Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve!!

Isaiah 9:6-8 (New Living Translation)
New Living Translation (NLT)

6 For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 His government and its peace
will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David
for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
will make this happen!

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

White Liberals Have White Privilege Too!

White Liberals Have White Privilege Too!
By Alex Jung, AlterNet

Posted on December 21, 2007, Printed on December 22, 2007

It often seems that the only way liberals can talk about race is to encircle the "racists" and point at them -- either for a laugh or a morality tale. The former is one of the many tricks that faux news personality Stephen Colbert employs in his caricature of a conservative. His racist schtick makes fun of racists, and there's a comfortable distance between the satire and the show's mostly liberal viewers. The critique goes down easy because it represents something the viewer isn't.

On the other hand, the website, featuring a liberal white couple, Johnny and Sally, enters murkier territory. Well-intentioned Johnny and Sally hang out with their black friends, who, as the namesake indicates, love them. Part of the site's subversion -- and subsequent confusion -- comes from the fact that its humor is not so separate from liberal Americana. We could meet a Johnny and Sally at a cocktail party, and maybe already have. One black "friend's" testimonial -- "Johnny is generous enough to remark upon how 'articulate' I am! That makes me feel good!" -- carries a zesty punch in light of Joe Biden's recent remarks on Barack Obama.

At these satires' roots is a distinction between challenging a Don Imus-type racism and the investment in something called white privilege. In the 1980s, a white feminist, Peggy McIntosh, came up with the metaphor of an "invisible knapsack" to analyze white privilege. It's unconscious, elusive, pervasive, and white liberals have as much of it as white conservatives do. McIntosh listed some ways she has white privilege. Her list ranges from the broad: "I can, if I wish, arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time," to the supposedly trivial: "I can choose ... bandages in 'flesh' color and have them more or less match my skin."

Jonah Peretti, co-creator of (and also of Nike Sweatshop E-mail fame) said that the Web site's purpose was to "draw attention to the unintentionally offensive comments made by well-meaning white folks."

I've met Johnnys and Sallys at political events, house parties, and through friends of friends, who have an unnerving belief in their own righteousness -- their "downness" with the cause. The issue, though, is not the occasional off-color remark, but rather the framework that comment stems from.

Growing up in the company of white people, I was unaware of systems of whiteness. I knew that, as an Asian American, I looked different (and was unhappy about that), and that my parents faced linguistic and financial barriers (which I blamed them for). I did what "good" Americans did, and I individualized my struggles, believing that if I had enough gumption and know-how, I could rise to the pinnacle of society regardless of my starting point. I was an acolyte of the Temple of Ayn Rand. I didn't connect my experiences, or those of my parents, with larger institutions (i.e., capitalism) or cultural biases (i.e., white is right!), and blamed myself for failing to meet those standards rather than critique the systems that generated those standards. I had internalized whiteness, and if I had, then white people certainly had. As I began to develop what W.E.B. Du Bois called a "double consciousness" -- the perspective of "always looking at one's self through the eyes of others," I could not stop looking. Race (which in its fullness includes gender and class) was impossible to ignore, and I could not believe I had perpetuated racial hierarchy as much as I had.

Moving out of a parochial town in Florida to the cosmopolitan mecca of New York City, I did not experience the radical shift in racial awareness that I had expected. Contending with the racial bias of liberals proved to be more difficult because these urban sophisticates sheathed themselves in worldliness and benevolence rather than outright ignorance. Critiques of whiteness slid off their backs as though they were protected by a Teflon body armor. And so I offer the following list of misunderstandings that many white liberals have about race because I think they can do better -- and because we need to rethink our understanding of race and its relationship to U.S. democracy. The commentary does not encompass all white liberals nor does it solely apply to white people. But the frequency with which I encounter these misunderstandings makes the posture of liberal enlightenment seem halfway farcical and all the more crucial to confront. A critique of whiteness should extend beyond electoral politics and cut through every "issue" area because it's not just about how we vote, but rather about who we are.

1. White supremacy? You mean white men in white sheets?

Contemporary images suggest that white supremacy is a white man driving a pickup with a noose trailing from the back and a Confederate flag tattooed on his arm. Rather, it is simply the idea that white people, neighborhoods, concerns, beauty and self-worth are more important then nonwhite ones.

This system is one people of color imbibe as well, albeit to their detriment. For an extreme example, Michelle Malkin as a token Asian-American conservative hurts people of color despite being one. Even beyond conventional politics, internalized white supremacy often permeates communities of color, perpetuating whiteness as a desired standard. Those standards are the most visually arresting when they relate to expectations of beauty. It's not uncommon, for example, to see communities of color awash with lighter-skinned, rounder-eyed and thinner-haired images.

White supremacy gives white individuals a special racial privilege, be it through economic policies, law enforcement, schooling or magazine covers; consequently those people of color who seem whiter -- whether it is in appearance or action (the two often go hand-in-hand) -- receive special treats for their excellent performance.

White supremacy more accurately describes racial hierarchy in a way that "racism" doesn't. Racism is generally individualized -- e.g., What Bill O'Reilly said was racist! -- and doesn't describe the institutionalized systems that engender those moments. Anyone can be a perpetrator or a victim of racism, but that leaves out the reality that people live in a world with unequal claims to power -- a racial epithet directed at a white man is not the same as its opposite because a nonwhite person does not have the institutional power to pack her verbal punch. Racism has a mutability that white supremacy doesn't.

2. I'm not racist, but ...

Nobody is racist anymore. Liberals are often scared of calling other white people racist. Even Frank Rich of the New York Times defended the Republican candidates' snubbing of a debate at a historically black university as not racist but, rather, as "out of touch" (then again, Rich admitted he was a frequent guest on Don Imus' radio show).

But perhaps instead of using "Am I racist?" as our cultural litmus test, a more provocative question would be: "Am I anti-racist?" as in, do my actions overturn racial hierarchy? Such a question is far more complex because an affirmative answer affects every area of life -- what your job is, what bars you go to, the neighborhood you live in, where you send your kids to school, and with whom you surround yourself. The personal is as crucial (if not more so) than the political. Developing an anti-racist consciousness means recognizing the individual privileges we have and the larger context in which they exist. Such an assessment can be as uncomplicated as paying attention to (1) who is at the table and (2) who takes up the most space at said table.

