Monday, January 2, 2012

The Racial Futures Prediction Market Game: What Will the Black Misery Index be in 2012?



If it bleeds it leads.

Bad news is good news.

Who wants to hear the good news, when the bad news is so much more compelling?

While slick, sharp, coherent, professional, and emotive, Colorlines' "The Year in Race" makes me tired. Existentially. Yes, the stakes are high for people of color in the Great Recession. We have experienced proportionately greater losses in terms of employment, the housing market, wealth, life spans, and inter-generational social mobility, than have white Americans. This reality is a signal to the permanence of race in this country. It is also a reminder of how far we have yet to go as a people.

But, are things really that bad? Are there no high points, or moments of joy and success, to celebrate going forward?

I am not suggesting that we should engage in some pie in the sky, self-aggrandizing denial--as truth telling should always be our first commitment, "the prime directive"--but rather, that there must be room for positive thinking and balance in our perspectives.

Developing a metric for community happiness can take many forms. Some would use life chances and develop a mathematical model based on income, wealth, lifespan, and social capital. Others would talk to folks and do elaborate public opinion surveys where they ask respondents to describe their hopes for the future, and "if things will be better or worse in the years to come for your children?"

I am a dreamer. I also think there is something to be said for "soft" or intuitive measurements of happiness and progress.

My question: what do you predict the Black Misery Index (our "B.M.I.") will be for the year 2012?

If "1" is joyful bliss, and "10" is utter misery, where will Black America (and people of color more generally), rate in the upcoming 12 months? And if the truism holds that Black folks are the miner's canary, a barometer of sorts for the well-being of the United States at large, what is the calculi for how the Black Misery Index relates to that of the country as a whole?

Ultimately, is there a special rubric, an exception rule for Red State U.S.A. and the Tea Party GOP, where black and brown people's suffering means that everything is going right for Whiteness and the White Conservative Soul?

For example, I would suggest that those moments in the hellish prisons of Goree Island and in the slave ships of the Middle Passage rate a "10" on the scale. The moment of Barack Obama's election and his inauguration and swearing-in would score a "1."

The great and wonderful project known as Reconstruction would be a "6." Yes, on the surface one could rate it a "3." But, any accurate measure must account for how Reconstruction has been grossly mischaracterized in the public mind, as well as the pain of a radically inclusive democratic project born, and then too soon retroactively aborted, by white supremacy and its ugly violence. To my mind's eye, wonderful things temporarily earned and then stolen away require a special accounting.

In all, the prediction game/futures market is a wonderfully personal and imprecise science that reveals much about who we are as individuals and our ability to generalize (or not) outward to that of society as a whole.

Yes, the white gaze can be utterly disingenuous as its yearns to celebrate the end of racism, to inaugurate a post-racial America despite all evidence to the contrary, and to find a way to emancipate itself from the burdens of history (as well as the blood that it has on its proverbial hands in both the present and the past). This creates a natural, intelligent, well-founded, and reasoned tendency among people of color (and smart forward thinking white folks) to emphasize the challenges ahead, as opposed to the demons slayed, the victories won.

And of course, there is a Black racial misery and grievance industry--one that will exist for as long as there are people who are nominally considered "African American." We need the Black racial misery and grievance industry...even in the year 2012. As often as they are wrong, their clarion calls remain a useful and necessary alarm.

But for a moment, let the metaphorical hair down, and feel free to celebrate (or not) the successes of black and brown people in the year 2011

I know that you have it in you.

24 comments:

CNu said...

Here are the facts;

The global system is now entering the phase of zero economic growth and contraction predicted in 1972 by the Club of Rome.

Growth will not be stopped by absolute physical scarcities, but by increasing costs of essential commodities.

Inflation will be widespread - effecting energy, transport, housing, labor, food, water, and materials, but the trends in energy costs will be the most compelling to politicians.

Oil production is in decline and the production deficit will not be offset by either improved efficiency and certainly not by "renewables".

Humans are entering a period of declining energy availability and therefore of declining material standards.

Human welfare, however, can continue rising even though material standards are declining, if you humans prepare.

Preparations must start immediately and they must emphasize social measures.


What specifically are the elected, the selected, and various and sundry unaccountable 2nd/3rd line inheritors doing to prepare their constituents for what's around that signpost up ahead?

Whether consciously or unconsciously, black folk have largely embraced parasitic militarism and materialism and in the process abandoned the moral core of King's legacy. Since the specific types of changes required to be resilient in a contracting economy depend to some extent on a more Kingian moral temperament - i.e., resilience is antithetical in many regards to popular, status-seeking, barbarian culture - how do you propose instigating and proliferating necessary culture change?

nomad said...

