My Thoughts On White Privilege In The Age Of The First White-Kenyan US President

“Because habit is transactional, in a raced and racist world, the psychosomatic self necessarily will be racially and racistly constituted. Race is not a veneer lacquered over a nonracial core. It composes the very bodily and psychical beings that humans are and the particular ways by which humans engage the world. Like gender and sexism, sexuality and compulsory heterosexuality, disability and bias toward ability, class and class oppression, and other characteristics of contemporary human beings, race and white privilege are constitutive features of human existence and experience as they currently occur. Sometimes these habits are consciously felt, other times not, but in all cases they help make up who and what human beings are.” – Shannon Sullivan, “Revealing Whiteness: The Unconscious Habits of Racial Privilege”, pg. 24

 

My Thoughts On white Privilege in the Age of the first White-Kenyan US President are that White Male privilege did not grow in the bushes of manicured lawns, so neither can Black privilege.

 

Often, it can be difficult for me to separate my daily pains that are a consequence of my actions, from those that were accrued from the society and global experiences that weigh heavy on all US Black people. And I can be honest enough with my Self to admit that yes, I have made erroneous decisions in my life that impact my present welfare. I can also be analytic enough to say, well, yeah, there is an entire sub-culture of people that fear, are intimidated by, just do not understand or are completely oblivious of people that look like me or come from my background that control and operate the resource distribution channels of this country.

 

White Male privilege can be difficult for me to discuss. In the same manner, I suppose that some very enlightened and hardworking Black Women find it difficult to discuss “Black Male privilege”(I wrote “some”, if that does not include you, then it does not). Not so much that “White Male privilege” does not exist, but that when you are a person that fights hard, doesn’t give up, and is bright, you tend to earn a right to this little thing call pride that often makes you forget that it is not always your fault things have not gone as you’ve planned.

 

I do not want my efforts to be overcast or shadowed by some amorphous dynamic cast and created by a select few White men that decided to rub their resources together and not allow me into their reindeer games. It would be the loudest skeleton turning in a casket in recorded history if I found out my legacy was reduced to what people did not allow me to do versus what I overcame. Yet, people are not always their accomplishments. Many of us are simply the results of a privilege born by the atrocious and predatory acts of others that look like us.

 

“Modes of public expression in black and white communities can vary considerably, but only white, middle-to-upper-class modes of behavior tend to be utilized and viewed as appropriate in class discussions.” – Shannon Sullivan, “Revealing Whiteness: The Unconscious Habits of Racial Privilege”, pg. 24

 

Deep down, I do not have an issue with that. I just wish I was playing on a more determined and aware team. As the metaphor in the Black community as been stated, I do not want to run on a team that cannot learn to accurately pass the baton. No one is going to be able to convince those that have determined that the world is their birthright to “civilize” no matter how uncivil that piece of deed might be. Begging for rights and a human dignity that should be a default has only resulted in the murders of a great number of very talented and thoughtful set of Human Beings.

 

I am not against the collective White citizenry of the United States. I am not. I sincerely doubt most of them even know what the hell is going on.

 

I am not against the collective White Male citizenry of the United States. I am sure a sizeable portion of them cannot even spell “privilege” let alone decipher it when it gives them a professional career without considering they cannot spell.

 

Hey, if I was a part of a collective that understood the power of unity to the point where they would give me a staff position even if I had a criminal conviction before a person without one just because they did not look like my brother or sister, hell, I’d take advantage, too. But unfortunately, I do not.

 

White Male privilege did not enter existence with the blade of grass. It did not sprout in the valley of the Pyramids alongside the Nile. White privilege did not find its origin as vegetation, fruit, rock, water, or air. White Male privilege was fought for. It was hard earned. It was a success story too long for a Twitter update, too bloody for an MSNBC discussion.

 

Sometimes when you play the victim too long, you become your own victimizer. Reforming an economy based on United States Slavery will never produce an egalitarian society. Black people asking for reform in this country is like a man being raped in prison asking his rapist to only put the tip in. The violation is too huge; the solution too demanding.