Too often, "not racist" is equated with not conservative and not Southern; by thinking in binaries, liberals excuse themselves from criticism by pointing to the greater evil. Rush Limbaugh is really just an overly medicated red herring to the privileges of white liberals. The liberal establishment -- everyone from the Democratic Party to Daily Kos -- fails the anti-racism test by merely paying lip service to racial oppression while maintaining a predominantly white constituency. They remain complicit with the belief that white men know better and therefore should talk louder and much more often.

3. Colorblind as a bat.

On Bloggingheads Video , the Nation columnist Eric Alterman whines about how talking about race is ruining liberalism (and of course, the Democratic Party). He tells the other talking head (who basically agrees with him): "Liberalism has paid an enormous price for bringing race to the fore, destroyed the Democratic party ... Everything in this country would be better, if we could leave race out of it."

Alterman's belief is a class-not-race argument, and from a generous perspective, he could be suggesting that racial subject matter is inherently divisive. But he's essentially spewing the same colorblind rhetoric as Justice John Roberts did with the Seattle/Louisville cases, when the conservative majority ruled that the schools' use of race to achieve desegregation was unconstitutional. Roberts said, "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

Alterman seems to believe that Jim Crow laws existed during a time when race was unavoidable. But how is racial oppression not a problem now? The continued xenophobia against immigrants, the racial profiling of black and Arab peoples, police brutality, soaring incarceration rates and vast educational inequities result from complex racial, class and gender structures. Moreover, even if there is no overt racial discrimination written into a certain law, that law's effects can still be discriminatory. For example, what editorialist Sylvester Brown Jr. calls the "walking with sagging pants while black" laws currently sweeping the nation, is according to the lawmakers, not about reigning in black masculinity, but rather about propriety. It is easy to make up laws that eschew the word "race" while only targeting one group. In the case of Alterman, it's not just about "class" as much as he yearns. (Couldn't I argue that slavery was just about class too? But more on that later.) It is a suspect attempt to excise race from class when they are inherently interwoven.

His desire to ignore race reinforces the dominant discourse. Alterman's vision of political discourse effectively invalidates people of color and prevents them from articulating their political concerns and personal experiences. In other words, who is this white man telling me how to talk about race?

4. Kumbaya, multiculturalism!

A popular perspective favored by many college admissions officers is the "It's a small world" multicultural approach. When celebrating "diversity," everything is positive, and nothing is unsavory. We can admire an African mask, hit a piñata with verve and gobble down a steamy bowl of pho -- all without political concerns. Stanley Fish calls it boutique multiculturalism. But it's just food. Or earrings. Or music. It reduces culture to benign, apolitical trinkets.

Boutique multiculturalism is most obviously inappropriate when it happens to domestic people of color, in the form of "ghetto fabulous" parties, where white college students -- or government officials -- don their favorite imitation of blackface. But the most uncriticized suspects are hipsters, hippies or other variants of alterna-whiteness. Their faddish diets often consist of keffiyehs (a symbol of Arab solidarity), dreadlocks (originally from Rastafarianism and black self-empowerment in Jamaica) and trips to Asia or Latin America -- all of which are part of their post-modern, post-cultural and post-political philosophy, where discrete cultures no longer exist, and everything is fair game. The consumer gains a "cool" credibility and some self-improvement, -discovery or -awareness.

Take New Age orientalist guru, Deepak Chopra. In the book Karma of Brown Folk, Vijay Prashad, writing in the legacy of Edward Said, says Chopra is "a complete stereotype willed upon India by U.S. orientalism, for he delivers just what is expected of a seer from the East."

Multiculturalism, according to Prashad:

Each cultural community is accorded the right to determine its destiny, as long as it does not clash in some fundamental way with the social construct of the state and its citizens ... The problem with U.S. multiculturalism as it stands is that it pretends to be the solution to chauvinism rather than the means for a struggle against white supremacy.

So it's easy to adopt Chopra's philosophy because he is Ayn Rand lite. And it's easy for white hippie-hipsters to wear keffiyehs, because they would never be mistaken as a terrorist. Or groove to Tupac's music without ever fighting against poverty or the prison system. But what, both literally and figuratively, are we buying into?

5. It's not a "[insert racial group here]" issue as much as it is a "human" issue.

Last year, the outreach program Keep a Child Alive ran an AIDS awareness campaign featuring headshots of Western celebrities adorned with facepaint and large block letters proclaiming, "I Am African." The high-profile roster included such human rights luminaries as Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker and only one person who could actually claim to be African: supermodel Iman. There was a rapid backlash to the campaign and its asserted motives: "Each and every one of us contains DNA that can be traced back to our African ancestors ... Now they need our help." Its flaws were easily exposed by a deft parody that reversed the roles portraying an African woman with the tagline, "I am Gwyneth Paltrow."

The campaign fit neatly into a framework of universal humanism, where a Westerner, with enough knowledge and/or empathy, could speak for another. Universalism, as it has existed, has refused to allow nonwhiteness to exist in any real or multifaceted way, and while Gwynnie can stand in for Africa, a nameless African woman could never replace her, or the "West" for that matter. This is yet another permutation of colorblindness that denies those who most experience racial oppression the right to speak to it. In the introduction to Notes of a Native Son, James Baldwin writes, "When we talk about color, we are not merely speaking about phenotype, but experience, oppression, and livelihoods -- things that inform our humanity."

Even Toni Morrison (and she's not the only person who said this) made an egregious error when, in a New Yorker article, she said Bill Clinton was the first "black president." She said his background and the potshots directed at his sex life were indicative of the black experience. Not really. Nothing can stand in for having dark skin. It's also especially ironic because policies he espoused resulted in higher incarceration rates for black people.

6. One of my best friends is [insert nonwhite group here]!

Earlier this year, I was at a bar in the liberal bastion of Berkeley with a group of Asian-American girls. A white male sidled next to us and offered to buy us a round of drinks. Not the types who refuse free drinks, we accepted (of course, I forgot my mother's warning that nothing in life is free) and began chatting with our new friend, and self-identified liberal, "Sam."

Everything was dandy until Sam made a derogatory remark about Asian-Americans. Our irritated expression elicited a swift defense: "No, no! It's OK! I dated a Chinese girl."

In Thinking Orientals, historian Henry Yu discusses the Chicago sociologists and their work on Asian Americans. Robert Park, among others, wanted to measure "social distance," which was "whether a person cared about another or could imagine the other's point of view." Park quantified empathic ability on a scale from zero to five, where zero represented marriage (and sex, naturally) and five a desire for a group to leave the country. But Yu wonders, "Why was sex and intermarriage to be the ground zero of social distance?" For Park, the "possibility that someone could at the same moment abhor and desire a person of another race was counted an impossibility."