Before coming to see the light, I would have taken exception to this:

'If "1" is joyful bliss, and "10" is utter misery,... I would suggest that those moments in the hellish prisons of Goree Island and in the slave ships of the Middle Passage rate a "10" on the scale. The moment of Barack Obama's election and his inauguration and swearing-in would score a "1."'

But now I have come to see the election of the dear leader perhaps black America's greatest triumph. Truly it is joyful bliss.

Rod said...

Really, we should have 2 Black Misery Indexes. One for blacks and people of color not living in the former Confederacy, and one for blacks whose states openly celebrate the history of the Confederate States of America (I.E., the South).

Thrasher said...

CD

I wrote abot this in July 2011 great minds intersect often

http://planeideas.blogspot.com/2011/07/new-qualitative-indices-for-community.html

We must keep hope alive!!!

CNu said...

lol@nomad:But now I have come to see the election of the dear leader perhaps black America's greatest triumph. Truly it is joyful bliss.

Keeping hope alive, and celebrating "symbolic" arrival into full barbarian status.

Are you holding your breath in anticipation of any of these other more tangible data?

Under the past 40 years of miseducation and failed leadership - the basic project management and metric skills required to implement actionable analytical data processing - don't even exist within the respectable negro community.

Thrasher said...

CNu's so called tangible data ignores the real time metrics of what humanity can achieve in the face of horric forecasts( Have you even taken a Black history class CNu?)..


Of course it is much easier for CNu to issue his usual rant and indictments against 2nd & 3rd generational Black folk and ignored their collective growth( first Black president, black home ownership, black millionaires, black graduate degrees, iconic artists and leaders created by this generational bandwidth..

In the year 2012 it is imperative that naysayers like CNu and others been dismissed and rejected to much is at stake to soak in the vomit of self hate..

I am committed to provide WARN and other sites where my brand is in effect to make a difference..

CNu said...

The mouthy bathroom attendant brand of talking loud and saying nothing for tips is not a good look.

Surely edumicated folks don't confuse the full-blown Oprah effect with progress? I covered that ground years ago at VisionCircle

Meanwhile, in tangible terms, negros been slippin into darkness....,

Thrasher said...

So in other words CNu has not evolved in years still a stale underdeveloped thinker...
Our community can no longer tolerated these hollow vessels to block our growth and progress...

nomad said...

CNu has a valid criticism of "2nd & 3rd generational Black folk". Yes there are those undeniable accomplishments: "first Black president, black home ownership, black millionaires, black graduate degrees, iconic artists and leaders " The success of this elite class of folks is just that: the success of an elite class. Unfortunately this elite class is more dedicated to the ruling corporatocracy than it is to the vast black underclass. Kind of reminds me of the 19th century. And that political power you thought you had thru your black politicians...you haven't got any. It's an illusion. Well, you know, ...except for Obama.

Thrasher said...

@ Nomad

CNu's rants against his parents and grandparents is shallow and empty when compared to what these generations made possible for us including even CNu..

BTW many in the elite class were not born in this class so your point is lacking more importantly this is not the 19th century nor was there a Black president, middle class, HBCU's etc..

Black political power is very real and present in many venues across our nation from Black mayors to CEO's of fortune 500 companies..

People like you and CNu simply lack credibility with your tiresome rants aginst substantive Black power and clout in our country ..

Oh Crap said...

@nomad

And that political power you thought you had thru your black politicians...you haven't got any. It's an illusion. Well, you know, ...except for Obama.

Obama, schmama. You sound worse than any propaganda coming out of Birth of A Nation.

It takes all kinds, not just your own preferred kinds.

Brotha Wolf said...

Eh...I'm pessimistic about this year. I usually fear the worst of this year which is why I wasn't so joyous about a new year. 2011 was a mess, and I fear 2012 will be pure hell.

Then again, whenever I think that way, the opposite sometimes happen. Let's hope that I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill.

CNu said...

CNu has a valid criticism of "2nd & 3rd generational Black folk".

Heaven forbid I stipulate 9 bullet points outlining jiggaboo I(2nd/3rd line inheritor) complicity in the massive hemorrhaging of the paltry little aggregate net worth accumulations of black folk over the past 7 years.

Dissecting the role of the jiggaboo in FUBAR'ing public education is a cake walk, but there are many other black walks of life in which these lampreys have done their dirty incompetent work, susceptible to the same straightforward and simple dissection, as well...,

CNu said...

