the matrix, an invisible superstucture upon which other, more particular and intentionally learned and acquired information, is built upon.

Herman Cain is a technician who knows how to do math about the movement of objects.



Herman Cain is a technician who can follow a profit maximization rubric that helps him decide if he should shut down pizza franchises.

Herman Cain is no Renaissance man.

Moreover, he, like the anti-intellectual set on the New Right, does not have a basic understanding of current events that is empirically grounded, with breadth, and that goes beyond a talking point, fact-free nation, of Right-wing bloviating and epistemic closure that is coloured for the professionals by the propagandists at the Heritage Foundation, and fingered painted in the dots for the rank and file upright walking knuckledraggers by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

Herman Cain said that God told him to run for office, for he is Moses. Apparently, God is a trickster who also told the other Republican candidates to run for office too. Funny, I don't recall Cain, Perry, Bacchmann or the other Tea Party GOP candidates sharing if God told them that they would win (or not).

Fate is a trickster, maybe he/she/it wanted Herman Cain and company to run because America needs a good laugh, and the Republican field, which months ago became a national joke, is providing a gut-buster of laughs for the reality based community.

But please again, help me understand. How can someone as incurious as Herman Cain sincerely believe that they are qualified to be President?

Political Hermeneutics: A Letter From People of Color (the 99th Percentile) to the OWS Movement

The fault lines of race, class, and gender are central to any analysis of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. Not surprisingly, some folks would like to overlook these issues as being peripheral to a political moment that should be "about class" and "not race."

My rebuttal is predictable and direct: race and racial ideologies are no sideshow in American politics; how can they possibly be peripheral to OWS?

This is especially true as OWS works to define its movement culture, and to make sure that parallel efforts such as Occupy the 'Hood are included within their broader agenda.

Some have accused the Occupy Wall Street Movement of being the product of grumpy angst by generally entitled and privileged white folks who are upset that they are now getting a bum deal. In all, from this perspective, OWS is a version of the white privilege temper tantrum performed on a national scale.

In turn, this assertion leads to the following question: where were the OWS folks when black and brown people were catching hell for decades, as globalization and deindustrialization ravaged our communities, and punched upward mobility and wealth accrual in the gut?

These are fair questions that need to be addressed...and answered by OWS and its advocates. The following is an effort to further that discussion.

On occasion, I work through the hermeneutics of political "texts" that I find online or in print. The following open letter, which is now circulating around the black blogosphere, is quite provocative as it raises many questions that are more than worthy of no small amount of critical engagement.

As is my habit, comments follow in brackets and in bold.

An Open Letter (and Invitation) to the so-called 99% From People of Color (AKA the 99th Percentile)

Dear so-called 99%

[The branding of the OWS movement has been very effective. Who could reasonably agree with such a stark divide where the 1 percent (them) is doing amazingly well, and the 99% (the rest of us) are doing so poorly during the Great Recession.

However, this slogan hides more than it reveals.

For example, the biggest divides in wealth inequality, the ownership of financial instruments, and those who benefited the most from the Bush era tax cuts begins at the top 10 percent of earners. Moreover, if you want to see where the real action is in terms of America's kleptocracy, one should focus their attention on the top 1/10 of 1 percent of earners who are recording unbelievable gains while the American workforce in mass has seen its wages stagnate for the last 40 years.

The top ten percent have done well too: they now control 50 percent of the income and 70 percent of the aggregate wealth. The top 2o percent of the U.S. population controls approximately 84 percent of wealth. What to do about these measures of inequality?

When we use the language of the 1 percent, how do differences of race play into this narrative. The top 1 percent of black and brown folks are doing less well than their equivalents in White America. Does this complement the narrative? Or does it complicate it, because while the black and brown elite may be doing much less well than their white peers, both are still invested in the status quo...or are they?]

You suckers thought that you were so special, ennit? You thought that your heineys were just that much better and softer and more supple than all those poor people of color, huh? There was never any discussion of the “99%” for the past 400 years while Native lands were stolen, Native people were exterminated, black folks were enslaved, Latinos were gerrymandered, Japanese people were placed in internment camps or Arabs were sexually groped, fondled and heavily-petted at airports. No problem, right?