But how does a white person having sex with a nonwhite person -- or having a nonwhite "best friend" for that matter -- necessarily make her less racist? Strom Thurmond managed the contradiction fairly well. For example, analyzing Asian-white sexual relationships, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that Asian females are twice as likely to marry a white male, than if the racial roles were reversed. The disparity fits neatly into a narrative that has belittled and desexualized Asian-American men (note that the most famous Asian-American American Idol contestants were William Hung and Sanjaya Malakar) and eroticized Asian-American women (in contrast, look at American Apparel ads or take a trip to the "adult" section of the video store). Private bedroom acts are, in this way, as political as declaring which candidate we champion in an election.

7. How could I have white privilege? I'm poor/female/gay/Polish/disabled!

Another liberal technique is to eschew a discussion of race in favor of one of "class." The implicit, and sometimes explicit, argument is that race (or "identity politics") holds the Left back from what actually oppresses people and furthermore assumes that constructions of class and race are separate, rather than dynamically intertwined. Historian Robin Kelley critiques such an either-class-or-race construction in Yo' Mama's Disfunktional!: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America:

The idea that race, gender and sexuality are particular whereas class is universal not only presumes that class struggle is some sort of race- and gender-neutral terrain but takes for granted that movements focused on race, gender or sexuality necessarily undermine class unity and, by definition, cannot be emancipatory for the whole.

Race determines how class (and gender) is experienced and vice versa. (Isn't that what this conversation about immigration and a "guest workers" program is about?) Furthermore, there is a failure to integrate racial analysis on the parts of mainstream feminist and gay rights organizations. A cursory look at mainstream gay and lesbian and feminist commentators reveals that while a gender analysis might be a part of their ethos, anti-racism is not. Arguing for primacy of dismantling one hierarchy over another, or simply leaving one out, is a limited and ultimately doomed strategy for liberation.

8. The white savior complex.

Saving Africa is a hot trend, especially for consumers. U.S. shoppers can buy a (red) iPod Shuffle or (red) T-shirts from the Gap, which recently got caught employing child labor in India to manufacture its world-saving goodies. Celebrities like Madonna are taking some personal initiative and trailblazing the "save African babies" trend. But, maybe it's not actually about the babies.

Western countries perpetually exploit the people and resources of the Global South, which, in turn, conveniently places them in a prime position to be saved either economically or morally. (For example, on the issue of colonial Britain's attempt to illegalize "suttee," or widow-burning in India, scholar Gayatri Spivak called it an example of "white men saving brown women from brown men." This is not to collapse moral indignation with economic and colonial repression, but rather to suggest they have a complex relationship to each other.

The exploitation of domestic exotics is linked to human rights abuses abroad because the disregard for lives of color operates from the same logic. Furthermore, neighborhoods like Chinatown, the projects and barrios are considered the results of those people not being able to get it together or something regressive about their "culture," rather than something unequal about the "system." It creates a dynamic where the wealthy, and/or the well-intentioned can begrudgingly, condescendingly or magnanimously save the black, brown, and yellow people from themselves. It's the difference between social service and social justice, where the former works to alleviate hardship, while the latter aims to eradicate the root causes of that hardship.

9. "Good" people of color

At the beginning of Obama's candidacy for president, Joe Klein of Time observed that white people were "out of control" at a rally for Obama, while the black folks were decidedly reserved. Chris Matthews gushed that, with Obama, there was "no history of Jim Crow, no history of anger, no history of slavery. All the bad stuff in our history ain't there with this guy." Indeed, in a speech at Selma, Ala., commemorating the march in 1965, Obama himself stated that in the struggle for equality, the Civil Rights leaders had brought black people "90 percent of the way." Just 10 percent to go!

Obama is a portrait of calm amicability -- so much so that his own supporters have urged him to ramp up the heat. Walter Shapiro described Obama's debating style as "smooth jazz" for its mellowness (a racialized characterization for sure, but we'll leave it be). Gary Younge has noted that his cadences are also unlike the oratorical styles of black politicians like Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. The New York Times has also had a recent orgy of articles calling Obama "post-racial," "post-feminist" and "post-polarization." White liberals have gleefully projected their fantasies (delusions?) of a post-race society on a man who looks black but doesn't "act" black. But what about those who do?

Any group of color -- Asian American, black, Latino -- is incredibly heterogeneous, but experiences a bifurcation of their community into "good" and "bad." And what happens when the "good" start misbehaving? Take Nina Simone: She rose to popularity in the late '50s with her hit I Loves You Porgy, and her music took a political turn in the mid-'60s. On a live recording of Simone singing "Mississippi Goddam," the predominantly white audience laughs initially at her introduction of the song but, listening to the lyrics, slowly grows quiet and uncomfortable. She quips, "Bet you thought I was kidding."

In "The Souls of White Folk," W.E.B. Du Bois, describes the separation:

So long, then, as humble black folk, voluble with thanks, receive barrels of old clothes from lordly and generous whites, there is much mental peace and moral satisfaction. But when the black man begins to dispute the white man's title to certain alleged bequests of the Fathers in wage and position, authority and training; and when his attitude toward charity is sullen anger rather than humble jollity ... then the spell is suddenly broken, and the philanthropist is ready to believe that Negroes are impudent, that the South is right, and that Japan wants to fight America.

"Good" and "bad" come down to the extent to which a person challenges the hierarchy, whether it is through action or style. I wonder, if Obama started sporting an afro and talking about black empowerment, would white liberals suddenly lose their affection for him? And if Bill Richardson's last name were in the Spanish style of taking both parents' last names, with his mother's maiden name following his father's surname, would he be as successful as Bill Richardson López?

10. All that guilt.

An attack on a white supremacist system is not a personal insult. Anti-racist critiques seek to dismantle a system that gives different groups unequal power. No one chooses her/his skin color, but people can change the values assigned to those differences.

This conversation about race is an easy one to ignore (Hi, Alterman!). Privilege, by its nature, can choose what it wishes to engage with. Being critical of white supremacy is not designed to make white people feel bad about being white and replace the knapsack of white privilege with one of white guilt. Rather, it is asking white people to take off the knapsack and chuck it down the river. White people not only need to acknowledge their individual advantages, but also build a resistant collective consciousness that privileges marginalized peoples. But the question remains, can they do it?

Alex Jung is an editorial intern at AlterNet.

