On the value of black women’s work

So yesterday I couldn’t sleep and twitterpated all over about the Safetypin box and the reactions to it. Notably that some dude bro who didn’t know anything about the creators (Leslie Mac and Marissa Johnson)

I collated those over on Medium for anyone who wants to peep  that first. On paying black women for the work we do and the ways people accuse us of cashing in

Today, I had more twitterations on the idea that Safetypinbox HAD to be a 501 c 3 charity or people felt uncomfortable with where the money was going. IE These two black women can’t be trusted. Those thoughts and some more to follow because I am fed the entire fuck up with how people want the benefits without realizing the human cost behind it. What follows are my tweets c/p from 12/6/2016.

I keep seeing people throw out that *should* be a 501(c)(3) charity. Because that gives *them* comfort somehow. Let’s talk.

One, if this was charity work then fine. It’s a service however. Says so right on the website.

spb-not-a-charity

Go read it over, then come back.

Two, do any of these people talking about how easy it is to become a 501(c)(3) know anything about the process? At all? Guessing that’s a no. If you have to file the 1023 form, (30 pages long btw)have the $400 or $850 filing fee & get it done quickly? 180 day window for decision.If you qualify for 1023 EZ filing? Still $275 & 180 day decision window. So it’s not easy to start a charity. But that’s not the issue here.

The real issue is two black women have done the same thing white activists are lauded for & y’all mad.

They are putting a dollar value on the free emotional labor that people expect of black women all day, every day. I should just start posting the requests to pick my brain, get a cup of coffee to get a read on something I get re: games diversity. Y’all expect black women especially to do this heavy lifting for the good of the community, for free cause it’s better for all.

Fuck that

It’s unsurprising to see who has some shit to say in the face of black women going fuck you, pay me for my time & knowledge. Like people who go follow black women, expect to be educated & have their ignorance lifted but won’t drop a tip or support their Patreons. Out here treating us like Hazel, like we’re supposed to hold your fucking hand & let you sip from the Chalice of Wokeness for free!

Nah, we all gotta live. Stop devaluing our labor, our knowledge & expecting a handout to rise beyond your ignorance. Google is free y’all. So stop acting like we’re asking for too much when we say pay up for that time you asked us for. We value our work, our expertise. Since you asked for our help? You must value it too. So put your money where your mouth is or be quiet.

I salute you y’all for getting that money

That said, I had the usual rando’s and well, actually’s roll through my TL. Once I was properly up and about, I had a few thoughts on the people who follow me on various sites, say they learn from me etc. Yet, people don’t value work all the same. Even had someone who inferred I was saying pay me to tweet.

I got nothing to say about that except that added 2+2 and got yarn. If anyone following me thinks that’s where I was going, then leave now. Ain’t nobody said pay me to tweet. For those curious I said the following:

So I’m up and I been thinking. Remember when I asked people why they follow me? Realize what the majority of answers were? To recap: Because they learn something, because they get a POV unlike their own. I.E they get value from my tweets.

Or the articles I write and share here, or the collated, nicely bundled and edited twitterpations I put out on Medium. Still with me? I have over 6700 followers (for now, watch I drop some after this tweet). Some are bots that will drop off & don’t count. Let’s be generous and say 1500 are not real accounts that haven’t dropped off. That leaves over 5500 people reading what I have to say daily.

If half those folks dropped a donation or even supported my Patreon at $1 each? I’d be A-OK. But I guess there’s a line for some. Ok. Same for other black women on here & other platforms. People listen but they ghost out when we pass the hat or ask to be compensated. [this is where some people got stuck and probably thought I was saying pay me to tweet. Which I wasn’t but whatever]

I’m mad but I’m also tired, tired of the expectation of free labor from some. Not everyone does this but it happens too often.

Here’s the thing, no one is obligated to do a damn thing. Ain’t nobody gotta follow me, or donate or support me on Patreon. Point was it would be great if the same people who say they learn from what I say, who say they enjoy my work and consider the other things I do off twitter to be important would throw some coins my way.

It’s been almost a year since I lost my day job, just 9 days away from that anniversary so I’m probably noticing this more keenly than usual. But I’m real tired of black women’s work not being valued. For POC/LGBTQIA/Disabled/Neurodivergent folks to have the burden of free emotional labor dropped on them but when they ask for compensation? Then they’re greedy, not helpful, scamming… it goes on and on.

Just tired and full of thoughts that needed to get out. Consider what you are asking when you ask us for that coffee chat, a quick lunch or a few minutes of our time. The cost is usually higher than what you think.

 

 

.@sammusmusic’s new EP Infusion is so damned important

Watch Sammus Music’s video below, then come back to this tab. Trust me, I have reasons.

 

This song is …it’s so fucking important to me. It’s about getting therapy, and as a black woman hearing this from another black woman, it made me sob when I heard her sing this at GX3. I’ve struggled, hell I still struggle with a lot of issues and I was afraid, discouraged from seeking help by my mother for so long.

It wasn’t until some friends spoke openly about therapy did I even consider it and then it still took me years to take that step. I needed it, absolutely, positively and it made a difference. Granted it wasn’t the lay on the couch and tell me your problems BS that some people think therapy is; nor was it group disclosure of our issues and whatnot but it was there and I got the help I needed. To be honest, I need to go back to therapy but as of this writing I don’t have a day job or resources to get low cost or free sessions. [that was not an invitation to send me recommendations in comments. I’ll take that info from people I know well and when I ask for them thanks.]

I digress, this post is about the love I have for Sammus’ music, her artistry and her words. She’s so powerful and I’m so glad I found her music via a friends podcast and I’ve never looked back since.

Another song, released on the same day Infusion was released is Mighty Morphing.

 

I’m not one thing.
I’m not two things.
No, I’m not three things.
I’m not four thing.
I am more things than I’m reporting,
So let’s not force it because I might be morphing

This song, it encapsulates so much of what I have felt as someone who doesn’t fit a lot of stereotypes of black culture; I’m not what people ‘expect’ as it were. Whatever the fuck that means, I feel weird even typing that out because what people expect black women to be is never accurate. We’re all so varied, with different interests, experiences, and lives. Just this song got under my skin, and soothed my heart because I wish this song was around when I was younger, hell even five, ten years younger.

I’m so glad Sammus is here and that she’s getting the recognition she deserves. I’m glad she’s making music for girls and women like us who love games, anime, who prosper even when others try and tell us when we don’t belong in these spaces that we’ve always been in and will not leave.

Thank you for 1080p, Mighty Morphing, Motherbrain, and all the music you’ve gifted us with Sammus.

For those of you reading this, please support her work, so she can continue to grace us with her words and wisdom. So other girls and women can see in 1080p without years of static keeping their vision sharp.