 

The US Black believes that because they have galvanized at the polls to elect a man born of a White college student and a deadbeat Kenyan that they have developed leverage enough to topple the socio-economic beasts that drain them daily. Has White privilege fled the White House just because Michelle Obama chooses the flowers in the garden?

 

White Male privilege did not grow in the bushes of manicured lawns, neither can Black privilege.

 

“In social psychology, the term <i>aggression</i> is generally defined as any behavior that is intended to harm another person who does not want to be harmed…” – Baron & Richardson, 1994(Citing found Advanced Social Psychology, pg. 304)

 

The treatment of the descendants of US Slaves, the Afrikans in the United States of America that derive their present citizenship because of their ancestor’s choice to be here, but a forced immigration, has been the same since July 4, 1776. It is the texture of US society for Blacks to be over worked, underpaid, housed in the worse conditions, and dehumanized through media. Reform measures such as the Civil Rights legislation has only presented a socio-psychological dynamic where Black people look at White people as those to seek permission to be treated as humans from. Any government that has to legislate human treatment is the government of a country of savages that do not deserve to be feared but to be defended against. White privilege is the residue of conquering savages reproducing and legitimizing their savagery through sophistication. White privilege is the ostracism of Blacks from certain circles of resource and capital heavy social pockets.

 

“Aggression is not an emotion that occurs inside a person, such as an angry feeling. Aggression is not a thought that occurs inside someone’s brain, such as mentally rehearsing a murder you would like to commit. Aggression is a social behavior because it involves at least two people.” Ibid., pg. 305

 

The prolonged fear of admitting that the United States of America as a social study is bound to a creed of extending White privilege globally is to beg for the diminishing of Black people. The reason why Obama, the half Kenyan whose bloodline never crosses through the genetic trauma of Jim Crow USA, can promote the safety of the Israel state while it practices its own form of apartheid and holocaust on Palestinians and Afrikans is because he is the face of global white privilege. It is a team effort to conquer a planet, and team at that level is referred to as an allied force.

 

White Male privilege did not grow in the bushes of manicured lawns, neither can Black privilege.

 

“In social psychology, violence is aggression that has extreme physical harm, such as injury or death, as its goal.” Ibid., pg. 305

 

I am not against privilege. I think it is a very sagacious response to the demands of an aggressive humanity. Much of humanity is aggressive and bound by territorial, religious, or ideological systems. The insatiable appetite of human groups with mastery of war and destruction demands an equal or more forceful threat to be warded off. Lest that human group consume every other grouping in its path of fulfillment.

 

White Male privilege did not grow in the bushes of manicured lawns, neither can Black privilege.

 

Physical aggression involves harming others with body parts or weapons (e.g., hitting, kicking, stabbing, or shooting them). Verbal aggression involves harming others with words (e.g., yelling, screaming, swearing, name calling). Relational aggression (also called social aggression is defined as intentionally harming another person’s social relationships, feelings of acceptance by others, or inclusion within a group…Some examples of relational aggression include saying bad things about people behind their backs, withdrawing affection to get what you want, excluding others from your circle of friends, and giving someone the ‘silent treatment’. Relational aggression is similar to the concept of ostracism. Ostracism refers to being excluded, rejected, and ignored by others…)” ibid., pg. 305-306

And Why Should We Be Alarmed At Lil’ Wayne’s Sacrilege?

Not always sure about the word “perfect”. I am even less sure about terms like “sacred” and “sacrilegious”. And yet, although the abstractions leave me in an abysmal wonderment when framing practical application, from time to time in my life, those words have hit me hard as the only practical solution for certain situations.