© 2007 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Update to History of Slavery

Dalton Conley, Director of NYU's Center for Advanced Social Science Research, showed that white families, on average, had eight times the accumulated wealth of black families who earned the same, and that remained true even when you adjust for education levels and savings rates. It is, as Conley told me in an interview last year, "the legacy of racial inequality from generations past." (Emphasis mine.)

"The American Dream, or a Nightmare for Black America" by Joshua Holland.

You really have to read the article for yourself, but I can try to summarize it for you.

Basically, racism is still a present problem, and past racism effects us today through the accumulation of wealth or lack there of, a point I made in an earlier post. Yeah, past racism is impacting people who are alive today! So enough with that, "You weren't alive when it happened," argument. Again I say: "People die. Money gains compound interest."

He quotes a study by the Brookings Institution by Julia Isaacs, a Fellow with the Brookings Institution, that found:

-Startlingly, almost half (45 percent) of black children whose parents were solidly middle class end up falling to the bottom of the income distribution, compared to only 16 percent of white children.
-Achieving middle-income status does not appear to protect black children from future economic adversity the same way it protects white children.
-Black children from poor families have poorer prospects than white children from such families. More than half (54 percent) of black children born to parents in the bottom quintile stay in the bottom, compared to 31 percent of white children.

So, the income disparity between blacks and whites has increased, and contrary to what some would have you believe, it's not due to blacks "sitting around complaining." It's also important, maybe more, to look at accumulated wealth where the disparity is even greater, as explained in the first quote.

That may sound like a trite and unimportant fact, but it makes a difference in one's personal financial future if one's parents can pay or help pay for college or a first home. (So those of you who insist on your children making their own way without your help, and/or not leaving anything behind, the Bible has it right: a good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children, Proverbs 13:22.) As Holland points out, when it comes to two hypothetical kids who only differ in family net-worth,
"In a true meritocracy, the two would enjoy the same opportunity to get ahead. But the fact that one might graduate from college free and clear while the other is burdened with $50,000 in debt makes a huge difference in terms of their long-term earnings prospects."

What more is that
Studies have shown that whites with criminal records are more likely to be hired than blacks with identical backgrounds and no criminal past and that fake resumes with "black-sounding names" get fewer calls for interviews than others. A study of more than 300,000 auto loans in 33 states even found that black buyers "consistently paid more than white customers, regardless of their credit histories." (Links in original article.)

That is all without even getting into the "sub prime" mortgage lending crisis. And before you get on, "They should've read the papers," or, "They wanted what they couldn't afford and are just getting what they deserve" train, remember that even lawyers have a hard time understanding all the terms of some of these sub prime loans and part of making one's self more "American" is owning a home.

These are some of the problems for which many, but not all, African Americans blame whites. White folks are to blame for blithely accepting the status quo and not fighting to change it. White folks are to blame for ignoring any facts that contradict their self-congratulatory myth that the 60s and 70s solved all the race problems, that any farther disparities are due to the self-segregation or some other "unAmericanism" on the part of minorities. And before you start quoting crime stats and out-of-wedlock birth stats, bear in mind that once you hold for income, problems in the black community are the same as America as whole. For just about every remaining disparity, including crime stats, the explanation is racism, not laziness or lack of ambition or anything else.

Have you ever asked yourself why, when it comes to job discrimination, we're all Americans and affirmative action is only "reverse discrimination"; but when a white man uses racist and misogynistic language to describe a group of mostly young black women, all of a sudden there's a "black community" that should do something about its rap music. No mention that it's mainstream rap, that few in the black community consider it hip-hop, and the listeners and buyers of mainstream rap are overwhelmingly young white males. Nope. That's thrown out the window. Have you considered the racist myth about affirmative action is that it gives opportunities to undeserving, unqualified minorities while bypassing deserving and qualified whites. It never crosses the minds of racists (of any race) that affirmative action prevents undeserving, unqualified whites from taking opportunities from more deserving and more qualified minorities. Until white America admits the truth about American history and the legacy of slavery, there will always be some angst between white and black America.

But since that admitting of truth isn't coming, President Obama or not, it's up to the black community to continue being twice as good and doing twice as much, and maybe even more, to keep ourselves where we know we deserve to be. We owe it to those historically uncredited forefathers and foremothers.

And now that it should be apparent that economic reparations is in order, let's not think of it as trying to make up for the past; instead, let's think of it as one of many steps towards reconciliation.

Monday, December 17, 2007

See What I Mean?

An elderly man told Edwards that “something has been sticking in my craw” and explained that “a certain fella committed two murders in California and the jury found him not guilty. And all they said was, ‘It’s payback time.’ How are you going to have that come out in this election to combat one of your competitors?”

Edwards seemed puzzled, as most people in the audience seemed to be.

“The black jury in Los Angeles, the reason they found O.J. not guilty was ‘payback,’” the older gent explained.

“Payback for what?” Edwards asked.

For mistreatment by white America, the man said.

“What do you want the president to do about that?” Edwards asked.

“How are you going to get that brought out in your campaign? Will the same thing happen? If he should become elected, you think Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Oprah Winfrey are going to let him forget about that and their obligation?” the man said, not identifying who he meant by “he” and “him.”

You have to read the article to get the full effect. But basically, here's another white guy worried about what'll happen should a black person become president.

What is my personal opinion? You can best be believing African Americans should receive reparations, free college education, more money at HBCUs, or something!! Can we at least get a national memorial? Can somebody give slaves and free Blacks the credit they deserve for being the foundation of the national economy? I know lots of African Americans feel that no amount can undo the damage or actually "repay" what had been done. But we can't hardly get an apology in the US! So what people have died? The federal and state governments that allowed representation for people who couldn't even vote and raised revenue of the "peculiar institution" are still around.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Uh, What? Run That by Me One More 'Gain

First, Mukasey says the Justice Department can't cooperate with Congress's investigation of the destruction of CIA tapes.

The Justice Department and the C.I.A.'s inspector general have begun a preliminary inquiry into the destruction of the tapes, and Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said the department would not comply with Congressional requests for information now because of "our interest in avoiding any perception that our law enforcement decisions are subject to political influence."

No one's quite sure what's on the tape, but the Bush administration and the CIA had been instructed NOT to destroy the tape. Presumably, the tapes are of the CIA using torture. And, the Bush administration would cooperate with Congress, but they don't wanna the investigation to look political. In a move reversal its normal course of (in)action, Congress in planning to defy the administration.