 

Black is… black ain’t…

Black is beautiful, just so we are motherfucking CLEAR. Black ain’t “less desirable than other races”,

“inherently less attractive than other races”

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So… we are in the throes of yet ANOTHER online storm about black folks. Black women’s looks, black women’s bodies, black fathers and the old ass trope of omfg black folks are on the internet too!?! How about that has been dragged out and beaten again for what its worth. (A hint – Not much). I tried to be eloquent and wordsmithy, but you know what? Fuck it, I’m sick of being polite about people telling me how I should feel about how I look.

So many people have waxed eloquently on this topic that I’ll give you links and such… but for what my 0.02 is worth; I’m so fucking sick of being told that I’m not beautiful or attractive or worthy of love and affection because I’m “strong” or career focused or “the strength of the family.”. I’m really fucking sick of the idea that everyone gets a say in how I feel about myself as a black woman. I’m tired of everyone getting to hold up the brown paper bag to check my blackness, and worthiness of having a say in racial debates because I’m fair skinned and obviously “not really black.”

I’m tired of pseudo scientists speculating on the attractiveness of myself and the bounty of black women everywhere. Who the fuck decided that this guys opinion was worth anything to begin with? I don’t even know what an evolutionary psychologist is, do you? Someone explain what that means and then you’d better have a really, really good reason as to why some “evolutionary psychologist” gets a say on black bodies and beauty. I’ll be here, so when you get a clue, come holler at me. Until then, all these faux pop psychologists and arm chair thinkers can shut the fuck up about our bodies, our beauty and everything else in-between.

I leave you with some great articles and a repost of a lovely image snagged from the Angry Black Tumblr.

You Keep Saying Black Women are Ugly Worthless Whores and We Refuse to Believe you by Karnythia

Racialicious: Repeat Offender: Satoshi Kanazawa’s Other Greatest Misses

Angry Black Tumblr: The Article is now gone, but more thoughts

Angry Black Woman: Initial post on this article; noting original title was “Why are Black Women Ugly?”

ABW: Screencap of the article in question, after the title was changed.

In Honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day… “What Would Martin Do?”

In honor of today’s Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, I’m sharing the winning essay in the American’s for Democratic Action’s contest: What Would Luther Do? I’m pleased that the winning essay is by my good friend Joy E.

Remember, that even though Dr. King is immortalized for his “I Have a Dream” speech, Dr. King’s legacy is more than one speech, more than one action. Read Letters from a Birmingham Jail, and his other works. See the whole man, not an idealization remembered once a year for stirring words. Remember his actions, his humanity and most of all that the Dream he had is not yet realized, not so long after his assasination and we have a long way to go until it is realized.

To answer the question of How Long? The answer is still Too Long and a Long way to go…

First  Place – Joy E. of Chicago, Illinois

If Martin Luther King, Jr. could visit our country this January, he would see a nation much changed and yet the same. Imagine King catching a bus in downtown Montgomery. Perhaps he would select a seat in the front, next to someone tired from a long day’s work for little pay. Through the bus window, he might see dilapidated schools and foreclosed homes. If he were to open up a newspaper, he would read of another war with no end in sight. If King returned to this country of sweet promise and bitter disappointment, he would once again take up the struggle of the poor. King would organize against the interlocking evils of racism, militarism, and poverty. And he would invite us to join him.

In the 43 years since King’s death, we have not fulfilled his dream of equality. Poverty is rising. Health care is out of reach for too many Americans while our military budget grows. Ours is a political landscape that King understood all too well.

In his speech Beyond Vietnam, King decried the way the war on poverty was abandoned for the war on communism. Today we still choose fighter jets over unemployment benefits. The soldiers who fight and die in our army are still overwhelming our nation’s poor. If he were here today, King would say again, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

King cried out for the poor of Vietnam recounting American’s role in their history. “We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village,” he said. “We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon.” Today, King would similarly mourn the poor people killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. He would point out that we once supported the Taliban, the mujaheddin, and Saddam Hussein – over the protests of Iraqis and Afghanis. We remain the enemy of the poor in Iraq and Afghanistan and everywhere our government supports the rights of corporations over the rights of poor people.

King wrote, “I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values…When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” But that world revolution is still alive today and brings hope even to our country.

In Iraq, Afghanistan, America, and around the world, millions of poor people are building a nonviolent movement for a peaceful, just future. We should not need to Dr. King to entreat us to join the right side of the world revolution. The poor are calling us to join them. Just as King heeded their call, may we see their cause as ours.

Repost of: Navigating Through this Post Racial Society; via Neo_Prodigy on LJ

Reposting from Neo_Prodigy on LJ.

Navigating Through This Post-Racial Society

Neo_Prodigy once again nails something on the head so hard it howled for mercy that has been milling around in my head regarding the reaction to Lebron’s leaving Cleveland and how Lebron’s non-decision overshadowed the news of the cop that was convicted of the lowest possible charge in the murder of Oscar Grant.

Long post is long but worth every damn word and graphic within.

Where Oscar Grant Meets Lebron James

This post shares some cold hard fundamental truths about this society.

Two black brothers with two very different stories, yet the underlying message of “white people own, operate, execute, and enforce this shit” could not be clearer. In the same country where video evidence of a white police officer murdering a black civilian can result in an involuntary manslaughter conviction, is it really any surprise that a white (basketball) owner feels so entitled to a player’s black body that he would resort to name calling and tantrums?

The days of literally owning our bodies are over, but the remnants of our time under white supremacy linger. Dan Gilbert’s bitchfit over losing his most prized possession, while excellent fodder for late night talk show hosts and bloggers, is nothing compared to the pain Grant’s family and our community experiences as we add another name to the ever-growing list of brothers and sisters slaughtered by those ordered to protect and serve. Malcolm X’s words are still new: “You don’t stick a knife in a man’s back nine inches and then pull it out six inches and say you’re making progress.”

It also reiterates a point “afro_dyte” made in the past: that the unquestioned assumption that a Black person’s body, a Black person’s space, a Black person’s time (or other POCs for that matter), has no innate value (save the value White people give it), which makes it impossible to violate.

This also puts in perspective some wank I endured online a few years back. A few years back I spoke out on offensive tropes concerning gay men and demanding better on a writing forum and a condescending white woman rolled on to my blog and made with the trolling. After asking her to leave and then being forced to ban her, I found out later that she made some friends-locked post and all of her buddies came over and began flaming my blog. After tearing each and everyone of them a new asshole, they pulled some Rosewood shit in crying that the Negro Savage was being meeeeeeeeeeean to the poor innocent white woman. And what was interesting was when I called them out on how wrong they were for flaming my blog, my personal space in the first gawd damn place, they acted nonplussed because I was getting all “uppity.”