[Yes and no. Wealth accrual and inter-generational transfers of resources in this country have for centuries been racialized. As professionals in sociology, political science, and economics have repeatedly observed, race in America is also a story of wealth--who had it, had access to it, and could pass it down--and then reproduce its benefits for themselves and their descendants.

Scholars such as Joe Feagin, Manning Marable, Ira Katznelson, Eric Williams, Omi and Winant, Oliver and Shapiro, and others have done a wonderful job of tracing out these contours. White folks, both native born and immigrants knew this game. To not participate in it would have been morally and ethically sound (perhaps), but ill-advised in terms of crude self-interest. Who the hell is going to run away from free money?

Whiteness involves being an active signer to what Charles Mills smartly describes as the Racial Contract (or for whites in mass, at the very least being tacit beneficiaries of it). Once you make the bargain those "inconveniences" of history become just that, facts and incongruities to be avoided lest too much uncertainty (and responsibility spawned by introspection) occur.]

There was never any discussion of the fundamental imbalance of power on this continent and inherent unfairness of the trickle-up economics for the past few centuries as the aforementioned groups were only seen as a source of labor for powerful white male interests. Not a word.

Because you thought you were special. You were immune to that. That little issue didn’t involve you.

[Always be careful whenever you insert "never." There were many folks, across the color line, who understood the damnable imbalances of power in this country, especially as they overlap with gender, race, class, and other types of identities. Taken in total these disparities reveal the naked lie that is the American creed of upward mobility and the Horatio Alger myth.

Folks often want to deploy the "they were products of their time defense." Avoid it. Run away from it. The premise is absurd and weak.

Whiteness does involve being special. Historically, it was the cultivation of white mediocrity and the prize for European "ethnics" assimilating into "Americanness." Part of that bargain was to distance oneself from black people, and to look askance at, as well as socially distance oneself from, most people of color. European immigrants deeply--and others as well to this day--understood that to be "White" pays a material, financial, emotional, and psychic wage.

Whiteness is special: it got you low interest loans; it got you the G.I. Bill; it got you a job in a factory with a living wage; it got your kids into college and good high schools; it got you membership in a privileged class.

White folks knew exactly what they were buying into. Do not remove or take away their agency.

There is a reason that white Americans have on average 2 dollars for every 10 cents that blacks and Latinos possess: the State was invested in subsidizing their enrichment and advancement. The wages come with a natural defense as well, where the beneficiaries of White privilege can proudly announce that "their family never owned slaves" or "my grandparents were immigrants."

Guilt free. Hands clean.]

Now, you see that these powerful white males do not care about you either. Now you see that they will—just like they did to “us,” all people of color in this country—extrapolate every single ounce of energy, money and value out of you, your kids, your wife, your mistress.

[We need to ask hard questions here. Historically, elites have not treated their social lessors well. More specifically, Europeans were barbaric to each other across lines of class--in the work houses, in the factories, with indentured servitude--long before they got to the New World and discovered the "blessings" of African labor, chattel slavery, and genocide of indigenous peoples.

We need to define terms. Who are the "powerful?" Who is "white?" How does gender play into this--do not let white women, as beneficiaries of Whiteness and white supremacy too, off the hook so easily.

Here is another challenge. The global power elite numbers only a few thousand. Do they even care about race? They are transnational. Their concern is Capital and finance. Most certainly, race and these other issues of identity and in-group superiority may matter for the middle managers and other lowly administrators in this game. But, do you think that those who are really moving the pieces on the chessboard are at all concerned with such parochial and local interests as race, gender, and sexuality?]

After they do that, they will throw you away, fire you, lay you off, send your job to Mexico or India or someplace else where they can do exactly the same thing to those poor schmucks. Only they’ll do it for much less money. Now, you’re beginning to see that and so you started to call yourself the so-called “99%,” because you realize that you’re not so special at all.