Of course, there are questions about who in Congress was told about the tapes, what they were told about the tapes, and what they said about what they were told. Some say Congress wasn't told much. Dana Perino, White House Press Secretary claims Congress knew more than Bush.

Now, the Bush administration doesn't want a federal judge asking questions since Congress and the Justice Dept is already investigating CIA tapes.

In court documents filed Friday night, government lawyers told U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy that demanding information about the tapes would interfere with current investigations by Congress and the Justice Department.

Somebody please explain this logic!

Friday, December 14, 2007

State Digest of History: Slavery

Dalton Conley, Director of NYU's Center for Advanced Social Science Research, showed that white families, on average, had eight times the accumulated wealth of black families who earned the same, and that remained true even when you adjust for education levels and savings rates. It is, as Conley told me in an interview last year, "the legacy of racial inequality from generations past."
(Emphasis mine.)

As a historian, I feel it's my duty to elucidate history as concerns current race relations and slavery.

Euro-Americans don't like being blamed for slavery. I can understand that. They weren't around then. There's no concrete evidence that present day Europeans or their present day descendants would today participate in slavery as it was then.

But no black person I know, and I knows a plenty, blames present day white people for slavery. What lots of black people blame them for, myself included, is accepting the present status quo as okay.

So, first, let's do a quick historical review. Then, we'll look at some present day facts.

- There is evidence the very first Africans to have explored the Americas predated Columbus. Archaeologists who suggest this reference to Amerindian, Incas for example, rock statues and other artifacts depicting people with African facial features.

- Post-Columbus, which is what's pertinent to this discussion, there were Africans who came to America willingly, either as settlers or indentured servants.

- As cheap or free labor grew in demand, Europeans began to notice that unlike white indentured servants, Africans couldn't get lost in the crowd and run away without being noticed. And unlike Amerindians, Africans had natural immunity against diseases that decimated aboriginal populations.

- Africans initially willingly participated in the slave trade. Nations on the West Coast would kidnap Africans of other nations in the interior and sell them to the Europeans. (It would be something akin to Anglo-Saxons selling the Gauls to the Chinese, for example.) However, slavery as it was in Africa was very different from slavery as it was in America. Slaves could earn their freedom in African. They could grow wealth and become part of the upper class. The state of slavery was not inheritable, and often slaves were treated as members of the family. What made American slavery very different from slavery of any other time or place was its racial component, extent of brutality and terror, and the fact that the state was inheritable. In fact, North American whites departed from patriarchy in that one's status, slave or free, was determined by the mother's status, not the fathers.

Once Africans became aware of the atrocities being committed in the Americas, they wanted to forgo their involvement in the slave trade. In response, slave traders threatened to kidnap and/or capture more people from the coastal nations.

- Slavery was unquestionably an institution that relied on terror, fear, and brutality to maintain itself. Oftentimes, apologists cite the relatively few rebellions by slaves as proof that North American slavery wasn't "that bad." However, the truth is that the neither demographics nor geography lent itself to mass rebellion. In areas more conducive to evasion, escaped Africans developed completely separate societies in Jamaica and Brazil.

- After the Civil War and Reconstruction, white Southerners instituted a Counter-Reconstruction that eventually developed into segregation and Jim Crow laws. Violence and terror were again used keep African Americans in their "place."

- Legal segregation and Jim Crow did not effectively end until the mid70s. Then the backlash against civil rights for people of color began in the 80s with the Reagan administration.

That begs the question, do we really think the ramifications of racial prejudice were undone in less than 20 years, less than a generation? Do we really think the situation has improved to the point of no longer demanding grassroots and government intervention? Just 40 years later, and a backlash during those 40 years?

Also, consider this: we know that blacks are disproportionately poor. We also know African Americans were legally barred from better paying jobs for a century. Considering just those two facts alone, do we really think blacks would have acquired the same wealth as whites? The right to vote and equal employment opportunity were just guaranteed in the mid60s. Even today, the rate of discrimination against people of color is higher than the rate of discrimination against whites (even though the Justice Department has prosecuted disproportionately more reverse discrimination laws.) Even today, public schools haven't maximized black students' potential. Also, I repeat, that a backlash to Civil Rights Movement effectively started in the 80s. Considering all that, do we really think African Americans should have, by now, acquired the same wealth as white Americans?

Now, for some present day facts.

- Black students are routinely disciplined in great proportion to their population in schools, despite acting out NO MORE than white students.

- African Americans face greater legal penalties than whites, even for the same crimes.

- Also, while enrollment of minority students did declined after Proposition 209 passed, it was NOT due to merit.


Now, the issue of whites being blamed for slavery is probably linked to the question of reparation. Do present day African Americans deserve reparations? Consider these questions:
- How do you imagine America would have evolved if Africans had been paid for their work? Where do you think the black community would be?
- Racism was the reason for not paying reparations after slavery. What would be the reason now?
- Even if no reparations are made for slavery, what about reparations for Counter Reconstruction and Jim Crow?

I know it's argued that no one alive now was alive then, and so no blacks today deserve reparations. But lets think about this. Times change. People die. Money gains compound interest. Real estate/land always has value.

I will update later to add dates and references. Feel free to ask for references in case you would like to cite the information yourself. However, if something isn't proven to your satisfaction (at any time), YOU look it up and prove ME wrong.

O2: Disturbing Update

There are many, many people on Oprah's message boards upset with Oprah for campaigning Obama. They have several reasons. I considered joining the message board to do a little touching up site-on, but like I've said before, I have neither energy nor desire to engage with random, arrogant, angry people. There were others who shared my views, to be sure. Not all the comments are negative.

One of the more innocuous reasons for the maylay is that she's a celebrity and celebrities shouldn't get involved in politics. Of course I find that idea a little silly, but at least it applies equally to all famous people. I don't understand why American celebrities can't voice their political convictions. Do they become less American the more famous they get? Does the political process begin to matter less the more famous one becomes? Do we think decisions made in DC don't affect them? Or, is it that we like to have fantasies about our celebrities and their politics, and we don't like them straying from the scripts we have written for them? Well, I mean, unless, of course, the celebrity is running for president as a Republican.

I guess, then, that if Oprah were running for president as a Republican, everyone in her fan base would cheer her. But, lets move on to the more disturbing reasons . . . and try to keep our breakfasts/lunches/dinners down.