More than the usual sense of entitlement, ignorance, arrogance, and just grade-A bitchassness, there was something about that whole troll situation that got under my skin and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what it was. While I dealt with trolls before this was unsettling. A bunch of white folks acted under the assumption that a POC’s space and time had no value save what they gave it and therefore they felt completely justified. IE, in spite of the fact they were wrong about the whole argument and situation, in all their white privilege, they felt entitled to roll into my home unannounced, unwelcomed, take a steaming shit in the middle of my living room and get outraged because I refused to wipe their asses.

And then they wonder why the Negro savage gets all Negro and savage.

Mel Gibson’s Racist Rant

And clearly someone’s Nazi ass didn’t learn his lesson from last time.

White Peepul: The Following Video Is A Surefire Way To Wind Up On The Back Of A Milk Carton”

A couple of points:

1. There IS a difference between being accused of being a racist and committing a racist act.

2. Being called on racist activity IS NOT more offensive than the act itself.

3. Just because you aren’t intentionally doing something racist or bigoted out of malice or hate DOES NOT mean that your actions aren’t racist, hurtful and destructive. Intent does matter but only so far as whether or not I’ll forgive you and try to educate you or whether I just throw up my arms and walk away shaking my head, less I risk catching another assault charge.

4. Just because you say something bigoted in a polite or diplomatic manner does not negate the fact that you are saying something bigoted. Too many times I’ve seen folks pull this shit. Whether you’re screaming “Fuck you nigger!”, “Faggot!” or justifying institutional oppression with “The police are well within their rights to racially profile blacks and Latinos because numbers show they’re the only ones committing crimes” or “Publishers/Media Execs are totally justified in whitewashing or making with the gay erasure because they don’t generate sales and it’s all about numbers,” you’re still saying something bigoted (and for that matter inaccurate) and others are well within their rights to get outraged and call you out on it. And speaking of calling out, that’s right Scans Daily, I’m looking at you, yet again.

5. When you do say bigoted shit, you don’t get to get mad or dictate the terms of the discussion or police people’s reactions because someone is outraged over something bigoted you said.

As a friend of mine once stated, “When it comes to race, a lot of people (including people of color) assume – if not outright state – that White is a lack of race, an empty ethnicity, the default, normal, invisible. As a result, when it comes to matters of race, Whiteness becomes impartial, objective, unbiased, rational, common sense. I’m sure you can imagine how this plays out in racial discourse. Whiteness is positioned as true and therefore right. Of course, no one thinks that consciously (duh!), but it often comes out in how, in a weird sort of way, White people seem to act like they’re only White when the topic of discussion is racism and not every waking moment of their lives. And this confuses the shit out of me because that’s like a straight person acting like they’re only heterosexual when the issue of gay marriage crops up. Or a man acting like the only time he notices gender is when people bring up sexism. To which the only prudent response is to disengage before the intensity of delusion makes your head explode.”

Lost In Translation

H/T to heavenscalyx for the following:

Addendum: In the second panel in the top right, the other more prominent translation is- All my friends are white. All the men I fuck are Black. But the only men I even remotely consider for a serious meaningful relationship are white.

heavenscalyx also recently made some excellent points on Racefail that I think eloquently sums up a lot of what we’re witnessing:

What none of my fellow People of Pallor seem willing to suggest out loud (so, of course, I’m going to do it) is that it’s probably no coincidence that RaceFail has happened so vividly in the post-Obama-election world.

Because, really, isn’t it the same fundamental fear that motivates the Tea Baggers and the Birthers and even the various extreme white supremacist groups that causes all these white folks to drop their pants on the Internet?

Fear takes the filters down. Fear makes even reasonable people unreasonable. Add extra fear — the fear that they really haven’t come so very far after all — in the hearts of white people who consider themselves broad minded liberals, or at the very least, educated and “color blind”, and the filters really come a-tumblin’ down to let out all the defensiveness to cover the shame and embarrassment.

Because I have no doubt that on some level, people are ashamed to realize that there’s a corner of their minds that doesn’t believe that “all men are created equal.” They push that knowledge down, cover it up with stuff, and hope no one notices this pile of ugly baggage in the corner.

This artificial Fear of the Other is programmed into us by our society and culture — that’s what institutionalized racism (and sexism and homophobia) IS, after all: the fear that the oppressed people will do to the privileged folk just what the privileged folk have done to them. It is, I daresay, practically impossible to excise. Further, I believe that there isn’t a person in this country who is without it, no matter what they may claim.

The only way to beat the Fear of the Other and all its horrible, devastating consequences is to be aware of it, to pay attention to it, and fight it by not letting it win, by consciously trying to keep it from getting its sticky little tentacles into less formed minds, and by keeping a constant monitor on our interactions with others.

Originally posted on tanyad @Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment here, or there

On the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s passing…

I wrote this note last year when Michael Jackson passed and instead of trying to come up with something else, I think this still stands, and for those of you that weren’t fans, didn’t like his music that’s fine. No need to disrespect those that are fans and who still mourn the loss of their idol.

I caught snippets of the memorial online yesterday because the feed kept crashing out on me. I thought it was touching and heartfelt from those people who knew and loved him as friends & family. Like I said before I haven’t been a huge fan since his last major hits and while I remember his glory days… and the days of being accused of molesting those kids…

I took a step back and thought about the fact that no matter what I think of the man, he was still someone’s father, brother & son before he was a musical icon. He has a family that will mourn him in private once the media circus abates and once he is laid to rest. I do think its rather poor form to spew such vitriol upon the man’s memory before he’s even buried or a cause of death is determined.

For those folks that hated him because of his conviction in the kangaroo court of public opinion, that’s your prerogative and your belief. I never made up my mind because I never knew the man, my opinion doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things and I didn’t want to add my voice to the millions decrying him and what he was accused of because none of us really knew what happened in his life, or to him as he grew up.

None of the people who fall on either side of adoration or condemnation ever knew Mr. Jackson, and even if they did none of us lived through what he lived through. None of us ordinary folks know the pain and tribulation of being a child star and the toll it must take on someone thrust into the spotlight at such a young age. These same people who are so quick to say HE DID IT! or HE’S INNOCENT will never know, and can never understand what this man endured for his 50 years on this planet.

There’s always going to be speculation, media prying into his life, his estate, the lives of the Jackson family and his children. There’s always going to be the pundits who stand about and shout from the rooftops about this sick, perverted man or the musical genius that he was. But at the end of the day, another human being’s light has been snuffed out too soon, another family has lost a member and three children are without their father. That is what I want people to think about before they are so fast to condemn the legacy of a musical icon, an enigma and someone that no one ever seemed to understand in life, let alone in death.

repost of Being a Black Woman and Happy with it.