[This is old school for black and brown folks. Hell, listen to classic rap song The Message. We were on to this con game decades ago.

When White America gets a cold, black and brown Americans get the flu. But, what of poor rural whites? What of those folks in the rust belt? On the 'res? How can we work together with them, to find common class interests across the lines of white identity and the wages of Whiteness? Where historically most members of the white poor and working classes have chosen racial affinity over class alliances with people of color?]

Stupid white people.

[The masses are asses. Are white folks any more or less stupid than any other group because of their "skin color?" No.

But, Whiteness does encourage a type of willful historical ignorance, myopia, blind denial, and short shortsightedness. Whiteness has paid white people as a group--for the most part--a type of psychic wage from group belonging. This has come at a moral and ethical cost. Most folks, not because they are White, but because they are lazy, dim witted, and painfully human (and comfortable on the sidelines of history) will not be self-reflective enough to work through the ledger sheet of race and their soul's debit; what is the blood on their hands from the benefits of "benign," "colorblind," white supremacy in the Age of Obama.

In fact, there are still white folks who believe silly fantasies such as this School House Rock video about Ellis Island, the melting pot, and European immigration. There are others who are race traitors, and as such, know the score. The latter have always been with us and on the right side of history. They are down like John Brown. Real warriors.

The question becomes how to move the lazy and settled middle.]

The punch line though? You were always part of the 99%.

[Yes and no again. In absolute terms they were not elites. But, they could feel superior and special by signing restrictive housing covenants; joining the KKK; becoming cops so they could beat a colored, a Mexican, a Chinaman, or an Injun; lynching negroes; and rioting against efforts at school integration in and around Boston.

The system needs to maintain the appearance, and historically for whites, of upward mobility. The system also needs the appearance of inclusion in order to make those who have bought into it psychically invested in the merits of their own hard work, because of course those other people can't succeed because they are "lazy," "un-American," or have "bad culture."

Remember: Success is easy in America. But, only if you work hard enough for it.]

Those powerful white interests love you as much as they love me. Which is to say that they love you about as much a man loves a pregnancy scare from a one-night stand. None. Zero. Idiots.

[Is this the money shot? Sorry, I couldn't resist...]

The bad news: You’re not special and unfortunately you’re just now beginning to realize that. The good news: well hell, at least you’re beginning to realize it now. But those are the two reasons that people of color have not joined this movement en masse: #1 We cannot believe that you were so stupid to not know that you weren’t special and that these powerful white male interests were just using you, and #2 we want to make sure that you gullible sheep will not, as soon as those powerful white male interests try to buy you off with giving your job back with the little benefits and 401k, forget about all of us poor people of color who have been suffering for years.

[Those white folks who are race traitors, critical thinkers, and visionaries who see globally and were long onto the neoliberal con game will get you. But again, most people are profoundly mediocre. Do not forget your audience: Whiteness is profoundly ahistorical; it is literally without history. To ask most White Americans to think about structures, institutions, and power, is a challenge, because to be white, is to be the quintessential individual.

In all, to get the privileged "I" to think structurally is quite difficult, if not impossible, in the long run. Some of them are coming around. I would not hold my breath waiting for the others as it may take an even bigger system shock than the Great Recession to wake them up. But by then, it may be too late.]

We are the faces at the bottom of the well, the very bottom of the 99%.

We are the 99th percentile. The bottom.

[Who is "we?" Who is "the bottom?" Please clarify your terms. Do these cohorts include people of color who are part of the elite? Be mindful of assuming a sense of linked fate or group affinity. These assumptions can lead one to misunderstand how class interests can overcome race, gender, or other assumed intra-group markers of affinity.]

We’re attracted to the movement, but we need assurance that you’re not gonna just up and leave and get tricked again, like you did before.

Now the invitation: we will join you. We are attracted to this movement. We want to join you. The truth is that we need this movement at least as much as you do. The truth is that we want to make something very serious and very permanent happen for the betterment of all poor and middle-class Americans—Native, white, black, Hispanic, Asian, Arab, everybody! The truth is that you have always been our brothers and sisters—you just didn’t know it. But we need to know that you’re serious. And what we mean by “serious” is that you aren’t going to back to thinking that you’re part of the 1% again and forget about us. You are not. We are in this together, whether you, my white brothers and sisters, choose to acknowledge it or not. We’re waiting.