1 posts since
Dec 13, 2007

do you mean Barack Hussein Obama Jr as in his birth name was barry but changed it to be more muslim. This guy claims to be a black man, and completely forsakes the fact that he is half white. When did Oprah go to this much trouble before for any candiate, never. It is simply due to race and nothing else.

gz3ro4 is responding to this post:
Dec 13, 2007 6:27 PM ewinkey
12 posts since
Dec 3, 2007
Oprah fans get over it! Oprah has worked very hard for her title and success. Obama has the right to run for president and she has the right to back him. There is no White Only Sign Posted on The White House. When a White celebrity backs a White candidate it's just politics. However, when a Black celebrity backs a Black candidate it's insane. A true fan would accept her decision and continue to be a fan. You're only a fan when she agrees with you. If you can't respect her decision you're not a fan. You're the Traitors!!!!!!!!!!! Will we ever stop fighting each other? Our family, friends, money, material things and idols are only temporary. In a wink of an eye we can leave this world and take nothing with us. We need to love each other and share our success.

So let's take apart gz3ro4's response:
First of all, Barack Hussein Obama's name has always been Barack, but Barry is a reasonable nickname, not to mention it's "American." You know? Ronny is a reasonable nickname for Ronald, but what grown man would let anyone other than his brothers and sisters call him that? Can we really blame Barack for acknowledging and showing pride for his true roots? Would we rather him be like Bobby Jindal, who's real name is Piyush, and deny his heritage?

Second of all, is it just me, or doesn't Obama talk about his white mother and having been raised in part by his white grandparents and how is Kenyan father abandoned him? Gee, guess Barry should go around and say, "Even though I look black, and I've been stopped by police for DWB and I can't get a cab in NYC, when I campaign, I'll tell everyone I'm half-white. Don't worry, my Euro-American brethren, not only am I half-white and related to Dick Cheney, my white ancestors owned slaves! Vote for me!"

4 posts since
Nov 10, 2007
in response to: gz3ro4
I agree with something someone said: When has Oprah ever supported a political candidate to this caliber, ever? Never. If Obama were white, would Oprah give him the time of day?

exp_writer agrees with gz3ro4 that Oprah's racist and is only supporting Obama because he's the first black, er, half black, American to have a realistic chance at winning the race. Lots of others hold this view, which is why I feel free to elucidate a bit what they're saying. And, isn't that the most ridiculous thing you've heard? Like ewinkey says, white celebs support white candidates ALL the time and nobody says boo. Oh, I guess that's because if only a bunch of white men are running, you really can't say the system is a bit . . . racist. Oops! I just said it.

Curt Schillings for McCain. Chuck Norris is campaigning for Huckabee. I googled for Curt and McCain! Nothing as vicious as what Oprah's getting on her own message board.

And you know what? What IF Oprah were only supporting Barry because he's half black? Like this'll just destroy the chances for any white candidate. And as far as Oprah being racist, has anyone not seen all of her producers and associate producers on stage with her?

Then, there's rednecky, and trust me, the screenname tells you all you need to know:
72 posts since
Dec 13, 2007
in response to: kpederson1
No, it won't become the Black House. It will become a mosque and a place to entertain the world's worse: leaders of Iran, Syria and North Korea.

rednecky says some other ignorant stuff, namely that all blacks blame all whites for slavery when it wasn't all Europeans fault. Awwooo, poor white people. Um, yeah, I'll check that ignorance in my next post.

But, let's get in rednecky's (Is it just me, or do you not worry that there's a "redneck" around somewhere and rednecky just absently chose the next best option?) racist and ignorant comment.

First of all, should it really matter if Obama were Muslim? Let's just say he is. Despite what Karl Rove would have you think, the Constitution proscribes AGAINST religious tests in politics. That means you're free to vote for or against someone based upon their religious affiliation, but in theory, it's not supposed to matter to you. Muslim can still run for office, as Keith Ellison has shown us; ie, when a citizen signs up to run for a political position, the registrar can't deny the application. In theory, the idea is supposed to carry on to the electorate, but you really can't do that, or you'd deny the right to vote for whomever you choose. I will also point out that Thomas Jefferson said:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802

But, Obama is a Christian.

Second of all, we've been ignoring other leaders of the world for the past 7 years. All that's gotten us is two wars, more nuclear (or, nucular) proliferation, and a free bin Laden. Maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to actually acknowledge the rest of the world doesn't need our permission before preparing to defend themselves from, and I'm gonna just throw out a name here, US. Not to mention, in case some have forgotten, IRAN STOPPED ITS SECRET ENRICHMENT PROGRAM 4 YEARS AGO!!

And the slander doesn't stop there!

2 posts since
Dec 13, 2007
Reply 29. Re: In bad taste: Oprah campaigning for Obama Dec 13, 2007 8:59 PM

Once a public figure becomes larger than life, as Oprah has, they seem to lose touch with reality. I find it incredibly naive of Oprah to have endorsed Barack without thinking through what havoc doing so would create. Also, am I the only one offended by the southern accent she affect during her stump speeches? When did she acquire such a southern drawl? Oprah would have been so much more effective if she spoke as she normally does not as how she felt her audience wanted her to sound. It was very unsettling to her Oprah not be Oprah but someone she thought we wanted her to be. I love a southern accent, but I love it more when it's real.

Oprah's from Mississippi, lest we forget. I thought it was a sign of authenticity that she slipped into her Southern accent.

1 posts since
Nov 26, 2007
Reply 12. Re: In bad taste: Oprah campaigning for Obama Nov 26, 2007 6:17 PM

I just wonder if Oprah knows that Mr Obama refuses to pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States Of America , how can anyone in the U.S.A. respect the person. He was educated in India and raised Muslim he say he's a Christian now but I wonder what he really is hiding.I hope Oprah tells everone on her show Vote for Obama who refuse to pledge allegiance to the U.S.A..He will sells us all down the river.

Full disclosure, I only reluctantly put my hand on my heart and recite the pledge. One, there's hardly justice for all in America. Two, my family has my allegiance. My God has my allegiance. This country? . . . During the Olympics, I cheer proudly for America!

But as for Barry, there's a picture that claims to be of him not holding his hand over his heart during the pledge, but it was taken during the singing of the National Anthem. Barry had his hand over his heart during the pledge, and he had been taught by his white grandfather to hold his hands at his side during the Anthem.

There are hundreds more comments. I haven't read them all, and I didn't quote the worst. Some accuse the entire African American community of being racist*. Now, of course, in the face of institutional racism, disadvantaged groups often resists the labels placed on them. It's easy to call that racism, but the truth is that it's RESISTANCE. True, there are some blacks who believe blacks are superior to any other ethnic group. But, all of us? Wake me when Africa dominates the world.