On a happier note, here’s a kick ass post from the awesome Karnythia. Linking you to the ABW post.

So, there’s this thing happening in the black American community (and outside it) where women who look like me are supposed to be grateful for any crumbs that happen to fall into our bleak little lives. Apparently, our lot in life is to be miserable unless some rich educated black man wants us. We’re struggling to survive on our own in a world where we might have to actually be self supporting and self loving, and we don’t even have the good sense to realize that it’s impossible to be happy with ourselves as long as we’re not reflecting the picture society expects. After all, such stellar catches as Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, and Michael Jordan have opted to seek out women of a…lighter persuasion rather than black women.

It’s questionable enough that anyone believes that three dudes who wouldn’t understand fidelity if it walked up to them and sat in their laps being unavailable to black women is supposed to be a clear indicator that black women aren’t valuable. Erm, how to put this politely? Oh right, I’m not in a mood to be polite so I’ll just say flat out I wouldn’t touch any of those cats with my worst enemy’s vagina mmkay? I have standards for the men in my life that include things like trust, respect, and at least a vague grasp of human decency. For the record? I’ve been married twice. The first time was a hot mess in that way that can happen when you’re 21 and too dumb to read the big flashing neon signs that say “Leave this dumb bastard alone” but my current marriage? Loving it. He’s black, educated, and has a good relationship with his mother. It wasn’t hard to find him (I wasn’t even done with my divorce when I met him as a matter of fact) and he has never expected me to be someone else. He loves me for me. I love him for him. That’s our big secret. We’re not unique in this respect either. There are plenty of happy black couples (married or not) out here leading their lives without feeling the need to resort to a Stepford process for either partner. That’s before we get into what it means to be LGBT and unable to legally get married in a lot of places. Newsflash: Not every black woman wants a man. And even for the ones that do? Marriage isn’t necessarily their first priority.

Now, let’s take a second to be real on the topic of marriage. The institution grants certain legal protections and rights, but it doesn’t guarantee a happy couple or even a long lasting relationship. For further proof on that topic feel free to check out the relationship history of the three celebs I’ve already mentioned along with Swizz Beatz, everyone on Basketball Wives, and most of the rest of the modern world. That 50% divorce rate has nothing to do with the flaws of black women and everything to do with the reality that people get married for the wrong reasons to the wrong people everyday. As societal panaceas go, marriage has never really been all that effective despite the hype about the good old days. In the good old days, women got stuck in horrible relationships, men brought home social diseases, and everyone wished they had way out that was socially acceptable and didn’t result in life long poverty. So, let’s drop this idea that marriage has ever been the institution to grant us a stable society. It can’t even grant a stable relationship. And really, if we’re going to harp on the value of marriage? Let’s make it available to everyone instead of offering up expensive substitutes and insisting marriage only has one meaning. If some pop star can get married for 56 hours and the institution still have meaning in the aftermath of that quickie divorce? It’ll be just fine.

This phenomenon doesn’t just rear its ugly head around our love lives though, we’re also supposed to hate our hair, our skin, even the shape of our bodies, and we’re supposed to strive to achieve behavior patterns that are in direct contradiction to our personalities as soon as someone hints that they find us too strong/abrasive/angry/loud or whatever other bullshit excuse they can trot out as part of the effort to denigrate and demean every facet of our existence. After all, we do insist on wearing our hair the way it grows out of our heads, and choosing colors and styles that highlight our skin tones as well as displaying our bodies in ways that we find flattering. I mean, whoever heard of someone wearing a sleeveless top indoors in the winter? Oh wait, I lift weights (and kids) on a regular basis and I also wear short sleeved or sleeveless tops most of the year too. Because they’re comfortable and I like them. And really, what gives anyone the right to police our bodies as though they don’t belong to us? Whoops, I forgot I’m supposed to be begging everyone else for their approval as part and parcel of my experience right? Right.

Except that’s not ever going to happen and the fact that a lot of people are assholes isn’t a reason for black women to turn themselves inside out. It is a good reason to ignore the assholes and keep going about the business of life. Yes, even with “nappy” hair, my natural eye color, and an ass that makes skinny jeans self-destruct I am happy to be a black woman. I love myself, and I love my life even if someone says I’m living it wrong. Instead of finding new ways to insist that to be a black woman is to be miserable, how about celebrating all those unique qualities that are inherent in our shared existence? Oh right, that would require putting down all those ‘ism’s people love to cling to wouldn’t it? I guess if you can’t give up the sexism, racism, and classism then we’ll just have to learn to live with the hate and keep doing our own thing.

Fat shaming and concern trolling in Why are black women so big?

So there is an article out there called Why are Black women so Big!? The author of this little gem wrote a piss poor piece, basically saying all black women are fat asses that simply eat too much. She does not take into account the various factors of weight gain, and the struggle to lose the weight. Initially the picture that accompanied the article was Eddie Murphy in a fat black woman suit, in Norbit.

I called this out, in the following comment:

You know, the fact that you used a picture of a man in a black woman fat suit as some caricature and lame attempt at sensationalism immediately invalidated any point you thought you were making. The next time you decide to fat shame and concern troll, actually find a picture of a fat black woman to make your point.

Oh, that’s right you really didn’t have one to begin with so you used lazy writing to get people’s attention to a shoddily written “article” and then began the bashing. Next time, try some actual writing instead of trotting out the same old tropes used to shame women into being, or damn near killing themselves trying to become the “ideal”.

I go back to the article later and the photo has been changed to a photo of Jill Scott in Why did I get Married?  The fact that the author of this “article” changed the picture without so much as an acknowledgment of her invalid attempt at caricaturization of fat black women into a cartoon villain, something to be feared possibly and definitely made fun of I could have at least given the article a once over without the side-eye. Instead, anything this person could have said fell on deaf ears, her feeble attempt at a point lost in the winds of lazy writing and sensationalism. I looked over the comments, now totaling over 350 and I was appalled that the author was resorting to attacking people in comments, further destroying any shred of credibility she could have had.

I found the following response to many of the comments by the editor of this online publication, the FreshXpress. Editor Sean Walton Jr. puts forth the following statement:

I posted this on Twitter earlier:

“No disrespect was intended… it was one writer’s opinion and attempt to start a conversation on a subject that does warrant attention. We’re a community built upon a foundation of open dialogue and debate. The thoughts expressed represent thought in the community. While we dont take a stance on too many topics as a website, our writers do. Through the dialogue sparked, we hope to promote understanding. So no disrespect was intended, and hopefully the resulting conversation was productive and people grow from the discourse. We’re not into too much censorship. You can censor the message, but that doesn’t stop people from thinking the way they do. We’d rather tackle the topic head on, and see what comes from it.”