So what’s it gonna be?

[I will let these paragraphs stand on their own. To reiterate the author's claims, please tell me, what is it going to be?]

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Watching the Vietnam War in HD: General Nguyen Ngoc Loan Executing a Vietnamese Officer was "Right"--He was Also "Wrong"



If you are not watching the History Channel's miniseries event "Vietnam in HD," you are truly missing out. The World War Two HD series was unsettling because the original black and white footage was "colorized." This made the events seem more real. The Vietnam War is closer to the present in terms of decades. Ironically, the high definition enhancement makes the events seem surreal.

The hyper-realism of Vietnam in HD is also a rebuttal to how the spin doctors and propagandists sanitize war in order to sell it to the public.

The mass media frames conflict. For example, the Tet Offensive was a tactical victory for the United States. The Vietcong were destroyed as a fighting force. But, the narrative in the mass media was that the United States "lost" the battle.

The North Vietnamese "won" the Tet Offensive because they demonstrated that this would be a long war without an immediate end; they also won because it was now clear that the American government was blatantly lying to the public about the prospect of victory in the near term.

The Pentagon learned a lesson too: contain war coverage through "media pools" where only "approved images" would be sent back home to the American public. If you wondered why we do not see the bodies of American soldiers coming home during the long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, look no farther than 'Nam.

For example, the execution of a Vietcong sapper by General Nguyen Ngoc Loan is an iconic photo, and an object lesson in the power of images and media spin doctoring. It is also a much misunderstood moment. General Loan did the "right" thing legally under the Geneva Convention (he shot a combatant who was out of uniform, engaged in sabotage, and thus not protected by the rules of war). However, General Loan's deeds were "wrong" in the court of public opinion, and they became symbolic of the grotesqueness of America's misadventure in Southeast Asia.

I became interested in military affairs in middle school. Then, I was quite fascinated by the dichotomy between military law and the public's perception of events. At the time, what I saw as a misrepresentation of the "truth" by a "traitorous" news media, evolved into realizing that public perception is not "natural" or "organic." Rather, it is something to be "managed."

Moreover, public perception is its own independent reality. Those beliefs further evolved into an understanding that the "legally" defensible thing may not in fact be the ethically or morally correct position to pursue or defend.

In total, war is hell. It is also a state of semi-organized confusion.

Are any of you watching the Vietnam in HD series? What do you think of it so far? For those of a certain age, how did you respond at the time to General Loan shooting his prisoner? Decades from now, will Iraq and Afghanistan be remembered for a similar moment?

Is Abu Ghraib it?

A bonus: I remember recording the following installment of Ethics in America on VHS and watching it repeatedly. What follows is a classic and provocative dilemma: what are the obligations of American journalists in a war zone? If embedded with the "enemy," are you obligated to warn "your own" about an imminent attack?

Friday, November 11, 2011

We Were Always "Men": A Wealth of Dignity in the Civil War Era Photographs of African American Soldiers


They are looking at us through time.

There are folks who write about the Civil War with real expertise. I am most certainly a journeyman and hobbyist by any measure of comparison.

On Veterans Day, these images from the Library of Congress of African American servicemen in the Civil War seemed appropriate. These photos are important because they were some of the first in which black folks had the agency to decide about the terms of their own visual representation.

The idea/theory/framework that cultural studies folks loosely term "ways of seeing" is also helpful here: how bodies are posed exists in relation to a particular type of gaze, where power is differential, and said bodies become objects and not subjects.

For example, the ways that women are posed in fashion magazines and advertisements in the 21st century are a continuation of the male gaze going back to at least the Renaissance. The early photographs and other representations of black bodies (and the Other, more generally) did similar work in manufacturing racial ideologies and legitimating commonsense "knowledge" about black personhood and our humanity.