Oh, I wasn't going to cite this one, but I feel I must:

Nov 27, 2007 12:08 PM austaz68
3 posts since
Nov 27, 2007
I cannot believe that women all over this country are not up in arms over Oprah's backing of Obama. For the first time in history, we actually have a shot at putting a woman in the white house and Oprah backs the black MAN. She's choosing her race over her gender- hypocracy at it's finest!! Oprah- you should be ashamed of yourself!!!!!

And a few responses:

2 posts since
Nov 27, 2007
Reply 15. Re: OPRAH IS A TRAITOR!!!!!!!!! Nov 27, 2007 11:37 PM

I AGREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! well i wouldn't put it that strongly, but i do agree. it's been much harder for women to bust that glass ceiling than it has been for black men. maybe she doesn't see it since she is one in a million who have broken through. women, in some industries, are still making less money than their male equivalents. it's pathetic and insulting. whoever thinks that women don't know what prejudice is need to walk a mile in our shoes. we really really need a female in the ultimate leadership position in this country!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! c'mon oprah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i am disappointed and i do feel like she sold us white girls out. we need someone who will consider the interest of all women regardless of race. i really believe that hillary is that woman. i like obama too, but it's about damn time that women get some respect and credit for their abilities!

1 posts since
Nov 27, 2007
Reply 9. Re: OPRAH IS A TRAITOR!!!!!!!!! Nov 27, 2007 7:17 PM

I wouldn't say she is a traitor that is a strong word, but I do feel that she is going against all woman now after she got what she wanted from all of us. She talks about empowering woman, the school in Africa , the talk about abuse and how woman need stronger voices and we need to be heard and yet she has a chance to help us elect the FIRST WOMAN PRESIDENT of THE USA and she doesn't do this. I don't understand it. I have lost respect for her and her meaningless words, for that is all they were, just empty words..

Yeah, Oprah has committed treason against her white female audience. Poor white women. Can't get a chance.

I don't believe Oprah's supporting Barack just because his name is really Barack, you know, ethnic. I believe she's supporting him because he's the best candidate for president. Also, current me if I'm wrong, but isn't the notion that race is the only reason people would support Barack racist in and of itself? Much like accusations of the black community being racist as a whole? Just because we look out for each other and protect ourselves from the institutionalized racism of our larger society?

And, let's be honest. Nothing solidifies your blackness like attacks and false accusations from white people.

*Update: I've changed my mind about not posting a quote accusing the entire black community of racism. Bear in mind, now, that this is supposed to be reason not to support Obama.
20 posts since
Dec 13, 2007
in response to: mohini52
The African Americans are STILL blaming the White Folk for the Slavery. They think white people still owe them something. This is the greatest arrogance. Ever.

And you want THAT in the White House?!?! Hell NO!

Obama is unelectable as president because we "STILL blame White Folks for the Slavery?" [emphasis mine. And yes, that's Slavery with a capital S.] And it's we African Americans who have the problem?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Family (& Neighbors)

Just this past week or so, I've talked to 3 cousins I haven't seen in years!! One of my cousins I hadn't seen since our grandfather's funeral. She big sistered me a little, and I thought it was kinda funny.

Another cousin I may not have since we were both little. Not only do she and I favor, but what's even more exciting is that I think we sound alike! I don't know, I find that comforting.

The last cousin I talked to this pass week didn't even recognize my name when I sent him a friend request on a social network. He thought some random person was going around with his grandmother's name. The name is unusual enough that he knew we had to be related somehow; he just couldn't remember how. And me? I hadn't even known his real name!

To top it off, my brother just got engaged, so I really have to do some heart opening.

It's just amazing the way family works. . . when it works right, I should add. Not only do we share common facial features, there's the common interests. One cousin and I enjoy music and don't mind bearing the cross of genuine leadership (You remember what genuine leadership is, right? Marked by things like integrity, honesty, accountability. You remember all that, right?). Both of us can run hot thinking of the state of Black America; even though, truth be told, once you hold for income, our issues aren't any different from anyone else's.

Another cousin and I are walking similar spiritual journeys.

It doesn't take much to get a laugh from any of'em. The tendency to laugh at the slightest hint of hilarity is something I share with my family. Or, it could be that we all find hilarity in irony. Like, when I hard Bush say that the recent NIE report was reason to use even more "caution" with Iran, I almost rolled into the floor!

Then, there's the automatic genuine concern and interest. "How ARE you?...Well, I'm really sorry to hear your health is that bad. I really am." They ignored the sudden intrusion into their schedules and spent hours on the phone with me. There's the unconditional love and protection. There wasn't any shock that I'd be irate at a cousin's ex-fiance despite not having been in contact with my family for years. Cause, shoot! Family's family, and you just don't let some recreant scrub roll up on fam. Once I heard the entire story, I wish I had been there to stop my cousin on about the third mistake in. (Btw cuz, I'm not really feeling your bff's either! One of them should popped you on the first bad decision. But, no. They just "had you[r] back" right into a disaster!)

Okay, so why have you been reading about my family life? Well, because when family works right, you look out for each other. It's not enough just to be there to jump in to fight for family. Family is supposed to be there to slap you when you need it. Family is supposed to make you graduate high school and go to college. Family's supposed to tell you not to sex everything the moves! Maybe even try waiting for marriage before you have sex, or at least until you can be responsible handle any consequences of having sex. Especially those consequences that get hungry and wake you in the middle of the night. Family's supposed to tell you stealing a car is illegal and will get you jailed.

Right? People who really care about us encourage us to enjoy life to the fullest. They help us turn our potential into reality. They celebrate our success. They celebrate us. And they throw up warning signs when we start heading in the wrong direction.

So, I don't know. At some point in the course of this blog, you can best be believing BushCo will be taken to task. I'm going to find out as much as I can about the health care crisis and candidates' plans to fix it. I'm positively sure something's really gonna get in my craw and I'll have to touch white America up a bit. I guess I just thought it'd be a good idea to reflect on family. How it's supposed to work. Without the abuse and violence, drugs, 25 hour work days and such. With parents being parents and giving their children the gift of their presence. When everyone in the neighborhood is interested in collective success.