That being said the author had an opinion she wanted to share with her community, and get your thoughts on it as well. While her opinion was not well received, she articulated her view and why she felt that way. Was it “well-written and thought out”, etc.? That is for you to decide (as many of you already have). What is “well-written”? An article written at a level where only graduate school educated folks can read? Or an article written where everyone can understand her message, read through it, and provide feedback? Point being its all relative.

The bottom line is that our thoughts in the black community are diverse, as are our approaches to expressing those thoughts. You may not like the author’s approach to tackling this subject, nor her words used, nor her message. But that doesn’t stop her from feeling the way she does, and clearly there are many others who feel the way that she does. To NOT post this article, which was not blatantly offensive on the surface, would be to censor true thoughts and feelings in our community. But to post it… thats tackling the issue head on, bringing the debate to your face, in all its uncomfortable glory, and allowing you to “school” the author (and commenters) on your perspective, and hopefully everyone can grow from the entire process. If nothing else, you at least understand how other people feel. Because the reality is that clearly some people do feel this way.

To say we’re “better than this post” is appreciated, and duly noted as we continue to grow as a publication. At the same time, it alludes to us being “better” than the author’s opinion, and thats just not the case. For all we know, her opinion could be the majority in her community, amongst her friends, or even in our community as a whole. The fact remains that only an elite few actually speak out and voice how they feel. So the 100+ commenters on this blog who disagreed with it… for all we know there were 500 people who agreed. And maybe 300 of them had their opinions changed by the resulting conversation. Or maybe they didn’t. We don’t know. But what we do know is that while this post may have been very uncomfortable it forced us to address issues that wouldn’t have been previously addressed and discussed on this level, whether it be the problem of obesity in the black community, the lack of empathy we hold on issues affecting each other, or just the general attitudes we bring to each other.

Avoid it if you want to. But the author and people who feel like the author aren’t going anywhere unless we confront these beliefs and discuss them head on. Or, you can refrain from it. Either way, if we’re not an open forum and community (both as an online community and black community in general) we’re not doing each other any favors.

I left the following in response to his comment above. I think I’m done with this conversation, as it’s gaining me nothing and just aggravating the hell out of me after a long day of work. As Karnythia often warns, don’t read the comments! You’ll just get angry.

You know, if the article had been written higher than a 5th grade reading level, and if the author had not used a caricature of “the fat black woman” by using a picture of Eddie Murphy in a fat suit, I could have possibly taken her article seriously. If the author had not responded to comments in such a base and ghetto way, insulting women, calling them hippos etc then perhaps her article could have been taken seriously.

Any author postulating that ALL FAT BLACK WOMEN ARE THAT WAY BECAUSE THEY OVEREAT apparently  failed to pay attention in the community, to the fact that many folks are obese because good food costs money and often in our communities we can access the liquor store, Walgreens and fast food before we can access grocery stores, and are able to learn healthy eating habits.

There are many factors as to why women are obese. It’s lazy writing to point fingers, shame women and drop every single fat black woman into the bucket of you’re a lazy cow that over eats. This publication does not service the community by promoting articles like this that read more like a slam letter because the author had a bad day, is mad at someone or they just didn’t feel like doing the research required to cover this topic.

It pains me to see anyone get paid to write such drivel, and for the publication to instead of copping to its mistake, defend the authors lackadaisical writing and tell people that this issue won’t go away. Trust me, as one of the women the author oh so eloquently calls a “hippo”, I know I’m fat and I also know what I can do to change that, and it’s not as simple as putting down the chicken leg and going for a walk. That sounds like the privileged knucklehead I had the misfortune of taking a class with last year who kept spouting such idiocy, but they were barely 20 and hadn’t really been out in the world so I could forgive them more easily than I could forgive the author of this “article”.

In closing, I think its pretty telling that the author changed the photo associated with this “article” but does not even acknowledge that she’s done so. Good luck to this publication, as it seems you’re going to need it with such quality authors on your staff.

On Caster Semenya… (xposted from my LJ)

As usual has Karnythia has written this topic up much better than I can but I had to get my two cents worth out there…I’ve not said a lot about Caster Semenya and her treatment by those who apparently couldn’t lose gracefully but attacked her “questionable” gender because she beat other runners in the 800M category. Apparently because she looks “mannish” the losing coaches decided to contest whether or not Caster is even female, and she was subjected to Gender Testing. Mostly because I couldn’t believe that in this day and age a young lady would be subjected to such testing because she was too good.

I admit my ignorance about such things, and I didn’t even know athletes could be forced to undergo such testing if a competitor coach/trainer/other sports folks demand it. Besides the fact that its humiliating to have your gender puzzled over in a public forum, this has now become an international media circus that has thrust a young woman into the public spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Instead of being celebrated for her performance, she has been mocked, derided and stripped of the dignity all people deserve by having her medical issues trotted out for the world to see.

I don’t care if Caster is cisgendered, intersexed or whatever she feels the need to call herself, but being forced to prove she’s female to satisfy a sore loser’s ego is wrong, wrong, beyond wrong. She is not public property to be examined to everyone’s satisfaction. She is being treated as Sara Baartman was back in the days of slavery. Baartman or Hottentot Venus as she was also known was treated as a literal specimen and freak show by those who could not believe that she was human because of her differences from Europeans of the time.

I feel that Caster is being treated to the same freak show mentality of an overly-curious public that seems to think they have a right to know her medical history and how dare she keep such things from the public. News flash, no one has a right to know about your medical history and splash it all over the news, or even spread it as idle gossip with friends and family.

What really took this over the edge for me is that Caster was not informed of the results of the tests before it was leaked to the media. Let give you that one more again; Caster was NOT INFORMED OF THE RESULTS BEFORE IT WAS LEAKED TO THE MEDIA. Someone’s fucking greed and treatment of another human being as a curiosity was more important than medical confidentiality.

Now Caster is under a suicide watch and if this young lady kills herself, her blood will be on the hands of everyone involved in this debacle. Especially the greedy, heartless bastards that leaked her results before she was informed of them.