I particularly like these first two images because of the amount of dignity they convey. The brother in the first photo has all of the norms of 19th century, American, masculine respectability, and honor.

He has a gun and a gold pocket watch. His uniform is pressed. He faces the camera with pride. There is a bit of a swagger and confidence at work here, for he is a bit of a badman. I imagine his friends and family nodding with pride when they see their boy all grown up.

I also like the following photo because of its matter of factness. This brother just "is." There is a certain timelessness, a quiet, relaxed, dignity to his habitus. I feel like he isn't "period"; he could be my cousin/brother/friend, right now, in the Age of Obama.


When I see these images of martial comportment and spirit I am reminded of the existential dread that white Southerners and others must have felt at the mere thought that black men could take up arms. I reject the problematic assertion of films like Glory that "we ran away slaves and came back men." We were always men. But, I get that for the white supremacist imagination, one which understood black people, and black men, in particular, to be childlike, servile, and not fit for freedom, the sight of black men in Union blue must have been truly apocalyptic.

We stand on their shoulders. Again. And they continue to watch us.

He Lives to Rape History: Herman Cain Yearns For the Good Old Days of Jim Crow and "Small Government"



Herman Cain on the stump in Kalamazoo, Michigan. So very sad.

It is a small world. I lived in Kalamazoo, Michigan for a year. There, I would far too often enjoy the lovely evening of a 5 dollar movie, some jazz at the Union, and then a few beers at Burdicks.

My night out on the town would cost me less than 20 dollars.

Kalamazoo was a sad, but dignified place. It was a once prosperous community with beautiful homes from the Gilded Age. Like so many cities across the Rust Belt, Kalamazoo went downhill because of deindustrialization and other changes in the economy that were to the disadvantage of the American worker.

As a measure for comparison, I had an apartment in "the 'Zoo" that cost me about 600 dollars a month including utilities. The same apartment would have easily cost, at a minimum, 2,000 dollars a month in Chicago. Alas, given how inter-generational wealth transfers are to the disadvantage of folks of color, if I had parents to hit up I would have purchased that palatial domicile in a second if afforded the opportunity.

Thus, to hear Herb Cornbread Cain preach the neoliberal, small government, gospel to folks in a community that has been destroyed, precisely by such a civil religion, is more than a little bit off-putting. I shake my head as folks cheer his policies. But, I vomit in my mouth to hear him--once more, as he always does--rape history.

[Do the math. If Herman Cain's pappy walked off the farm in the early 1940s at (let's guess) 20 years old, his parents may have been--and his grandparents most certainly were--born as slaves. How did the free market and the "American Dream" of deregulation help them? Are his supporters that dim? Or are the masses just generally asses?]

It is not only because I am a student of history that I find his allusion to the glory days of Jim Crow, sharecropping, and racialized debt peonage offensive. Rather, it is my common sense.

How can any person, of any reasonable sense, conjure up a story about the evils of "big government," and a racist labor market, as a means of talking about the Horatio Alger myth of the "good old days" relative to blacks in the Jim and Jane Crow South during the 1940s?

I rarely, if ever, use profanity. I will break that rule today: Cain is huffing bullshit as he relays a story that is designed to please the mouth-breathing, upright walking, White conservative populists who are his base; there is no way that even Herman Cain can believe such a noxious fiction. Utterly impossible.

Herman Cain, race minstrel extraordinaire, is truly a performance artist: there are few if any other explanations for his Koch brother funded Bojangles routine.

Folks, he is slouching far past Gomorrah. As a professional Herman Cain watcher, I predict that he is soon about to go somewhere which will leave you shocked--but not at all surprised.

Herman Cain's, "slavery was good for black folks moment," is not too far ahead. You are now forewarned. Be prepared. And do set your clocks by that prediction.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Poetic Violence in Motion: Goodbye Uncle Smokin' Joe Frazier, Do Travel Well



An obligatory goodbye.

The 41 rounds that Joe Frasier and Muhammad Ali fought were poetic violence in motion. Their battles were exercises in grotesque beauty.