Children shouldn't feel it's okay to resort to violence to solve problems. Children shouldn't be embarrassed to be virgins. And, when the state DOES get involved in family disputes, children who have been victimized by parents shouldn't be farther victimized by the system. (Neither should adults, btw.) And for the love of all that's good and holy, QUIT DENYING INNOCENCE TO CHILDREN OF COLOR. Stop charging black and Latin minors as adults just because of some racist notions of accelerated physical maturity.

If you're no longer a child, surround yourself with people who'll support your best. People who'll be around for better or for worse. People who won't eat popcorn while watching you self-destruct. Don't get involved with people who'll eventually destroy you, I don't care what you parents did. Look out for your family and friends. You support others at their best. Don't eat popcorn while one of your friends goes from one mistake to another and another and another. But don't hesitate to offer a bowl of soup, or a couch if the occasion makes one necessary. Don't you be the destructive friend.

So in the end, take better care of yourselves and your families. If you're a single adult, be an other-mother or older brother. Making the human family better starts with making our individual families better.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Oprah’s been campaigning for Obama. I watched them Saturday and got chills! Oprah was visibly nervous. She kept slipping into a Southern accent. I’m not saying she would sound unprofessional; more like a professional black Southerner. Obama didn’t lay out any policy objectives. He didn’t run through specifics on foreign policy or tax reform or what he’d do with FEMA. He did mention raising minimum wage EVERY year to keep up with inflation. That’s an idea I like, especially since those working minimum wage jobs are disproportionately people of color and single mothers. What he DID talk about was campaigning to win as opposed to campaigning not to lose, campaigning scared. He talked about leading from progressive principles and not polls (smack to Clinton, of course.) Even Oprah took a shot at Clinton! I laughed at that. If Oprah is openly dismissing “experience,” you know “experience” can’t be that great.

So, why am I making this post. Yes, I support Obama and will support the Democratic candidate no matter who that becomes. But, I’m getting a little frustrated with this whole notion of who is and who isn’t authentically black.

I understood the question of whether or not Obama is black enough. To be sure, the question was raised by two black neocons (I can find the article naming them if requested to do so), but I understood. The question is about whether he knows that, “It be cold outside,” refers to the winter season, not any one day in particular. It’s not about whether he prefers fried chicken to steamed halibut. The question was really concerning his own sense of relatedness to the black community at large. The black community is not going to support anyone who’s black just because s/he’s black; we want them to self-identify with our common struggles. How, for instance, do you deal with the racism your school child will experience without provoking racism against whites or stoking low self-esteem.

So, essentially, I didn’t have any problems with that question. I took issue with white pundits discussing it amongst themselves as though they can read the minds of black folks (hint, hint Tucker Carlson). But I expected African Americans to be discussing this in beauty and barber shops, church parking lots, family cookouts.. What bothers me is the claim that Bill Clinton is blacker than Barack, that Hillary is blacker than Oprah.

Please!! Bill blacker than Barack, Hill blacker than O? Not in a million years and a day.

So, we have to be honest here about the issue of blackness. Granted, I think Oprah can tend towards elitism at times, but even her occasional elitism harkens back to pre60s racial uplift. I definitely don’t share similarities in musical tastes with Oprah. She likes country, and I can hardly stand it. Neither of us enjoy mainstreamed rap, that’s rap as opposed to hip hop, but that’s a whole nother issue. Suffice it to say, not only does Oprah pass an admittedly subjective measure of blackness; I think she’s being her authentic self. By that I mean, I don’t believe she “acts white” or hides her true self for the sake her career.

Now, that said, black folks and some white folks know full well that if Obama ran as a “brother,” he wouldn’t have a chance. The American majority prides itself on electing presidents that represent all of America, regardless of the actual fact of the matter; and, they WILL NOT stand for someone who’s only president of Black America. Obama can only explicitly say but so much as it concerns race issues. He can talk about improving education; he can’t harp only on urban education. He can talk about raising the minimum wage; he can’t talk about the disproportionately poor black community. He just can’t take that risk. On the other hand, both Clintons can speak explicitly to racial issues. They’re white! No one fears they’ll represent Black America and not the “United” States thereof.

Another issue that concerns me is that polls are showing some class splitting within Black American. Different economic classes hold different values. I will probably explain my position better in a later posting. Suffice it to say that unless and until I’m not catching flack for what others of my sistahs are doing or not doing, we are all in the same boat!

Oprah and Michelle

Barack Obama
Obama supporter

Sunday, December 9, 2007


How do you do? I'm new here and just staying up late. I thought it'd be a good idea to introduce myself. Gotta admit, I'm kind of excited to share my thoughts with others. But, also, I'm not interested in an argument. I'm not into the whole "you're an idiot" disrespectful thing, so if you disagree with my politics, don't comment cause I'm gonna delete it anyway. To be clear, I'm all for open discussion and sharing of thoughts, ideas, and different views, but none of this disrespectful, trolling stuff. I have CFIDS (chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome) and do not have the enery or desire to defend my thoughts and views to random, anonymous, angry people.

CFIDS is also known as CFS, chronic fatigue syndrome. It totally sucks, but I have learned a lot. I can write more about it later; I probably will. The CFIDS flared on me my senior year in college; so, I still live with my parents. But for those of you whose health and finances offer other options, don't take living on your own for granted!

I'm an African American woman, a Christian, and a progressive. I loves me some football! I enjoy sports in general, except for hockey and soccer.

I'm a womanist. On occassion, I can be a bit of a black nationalist, especially when it concerns cultural issues.

I fancy myself an author, but very few works of fiction actually interest me. So, while I do read a lot, I don't read a lot of fiction. As a writer, the topic that interests me most is the relationship between black mothers and daughters. In my own experience, the relationship between black mothers and daughters is work exploring. Most black mothers successfully raise "strong, black" women, but do not approve of that strength being used against them and that's where some problems between black mothers and daughters lie. Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hills Collins deals with the subject and is just a magnificent book. It was like water to me; There Eyes Were Watching Good was like air. My favorite quote from THEIR EYES: When you drop yo pants, you look lak da change ob life!

I'm interested in lots of things. Politics, social issues, foreign affairs, history, etc. I'm also curious about a great many things, including economics. Don't get excited econ buffs! I'm only interested because I fail to see how a fair and equitible distribution of wealth will lead to poverty for EVERYBODY. I've never been a numbers buff, which is why I eshewed econ. My interest basically started because I HAD to know how tax cuts for the rich benefits everybody. Turns out, the Laffer curve is just a joke! So basically, I'm not interested in economics except how it works out in real life.

So, that's basically me. I have a lot to say, a lot that I've learned from life; hope you don't mind listening.

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