For those who want to support Caster and send words of encouragement, you can contact her via one of the agencies below: (list courtesy of LJ Community Blackfolk )

Women’s National Coalition
E-mail: women@womensnet.org.za
Tel: +27 (0) 11 429-0000/1
Fax: +27 (0) 11 838-9871
Postal address: P O Box 62577, MARSHALLTOWN, 2107
Physical address: 31 Queen Street, Newtown, JOHANNESBURG
2001

Women’sNet
Physical Address: 31 Quinn Street, Newtown Johannesburg, South Africa
Postal Address: PO Box 62577, Marshalltown, 2107
Phone number: +27 11 429-0000
Fax: +27 11 838-9871
Email:women@womensnet.org.za

Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa
Queen & Vermeulen Street, No. 66 Regent Place Building, Pretoria, 0001
Pretoria
South Africa
Telephone: (012) 304-5199
Fax: 086 535 1477

U.N. – Division for the Advancement of Women
Address: 2 UN Plaza, DC2-12th Floor, New York, NY 10017, USA
Fax: +1-212-963-3463
Email: daw@un.org
Website: http://www.un.org/daw

Gender DynamiX South Africa
info@genderdynamix.org.za
+27 21 6335287

Gender DynamiX
Saartjie Baartman Centre
Klipfontein Road
Athlone

Postal Address
PO Box 347
Athlone
7760
South Africa

Intersex SOUTH AFRICA
PO Box 12992
Mowbray 7705
Cape Town, South Africa
Tel: +27-(0)21-447 6290
Email: coordinator “at” intersex.org.za

For those that want to make their displeasure known:

International Association of Athletics Federations
17 rue Princesse Florestine
BP 359
MC98007 Monaco
Tel: (+377) 93 10 8888
Fax: (+377) 93 15 9515

International Olympic Committee
Château de Vidy
1007 Lausanne
Switzerland
Tel : (41.21) 621 61 11
Fax : (41.21) 621 62 16

What was that about Post Racial Society?

Analysis: Gates Arrest a Signpost on Racial Road
By JESSE WASHINGTON, AP National Writer
Jul 23, 2009, 08:35

Summary:

It took less than a day for the arrest of Henry Louis Gates to become racial lore. When one of America’s most prominent Black intellectuals winds up in handcuffs, it’s not just another episode of profiling; it’s a signpost on the nation’s bumpy road to equality.

Story:

It took less than a day for the arrest of Henry Louis Gates to become racial lore. When one of America’s most prominent Black intellectuals winds up in handcuffs, it’s not just another episode of profiling; it’s a signpost on the nation’s bumpy road to equality.

The news was parsed and tweeted, rued and debated. This was, after all, Dr. Henry Louis “Skip” Gates: summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale, MacArthur “genius grant” recipient, acclaimed historian, Harvard professor, and PBS documentarian. He was named one of Time magazine’s “25 Most Influential Americans” in 1997 and holds 50 honorary degrees.

If this man can be taken away by police officers from the porch of his own home, what does it say about the treatment that average Blacks can expect in 2009?

Earl Graves Jr., CEO of the company that publishes Black Enterprise magazine, was once stopped by police during his train commute to work, dressed in a suit and tie.

“My case took place back in 1995, and here we are 14 years later dealing with the same madness,” he said Tuesday. “Barack Obama being the president has meant absolutely nothing to White law enforcement officers. Zero. So I have zero confidence that (Gates’ case) will lead to any change whatsoever.”

The 58-year-old professor had returned from a trip to China last Thursday afternoon and found the front door of his Cambridge, Mass., home stuck shut. Gates entered the back door, forced open the front door with help from a car service driver, and was on the phone with the Harvard leasing company when a White police sergeant arrived.

Gates and the sergeant gave differing accounts of what happened next. But, for many people, that doesn’t matter.

They don’t care that Gates was charged not with breaking and entering but with disorderly conduct after repeatedly demanding the sergeant’s name and badge number. It doesn’t matter whether Gates was yelling, or accused Sgt. James Crowley of being racist, or that all charges were dropped Tuesday.

All they see is pure, naked racial profiling.

“Under any account … all of it is totally uncalled for,” Graves said. “It never would have happened; imagine a White professor, a distinguished White professor at Harvard, walking around with a cane, going into his own house, being harassed or stopped by the police. It would never happen.”

Racial profiling became a national issue in the 1990s, when highway police on major drug delivery routes were accused of stopping drivers simply for being Black. Lawsuits were filed, studies were commissioned, data was analyzed. “It is wrong, and we will end it in America,” President George W. Bush said in 2001.

Yet for every study that concluded police disproportionately stop, search and arrest minorities, another expert came to a different conclusion. “That’s always going to be the case,” Dr. Greg Ridgeway, who has a Ph.D. in statistics and studies racial profiling for the RAND research group, said Monday. “You’re never going to be able to (statistically) prove racial profiling. … There’s always a plausible explanation.”

Federal legislation to ban racial profiling has languished since being introduced in 2007 by a dozen Democratic senators, including then-senator Barack Obama.

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., said that was partly because, “when you look at statistics, and you’re trying to prove the extent, the information comes back that there’s not nearly as much (profiling) as we continue to experience.”

But Davis has no doubt that profiling is real. He says he was stopped while driving in Chicago in 2007 for no reason other than the fact he is Black. Police gave him a ticket for swerving over the center line; a judge said the ticket did not make sense and dismissed it.

“Trying to reach this balance of equity, equal treatment, equal protection under the law, equal understanding, equal opportunity, is something that we will always be confronted with. We may as well be prepared for it,” Davis said.

Amid the indignation over Gates’ case, a few people pointed out that he may have violated the cardinal rule of avoiding arrest: Do not antagonize the cops.

The police report said that Gates yelled at the officer, refused to calm down and behaved in a “tumultuous” manner. Gates said he simply asked for the officer’s identification, followed him into his porch when the information was not forthcoming, and was arrested for no reason. But something about being asked to prove that you live in your own home clearly struck a nerve both for Gates and his defenders.

“You feel violated, embarrassed, not sure what is taking place, especially when you haven’t done anything,” said Graves of his own experience when police made him face the wall and frisked him in Grand Central Station in New York City. “You feel shocked, then you realize what’s happening, and then you feel it’s a violation of everything you stand for.”

And that this should happen to “Skip” Gates, the unblemished embodiment of President Obama’s recent admonition to Black America not to search for handouts or favors but to “seize our own future, each and every day,” shook many people to the core.

Wrote Dr. Lawrence Bobo, Gates’ Harvard colleague, who picked his friend up from jail: “Ain’t nothing post-racial about the United States of America.”

Jesse Washington covers race and ethnicity for The Associated Press.

© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com

We did it, we did, we did. Thoughts on watching history unfold…

I’m so proud right now. So damn proud of our country, it’s people and of our new President. Yes, it was so good to hear “Do you, Barack HUSSEIN Obama …” and not have them skirt the issue of his middle name. It was good to hear him swear his oath to this country and it’s people. Hell, I’m not going to lie, I’m ecstatic that we are seeing the beginning of a new era today and ending 8 years of oppression based on lies, fear mongering and hate.