Rest in peace Uncle Smoking Joe Frazier. We judge our heroes by the battles they fought, by how their rivals forced greatness out of them. You were a crucible for Muhammad Ali. But you are not a footnote to history, you are a giant in the sport of boxing, and an object lesson in perseverance.

Muhammad Ali confessed to his confidantes that you brought him the closest to death that he had ever been. Together, you two walked the line. Now you have peace. I know you met death, your lover and intimate, with eyes open.

Peace.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Online Chronicles of an "Angry Black Man" in the Age of Obama: Why is Black Genius So Threatening to Some White Folks?



Writing online is a type of archiving. It is also a type of performance.

What follows is a bit of critical self-reflection, breaking kayfabe, and thinking aloud in public.

I always take a moment to step back whenever I write something on these Internets that riles folks up. When doing so, I ask myself the following: "Okay, if I didn't know the author, what impression would he leave me with?" "What are his politics?" "What 'type' of black man is he?"

He seems pretty reasonable to me, if at times a little provocative and playful. But crazy? Mean? Unreasonable? Not interested in "dialogue?" I just don't see it.

Thus, I am always surprised by the response of some folks to my online work, that in their eyes I am somehow "angry," or "upset." Black folks know that figure, "the angry black man" quite well--he is us, we are at times him. White folks know him too: he looms large in the American political and cultural subconscious, where instead of a 3 dimensional being, this angry black man is a bogeyman caricature, all huff and puff, irrational and rageful towards those innocent white folks who did him no harm.

Of course, there is much to be upset about in this world. And in America, much of this ugliness has worked itself out along lines of race.

Given that clear, plain on its face reality, I nevertheless remain surprised by the power that the very idea of the angry black man holds for so many. Intellectually, I get that white folks, and Whiteness at large, does not want to be forced to confront the righteousness of black anger. Why? Because to do so would force "uncomfortable" conversations about justice, one's personal relationship to white supremacy--and of course their investment in the normality of Whiteness with its White looks, White ways of thinking, White ways of knowing, and White ways of being.

For many, to take ownership over such a fact is the very definition of cognitive dissonance.

America is a country without a history. America has no memory of anything earlier than what happened last week. The historical myopia of Whiteness is no small part of that national personality trait, what is in all, a very bad habit.

I often smile when I read comments by readers who think that I am an angry black man. I am not. Life is too short to overly obsess over the curious ways of white folks. What I struggle and work towards is a holistic type of personhood; I simply want the freedom to be, to integrate every part of my self.

And yes, my blackness, and particular experiences as a working class black man of a certain age, a ghetto nerd, sensualist, reader, and citizen born in the post-Civil Rights moment at the time of hip hop's birth, is a significant part of my full humanity.

Because I love black people, and respect our accomplishments in the face of unimaginable obstacles in these United States, I am at peace, even while I see that there is much work still to be done. Because I understand how black folks helped to save American democracy from its own malformed, retarded, bigotry, I am made quite proud.

Back in the day we used to call that "knowledge of self." At present, I just call it a certain peace of mind.

When I wrote my open letter of sorts to the readers of the Daily Kos about liberal racism, Brother Akbar's words on the need to fully integrate one's self; to not have to ask permission from white folks to speak; to not need white approval when we want to sing our own "heroes" and "sheroes"; and to be unapologetic about demanding that democracy live up to its promises and potential, were echoing in my memory.

Black confidence, black pride, and black self-confidence is scary to many (if not most) white folks. For all of my reflection and research on the topic I do not know why. Of course, I intellectually "get" the ways that race, power, and structures intersect, and how "in-group" identity is normalized. But on a personal and emotional level, how can a people who have so much, who in essence run the world, be so easily upset by black folk's most simple, basic, human needs?

Ultimately, when we refuse to ask permission, we become angry black men and angry black women.

Why is this?

Please, teach me something on these matters. I am eager to sit back, listen, and learn.

What Ever Happened to Shame? Malcolm X Versus Proud Pregnant Black Teens



Hat tip to Rippa on this one. You do have to love Brother Denzel.

A provocative post.