I guess it was sometime last week, the #Her(oh, yes, I do love how we imbue our significant others with these simple titles), Bri, and I were in a discussion, and in mid-sentence, she evokes the qualification,”although I don’t want to be charged with sacrilege, Harriet Tubman…” and she continued her point. Often, it can be missed that our most sacred ideals do not have to fall from the imaginary scope of myth, and although there is a legend surrounding the personage of Harriet Tubman, given what we do know as objective history about the saint savior of our ancestors, her name does deserve a spot in our cerebral reservoir held in honor for that which is best noted as, “sacred”. In a world where even my most light-heartened critiques of President Barack Obama or Beyonce or Jay-Z are received with a snarl and a defensive reaction, it worries me that our most responsible group of Blacks to carry the future, our youth, do not quite understand the necessity of honoring those that through physical courage and moral indignation carried us to these moments we now refer to as “the present”. And yes, the abstract notion held within the symbol of the term, “sacrilege”, even for a seasoned black media analyst, can immediately open up debate mostly grounded in semantic foray. Yet, when she paused to consider my reaction to her evoking the name “Harriet Tubman”, I understood. I am glad that she has the sensibility to hold our ancestors in that regard in a time when popular Atlantic writer Ta-Nehisi Coates has decided that Harriet Tubman’s legend is too much for him to chew, to the point where he has written an article for “The Atlantic” entitled, “The Myth Of Harriet Tubman”. I suppose somehow the numbers are just too much for the writer, not sure how that might have hurt him, but whatever.

While I was a member of an organization whose job it was to host guest speakers in a prison facility, one of the leaders was upset by the lack of consideration given to the clean up process and duties of other leaders and active members. As we both walked around the staging area after the guest speakers had left cleaning up, he made a statement,”Sometimes, somethings, have to be treated as sacred”. I was in or around my earlier 20’s at that time, but even then, he did not have to lecture me on the principles or delve into some lofty explanation. I understood him. Although, yes, the term “sacred” holds its own voluminous weight, and easily leads to those sorts of circular debates mentioned in the last paragraph, in that extremely practical context, I was able to grasp his meaning in seconds. In a world where any shortsighted error of action, or lack thereof, can cause the best things to be infringed upon, it is the better choice of action to treat that which you enjoy with a degree of evaluation worthy of such appraisals in real time.

Growing up in a culture that has often taught me to place twenty dollars above the respect I have for an elder, I have learned that our dollar signs– or our belief that we can accrue in some ways more dollars behind the dollar signs written upon our balance sheets–tend to be the only understanding of value we have in this society. As much as I would love to lambaste any person that does not hold sacred those same ideals that I do with regard to race and ethnic origins, I do understand how easily we are socialize to put the child of a White woman and Kenyan man raised light-years away from the Black community above those thinkers and leaders that took police knee and dog bite building Black organizations decades before even the first “Black president”, Bill Clinton(who initiated measures that contributed to the most vast building of prisons to incarcerate an imbalanced number of Black men), was ever elected. The esteem given to such personages, did not make it surprising to me that Lil’ Wayne would vocalize his lack of understanding of our collective sacred space by rapping,”I beat that pussy up like Emmett Till” over a DJ Smallz produced remix of Future’s “Karate Chop”.


And why should we be alarmed?

The majority of Black men in the USA felt Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” was redemptive. This means that a fictional character with very loose connections to anything historical was capable of making Black men feel as though they no longer had to defend or fight for the legacy of psychological trauma, economic inequality, social injustice, or even political disenfranchisement that came as the impact of US Slavery and is significantly highlighted by the slaughter of Emmett Till. Does not take much to appease these niggaz, right? If US Slavery as an institution cannot be held to the utmost critical assessment when adapted by White people for monetary gain, where do those that obviously do not understand the degree of sacredness it should be held in learn to hold it in such esteem?

And why should we be alarmed when they do not?

Comic turned Civil Rights spokesman Dick Gregory felt it necessary to attack Spike Lee for depicting Malcolm X in a zoot suit in the eponymous film production. Spike attacked no one in his interview explaining that he thought it would be disrespectful of his ancestors to watch Tarantino’s “Django Unchained”. Mr. Gregory, however felt it was a tarnish on the image of Malcolm to accurately detail the accounts Malcolm asked Alex Haley to scribe in the only authorized account of Malcolm’s life. Yet, Mr. Gregory thought that “Django Unchained” was redemptive and Spike Lee worthy of epithets for not wanting to watch it in honor of his ancestors. If the elders cannot get it right…

And why should we be alarmed?