Now, the party will go on for a couple of days and we’ll all revel in a new era. However, the real work needs to be started. It needs to begin and continue with the people who mobilized to put President Obama in the Oval Office. This work does not rest solely on his shoulders or Vice President Bidens’ but on every single person in this country.

Whether you voted for him or not, President Obama is now our leader. I would hope that those of you that spent so much time hating, disbelieving and being obstinate in your views of this man, his ideals and the ideals of the party he is with can put aside that hatred to achieve the greater good. Which is restoring this country to the great nation it once was. I’m not saying the US is down for the count now, but we’re going to need some crutches for a while.

I ask those of you who are on the “other side of the aisle” to put down your animosity, your vitriol and join with your brothers and sisters in rejoicing today, and every day that we are starting with a new administration. One that says here, this is what I did today… that says I need you, the people to help me get to the mountain top.

If you cannot do that, it’s your loss and I honestly feel sorry for you. This nation was not built on the ideals that party loyalty means lack of patriotism or less love for this country because we don’t share the same ideals or values. We are all American’s and we all must work to redeem this country in the eyes of each and every person who has suffered, each person lost to war, hate, lack of money, education, poverty … the list goes on.

I do not come to admonish those who do not join me in cheering our new leadership, I come to offer the olive branch of our common humanity and ask you to join me in working together for a better day, month and years to come.

I’m off to celebrate more watch the parade and I hope you can do so with joy in your heart and hope for our future.

President Obama’s Inaugural speech 20 January 2009

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama, with First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha at his side, acknowledges the crowd after being sworn in as the country’s 44th President. (Tribune photo by Terrence Antonio James / January 20, 2009)

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often, the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land–a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today, I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America–they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit, to choose our better history, to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted–for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things–some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions–that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act–not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions–who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them–that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works–whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account–to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day–because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control–and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart–not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort–even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus–and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West–know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment–a moment that will define a generation–it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends–honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism–these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility–a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence–the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed–why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to [the] future world … that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive … that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet” it.

America: In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

MLK on the possibility of a black president

Thorswitch has an excellent post on Dr. King’s vision for a black president that aired on the BBC.

From the Orlando Sentinel:

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. predicted the United States would have a black president, but his timing was a bit off. He saw the milestone coming a lot sooner.

You can see a clip of King’s prediction on “BBC World News America” at 7 tonight.

King talked to the BBC‘s Bob McKenzie in 1964. McKenzie asked:

Robert Kennedy, when he was attorney general, said that he could imagine the possibility of a Negro President in the United States within perhaps 40 years. Do you think this is at all realistic?”

King said: “Well, let me say first that I think it is necessary to make it clear that there are Negroes who are presently qualified to be president of the United States. There are many who are qualified in terms of integrity, in terms of vision, in terms of leadership ability. But we do know that there are certain problems and prejudices and mores in our society which make it difficult now. However, I am very optimistic about the future. Frankly, I have seen certain changes in the United States over the last two years that surprise me. I’ve seen levels of compliance with the Civil Rights Bill and changes that have been most surprising. So, on the basis of this, I think we may be able to get a Negro president in less than 40 years. I would think that this could come in 25 years or less.”

While MLK was a bit more optimistic than RFK, given the state of race relations in America at the time, I find it a bit surprising that they would have thought an African-American could become President in such a relatively short period of time. Personally, I didn’t think I’d live to see it happen – though I’m as happy as I can be that I am, especially since it’s a man I think has the potential to be an excellent president (and not just in comparison to Bush – that’s a benchmark just about anyone with a pulse could clear.)

I’m finding myself, tonight, feeling like I’m holding my breath. There’s no doubt that there are any number of miscreants and – to borrow a phrase – “evildoers” who do not want to see “President Obama” become a reality, and while I don’t think anything will actually happen, there’s still a part of me that’s concerned that someone may try to disrupt the proceedings or – worse – assassinate Obama.

It’s a bit like it was when the calendar changed over to 2000 – so much worry over whether the computers of the world would keep working or not, yet when the day came – I think largely due to the fact that there’d been so much concern expressed about the possible problems and people took the time to try to prevent them – really, nothing happened. And that was pretty much what I expected – I had a bit of doubt, but no serious worries that anything major would go wrong. I seem to be in much of the same mindframe for tomorrow – that the knowledge that someone, somewhere is going to at the very least WANT to try something – will have prompted the Secret Service, FBI, DC police and/or whomever else might be of assistance to have the absolute best security plan in place and have been working to track down any threats they may have become aware of – so that when the time comes, our new President will be safe, the inauguration will happen without trouble, and we can finally start moving out of the shadow we’ve been under for the last 8 years.

Tonight, though, all I can do is ask that Odin, Thor, Frejya, Tyr and the rest of the Aesir and Vanir will place Obama under their protection, give him the strength, the wisdom and the sense of justice he’ll need in the coming years, to be the great leader he has the potential to be.

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I have a dream… and this year it’s coming true

mlk09

I usually give a nod to Dr. King for all of his achievements and place in history… but this year is special to me. Special for the fact that tomorrow instead of another Dream Deferred, we get to see a Dream Realized by so many people.

I wrote before on waking up after election day to realize that yes, we did and it wasn’t a mere dream. I repeat this sentiment today as I see the excitement mounting in DC, hear from friends who are there to bear witness to history in the making.

I’m sure that pundits all over are readying speeches, remarks and such linking today’s holiday and the history en route tomorrow as President Elect Obama becomes President Obama. I’m sure other folks more skilled with a digital pen and wordsmithing will wax rhapsodic on 20 January 2009 for ages to come but for me, I’m pleased to see the dream realized; to see a man rise from the roots of his community to the top most branch of the government he has served for so long.

I salute you Dr. King for all you have done, for laying down the foundation for President Obama to step up tomorrow and start fulfilling the promises laid on the campaign trail, to the people and to his daughters and other children of this nation that will live with the legacy of his presidency be it great or failure.

President Obama, once you have sworn the oath and stepped into the oval office… I charge you to remember and honor those of us who helped you get there. Those of us who called, campaigned, helped you hurdle over road blocks to get to the new address you’re taking up tomorrow.

We the people see you, and are waiting to see what you can do for this great country and we hope that you can continue to keep the dream and hope alive while reminding us that Yes, we can every day you are in office.

Cheers Mr. President, now get to work!

Is racism dead?

The Chicago Red Eye asked if Racism is Dead today. I don’t know what news they have been reading, or what world they have found themselves in, but after reading the following stories I’d have to answer them with fuck no Racism IS alive and fucking well in this “post-racial” America.