What ever happened to shame? And wasn't shame a good thing when she kept our teen girls from posing bellies-exposed and taking pictures of what should be their private shame and circulating it online?

Please forgive me my old school respectable negro politics. Do pardon my pun, is this what radical sexual autonomy has "birthed?" Where did we go wrong as a people?

Or is this some type of co-parenting adaptive strategy among the underclasses where young women coordinate their pregnancies in order to be in an opportune position to share resources?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Navigating White Privilege and Liberal Racism: 10 Tips for Blogging While Black on the Daily Kos (and Other Predominantly White Spaces Too)



As demonstrated by hundreds of comments, it would appear that I am the object of no small amount of upset by some readers of the Daily Kos.
Am I surprised? No. My style of direct speaking, and commitment to always voice truth to power may not be everyone's cup of tea. That is okay.
As folks who have followed me over the last few years know, I can go all out and cut a damn good promo if need be; I also can move silently and do work with a scalpel; And at times I choose to use a garrote to ether my opponents.
In all, styles make fights and I try to use the right tool from the tool box in order to get the job done.
A few months back, some of my folks online encouraged me to check out Daily Kos and its fracas over race and blogging while black. I received emails from allies and friends asking about my thoughts on the matter, and if I were going to get involved. I'm not 'fam so I initially demurred. But, what I saw while lurking was enough to encourage me to move forward. I chose my time wisely and decided to make some small forays, to do some basic recon in order to get the lay of the land.
As Brother King and the other warriors in our glorious black freedom struggle realized, sometimes you have to shake the bushes to get the snakes out. At other times, you need to lay an ambush to get a sense of how your enemy will react.
I have long been a student of Whiteness. I am particularly interested in racism--and the many manifestations of white privilege--as performed by white liberals.
The latter are particularly fascinating on these matters because in our contemporary political imagination "racism" is something those "other people" do. White supremacy and racism are albatrosses and weights that hang from the necks of the Right, the false white populists, the Tea Party GOP and Birthers, racial reactionaries, and the bomb throwers and bigots like Buchanan, Limbaugh, Coulter, and Beck.
There sins are not "our" sins, in fact, a belief in anti-racism, and the merits of "multiculturalism," are the distinguishing marks of the contemporary left and progressives in the Age of Obama.
I knew what I would find at the Daily Kos. There would be some allies and perhaps even some friends. There would be those put off and afraid. Some would come closer and others would run away. That is the way of the world; Its diversity is a good thing.
I also knew that I would encounter white privilege, glaring examples in fact, that would further the thesis that Whiteness does real work in our society as it impacts all folks across the color line.
I always try to pass along what I have learned on my journeys to others. Here is a primer, a set of helpful hints for black folks (and other fellow travelers), who may endeavor to write about race, politics, culture, and power at the Daily Kos and other predominantly white spaces on these Internets.
Please do amend it as necessary.