Hep me jeezus lawd, let's not talk about the complicity of the CBC in providing mimetic cover for the so-called "war on drugs"...,

Aphorism for you Bro. Nomad.

Incompetence practiced long enough and on a large enough scale is indistinguishable from malfeasance.

The jiggaboo caste is utterly incompetent but none of these beyotches will die, move, or otherwise get out of the way...,

Thrasher said...

As usual CNu's fiction was easy to dismiss as with most of his trite talking points...lol lol lol

It must be pure hell getting trashed often on this forum ...lol lol

Next CNu will start posting that Obama was born on Mars or degrees from HBCU's are worthless....

nomad said...

@Thrasher & Oh Crap
I'm just sayin'. The future looks a lot like the past. Except the elite is of somewhat darker hue. Now that all blacks are eligible for the lottery.

Thrasher said...

@nomad,

That is not the future my analysis holds more importantly one's hue will not be a liability..

BTW elites don't often play the lottery..

Obama for 2012!!!!

nomad said...

"Obama for 2012!!!!"

Well at least we agree on something.

Thrasher said...

@Nomad,

I am sure we have a lot of shared interests:-)

nomad said...

@Thrasher
No doubt. How can we not?

Now is the time to put aside what ever differences might have and rally around Obama. The NDAA changes everything. Can you imagine what the Republicans would do if they got ahold of the power to indefinitely detain American citizens? You can bet they wouldn't be as restrained in their use of it as Obama. We must reelect him. In fact, we must never again allow a Republican to become President.

Thrasher said...

@nomad,

Sorry but I don't share your passion for Obama on a number of issues with regard to NDAA issue that is an overinflated issue much to do about nothing being detained in America is never a newsflash for Black men..

Nor can I purchase your DEMS only as president or surrender of dissent to any president regardless of hue..

Oh Crap said...

@nomad,

Can you imagine what the Republicans would do if they got ahold of the power to indefinitely detain American citizens?

I can't find a permalink for it, but the text of the bill (S.1867) is at http://thomas.loc.gov.

SEC. 1032. REQUIREMENT FOR MILITARY CUSTODY.

(a) Custody Pending Disposition Under Law of War-

(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (4), the Armed Forces of the United States shall hold a person described in paragraph (2) who is captured in the course of hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) in military custody pending disposition under the law of war.

(2) COVERED PERSONS- The requirement in paragraph (1) shall apply to any person whose detention is authorized under section 1031 who is determined--

(A) to be a member of, or part of, al-Qaeda or an associated force that acts in coordination with or pursuant to the direction of al-Qaeda; and

(B) to have participated in the course of planning or carrying out an attack or attempted attack against the United States or its coalition partners.

(3) DISPOSITION UNDER LAW OF WAR- For purposes of this subsection, the disposition of a person under the law of war has the meaning given in section 1031(c), except that no transfer otherwise described in paragraph (4) of that section shall be made unless consistent with the requirements of section 1033.

(4) WAIVER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY- The Secretary of Defense may, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, waive the requirement of paragraph (1) if the Secretary submits to Congress a certification in writing that such a waiver is in the national security interests of the United States.

(b) Applicability to United States Citizens and Lawful Resident Aliens-

(1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.

(2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.

nomad said...

@Thrasher
Good to hear NDAA is much ado about nothing. I may have to reconsider my conversion to Obamaism.

"Sorry but I don't share your passion for Obama on a number of issues"
Do tell. What issues might those be?

Constructive Feedback said...

Brother Chauncey - WHY DOES IT MATTER TO YOU, this "Black Misery Index"?

Do you anticipate any CHANGE from the present course and heading IF it ratchets up to levels unseen since the Negro was in bondage?

If the YELLS ALOUD triggers the same forces that are now "HELPING" to come and HELP SOME MORE - all for the investment of the "BLACK COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CONSCIOUSNESS AND HOPES" in yet another round - does it matter that this person YELLS out OR STAYS SILENT?


But wait, Brother DeVega - WHY are you needing to break out a separate "Black Misery Index" when it was one of the great progressive voices - Bayard Rustin who TOLD US that IF WE:

* VOTE for Democrats
* To Every possible office
* TO ADVANCE Progressive Public Policy
* The Negro will soon gain control of HIS OWN COMMUNITY
* And be made to PROSPER as a result


Sir, WHY is it that you don't appear to act like a "Black Community Investment Portfolio DEFENDER"?