First is the story of the guy gunned down in a BART station by a police officer. Then the officer just fucking resigns rather than face the investigation into his actions. To add insult to injury, BART officials apologize a week later and are sorry. Now, Oakland residents are rioting because of the shooting of this young man.

Then there is the story of Robbie Tolan, who was shot by a police officer who didn’t identify himself and claimed Tolan and his cousin had stolen his own car. The officer roughed up Tolan’s mother when she came out to check on the commotion. He had just signed a minor league contract and is the son of Bobby Tolan and was scheduled to start camp soon. Instead, he’s in the hospital with a bullet in his liver and his career is over before it had a chance to begin. The Houston police claim there was no racial profiling in this case, but why the fuck would they accuse a man, who’s standing in his own driveway, unarmed of stealing his own car and pull their gun on them?

Hmm, when you live in an affluent suburb, you are well off and you don’t fit the profile of the neighborhood that’s why. Even if the car was stolen, there was no need to shoot an unarmed man … it seems like the police don’t even give a fuck any more. They are shooting first and asking questions later.

Post-racial era my ass.

“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.” Sen. Obama’s speech

I havent had a chance to watch his speech yet, but I am impressed by the text that I’ve read. I’m saddened by those who would demean his great words and twist them into a parody of hatred and classicism that isnt even mentioned in this speech. I think no matter the results of this election, this speech will be remembered as other great oratories of our history are now oft repeated and used to teach lessons to those of us who will listen.

I hope that the politics of hate will cease and that this election can be salvaged before we wind up with another 4 years of fear mongering.

“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”
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Bloggers for Obama! – Editorial by Karnythia

A great place for well thought out, interesting and thought provoking blog posts concerning Senator Barack Obama. Good stuff! Go read I say.

Bloggers for Obama

Good stuff, I snagged the link from comments in a thread at Karnythia’s LJ and here’s the article that Bloggers for Obama linked to that Karnythia wrote:

Karnythia’s Editoria

Full Article below:

Racism in my feminism? You don’t say… 
By Karnythia

Hillary Clinton: Bow to the man, and take the vice presidency. Let our country heal. You will run in eight years and be unstoppable as a visionary world leader. You must pass through this filter first though: bow to the man.

Now, I’ll bet reading that made you want to reach for a hammer right? You’re thinking “What kind of sexist BS is this?” and possibly questioning my sanity. You’re right. It is sexist and I would sound insane if I were typing something like this with any serious intentions behind it. Of course it would be even more ludicrous if this was actually being widely disseminated and had people agreeing with it, but that’ll never happen right? Right. Except…something like it is being disseminated and people are agreeing with it. The message is a little different though. It actually reads

Barack Obama: Bow to the woman, and take the vice presidency. Let our country heal. You will run in eight years and be unstoppable as a visionary world leader. You must pass through this filter first though: bow to the woman.

Continue reading “Bloggers for Obama! – Editorial by Karnythia”

RNC Grows a spine… denounces fear mongering by invoking Sen. Obama’s middle name

Snagged verbatim from hey_its_michael I agree whole heartedly. [iconage too!]

Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan formally denounced Thursday the Tennessee Republican Party’s use of Barack Obama’s full name in a recent press release questioning the Illinois senator’s commitment to Israel.

“The RNC rejects these kinds of campaign tactics,” RNC Chairman Mike Duncan said in a statement. “We believe this election needs to be about the critical issues confronting our nation.”

The statement in question, which was released Monday, said the state party is joining a “growing chorus of Americans concerned about the future of the nation of Israel…if Sen. Barack Hussein Obama is elected president of the United States.” It also included a photograph of Obama from a 2006 trip to Kenya in which he is dressed in traditional attire worn by area Muslims.

From CNN.COM

It’s great to see the RNC is actually calling out the Tennessee Republican Party’s pathetic attempts at fear-mongering. It is absolutely sick the way some in politics think innuendo and manipulation of certain segments of American society through fear is acceptable. How about sticking to the actual issues?

Of course, I think many in the GOP fear that will only increase their losses in both branches of government come November…

Richard Wright’s Native Son – Discussion

 Native Son (Paperback Ed.)

I’m reading Richard Wright’s Native Son for our quarterly book club at Uni. We’ve had one meeting so far and it was pretty good. We touched on topis such as Bigger’s lack of emotion, sense of responsibility, the way he lives in a dream world where everyone has all the stuff whites do. Or rather where he has all of the things that whites do, there’s no mother or sister who is harassing him to take a relief job, and there’s no one to keep him down. The fight he gets into with Gus when they are “late” for their planned robbery etc…

We meet again in a couple weeks, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the discussion. If you’ve read the book, what are your thoughts on it?

Bomani is more than “Read a book!” Check this out

I’ve been saying for a while that this cat is pretty damn cool. And there’s a lot more to him than “Read a Book” Go check him out at:

http://www.myspace.com/knotarapper

His Punch Line Smarts
Hip-Hop Parodist Bomani Armah Juggles Sense of Humor and Identity
By Kevin Merida
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 22, 2007; C01

Bomani D'mite has style

Bomani Armah (“I’m not a rapper, I’m a poet with a hip-hop style”) hops into a bar chair at the ultracool Artmosphere Cafe in Mount Rainier. It is a Wednesday night, we have the bar to ourselves, we are having a splendid conversation. You may be thinking: Dude, this is such an unextraordinary scene. Except that Armah is simultaneously hosting an open-mike talent show, toggling from bar to stage in five-minute intervals and proving how fluid the mind can be.

He’s fixated, at the bar, on what has happened to him over the past four months, how he somehow became a symbol of the coarsening culture. All because he wrote a crunk song, “Read a Book,” that traveled the Internet, that was discovered by Black Entertainment Television, that was made into a video, that ignited a controversy, that turned Bomani Armah into a person he didn’t recognize, someone accused of “setting my people back 100 years.” Between the irate blog posts and the snippy interviews by the likes of CNN‘s Tony Harris, Armah discovered that he had suddenly become somebody.

“I got recognized at the post office,” he says. “I’m not used to that.” Anytime Jesse Jackson calls you out — he accused Armah of “recycling degradation” — you know you’ve arrived.

Continue reading “Bomani is more than “Read a book!” Check this out”

Talk to Me

I saw Talk to Me on Sunday with HMC. It’s a beautiful film. Don Cheadle is excellent as Petey Greene, an ex-con who won the hearts of DC after getting out of the joint. Chiwitel Ejiofor is fantastic as Dewey Hughes, the guy who gives him a chance at WOL AM once Petey gets out of the joint. More in depth discussion after the jump.

Continue reading “Talk to Me”