10 Tips for Blogging While Black on the Daily Kos (and Other Predominantly White Spaces Too)

1. Every community has certain rules. The rule here is to be "respectful." Respect can also mean conforming, knowing your place, not rocking the boat, and staying on the approved script. Respect is also about power: who wields it; who makes the rules; who gets to decide what behavior is "inappropriate." In majority white spaces, those decisions and rules are always racialized. You probably learned those unspoken rules and life lessons as your guide for life, from a parent, elder, or other sage. Remember, those rules still apply online. Do update your Negro Motorist Green Book with entries about blogging while black at the Daily Kos.
2. Whiteness is ultimately about the maintenance of white privilege. White privilege can be understood in material, economic, legal, social, and political terms. The most basic manifestation of white privilege is the freedom and ability to determine how and when you will be uncomfortable, and under what circumstances. Thus, do not engage in any talk about race, white supremacy, identity politics, or other matters that may make certain folks "uncomfortable," "upset," "feel dirty," or "angry."
3. Your intellectual life, creative voice, and right to speak are subject to the demands of the chorus. You must get permission to speak. You must live for the approval of the (white) Kossacks. If you do not, then you will be marginalized, confronted, and told that your voice is not welcome.
4. To the above: remember that you as the Other are the perpetual teacher. Never forget that special burden. And yes, it is hard to be the teacher when your students will feign knowing more about these matters of life experience, history, and power than you do. Never forget, you are the little man behind the stove--even when others want to argue for an equivalence of insight and experience.
5. For blacks to criticize other black folks for their tom foolery, race minstrel shtick, or hostility to the empowerment of people of color, is verboten. You must speak in an approved tone that does not offend the sensibilities of white folks who may want to participate in the conversation. We live in the age of the black superpublic where there are no more "black spaces" for private talk. Moreover, the white gaze is real; never forget that your conversation and critique should always allow a space for Whiteness to participate. To do any less is both rude and uncivilized.
6. Race is always secondary to class. In fact, if we just stopped talking about all of this race stuff then our problems would be solved. Abandon intersectionality. Remember, it is always class--and you should forget that class location is a function of this country's racial hierarchy. Really, I mean it. Simply forget those inconvenient facts. Delete them now. Your life will be a lot easier.
7. The Right is lampooned and mocked for its "echo chamber" memes and tendency towards "epistemic closure." The Left has its problems in that regard as well. Be prepared.
The Freepers, Townhall, and Fox News types have "Socialist," "libtard" and "class warfare" as their Orwellian newspeak PC working conversation shutdown vocabulary. As an equivalent, many Kossacks throw about "racism" and "sexism" to marginalize those with who they disagree. Like their peers on the Right, most cannot define these terms. They are simply weapons of the lazy and the anti-intellectual. Avoid the fire, smoke, and distraction of those slow moving bludgeons by asking for a definition: most will disengage because they have none to offer.
8. The ban hammer and Daily Kos' "hide rating" is a type of cyberbullying and intimidation. Some rules appear "race neutral." In practice, we know that they are not. Tread carefully. Whiteness is a lie. Because it is a lie, Whiteness is existentially dependent on hiding the truth. The "HR" is a tool to that end.
9. There is frontstage racism and backstage racism. Frontstage racism is that which occurs in public. Backstage racism occurs in private, and in (often) all white spaces where people feel comfortable enough to let their guard down. Because racism has evolved over time, frontstage racism is heavily policed and a source of shame when the perpetrator is called out. Backstage racism continues on in the Age of Obama.
Because of their different political personality types, white liberals and white conservatives manifest racism and racial resentment in divergent, if not complementary ways. What they have in common is a type of racial heliocentrism, what we call "the white racial frame" which puts Whiteness at the center of all things. Conservatives are more honest about this fact. Liberals and white progressives are also paid the psychic wages of Whiteness, but they cash the check while feeling either very great guilty or grossly magnanimous.
10. Take the words of the Kossacks seriously for what they reveal about white privilege and liberal/left/progressive politics is invaluable. For example, on my post regarding Herman Cain's noxious race politics, the commenter Poetic Mind wrote that:
...a selection of uprates...well, my hr stands,I am still unconvinced: the presentation and the racialist undertones still make this post inappropriate for a progressive blog...sure, I am not African American, I may not be able to follow your perspective as an African American, but Dailykos has community standards and I still feel, you haven't met them...but in time with more posts you will probably understand what a progressive blog is really about... progressiveness is looking into the future, not getting hung up by the past!
Progressives are "race neutral." In fact, you need to leave the richness of your humanity and life experiences out of the conversation. Your Blues Sensibility and four centuries of experience in the New World, the Black Atlantic, and as the co-founders of this Republic, ought to be ignored. You are quintessentially American, but that essence is inconvenient. It may make some white folks uncomfortable: we are the envy of the world; but no one really wants to be black.
Ultimately, black folks are in need of a good lecture about the real meaning of "progressive" struggle.
We may have led the fight to improve American democracy and carried whole peoples and their struggles on our backs, but now we have sit at the knee of "the real progressives" and take our moment of instruction. Like John Lewis learned at an Occupy Wall Street protest, you best know your place and always ask for permission to participate.