In a country where Barack Obama can be toted as the “first Black President” with no previous connections to the Black community before his romantic relationship with Michelle Obama…

In a culture that has a difficulty asking Barack Obama to stop his manipulative and incessant evocation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who took the US Government to task for its involvement in the destruction and imperialistic measures in countries such as North Korea(where Barack Obama as head of the US Executive Branch is NOW presently sending more US soldiers outside of the border in South Korea in preparations for war) and the US Government’s failure to address the unfair compensation practices of its own Black workers(while Barack Obama has consistently since before he was even elected as President of the United States given Billions of dollars to rich corporate and banking interests while making lightweight gestures and nods at raising minimum wage to a measly nine dollars an hour)…

In this sort of social sphere, where in the hell do we expect Lil’ Wayne to know that his words are not only offensive, but work to damage the power of the culture he him Self is a direct representative of?

This is not to defend Lil’ Wayne. It is to take all those upset with him to task. Emmett Till, murdered, beaten, eyes plucked, shot, tied with a barb wire to a cotton gin fan, his body tossed into the Tallahatchie River with what can only be assumed where hopes of his body never washing up. Emmett Till, who came from Obama’s political stomping ground(although, I’m sure Emmett did not have the same support from the Jewish Community as Obama!) to Mississippi, his only crime whistling at a white woman that probably looked much like the mother of EVERY US President that has ever been, including the one dubbed, “First Black President”. Emmett Till, whose mother, in sheer socio-political strategic elegance, decided that, when her son’s body had finally been returned to her, to have an open casket, a decision that allowed the human atrocities of the US Black Holocaust(naw, “holocaust” ain’t strong enough of a word to describe our historical plight in the USA) for not only the world, but for history to see. Emmett Till is a US Black prophet. But in a world where Black academics are paid to urinate on the names of our prophets for their own self-aggrandizement, who are going to be the teachers of those that apparently do not know?

And why should we be alarmed when they act out of that which they do not know?

Why should we be alarmed at the disgustingly misogynistic lyrics of Lil’ Wayne when Michelle Obama, the first Black woman to have sexual relations with a US President and it not be a rape or adultery, answers the question of “who is the one person in the world she would be if they could trade places”, it would be Beyonce? Beyonce’s who’s husband’s first public response to their nuptial arrangement is to call her a “bitch” at not only her performance but on his shared track with Kanye West, “That’s My Bitch”. According to some feminist ideologues, this is the empowerment of Black Women, and it is not my place to speak to who one chooses to empower them, but do not ask me to suspend my local logical ability to overlook glaring hypocrisies. A movement saturated in ideological doublespeak and even more contradictory actions where it is more important to justify sexual indulgences than to ask Florida why Marissa Alexander cannot defend her life from an abusive spouse or why Obama has not seen fit to introduce a bill less reformist than the Lily Ledbetter Act probably cannot be asked to address the layers present in the socialized psychology of a celebrated figure such as Lil’ Wayne.

And why should we be alarmed?

Why should we think what Lil’ Wayne has presented to history as his sexual prowess in hyperbole is so disgusting when we attack Lupe Fiasco for ‘policing the sexuality of women’ when he pens a piece discussing his understanding, no matter how limited, regarding the contextual presentation of the term, “bitch”, specifically as it is used in the phrase, “bad bitch”, and yet we proffer a proverbial ghetto pass to 2 Chains(whose “Birthday Song” which contains the lyrics,”All I want for my birthday is a big booty hoe” and has as a guest on the song the same guy that is on the Jay-Z song calling Michelle Obama’s fantasy personage a bitch, Kanye West)? Where is the logic? When does the thinking find some sort of cohesion, let alone coherence? When do our demands on one another begin to makes any sense? When we place more value in celebrity and defend those we deem as highly touted beyond the realm of our most principled display of integrity, we open the door for anyone to trample over our sacred rooms.

And why should we be alarmed?

Why should we care when we continue to elect a president that has shown more concern for Zionist Israel than he has for Inner city Chicago? Israel knows how to hold every nanometer of neurological strand of every brain across the globe regarding the White western Jewish presence historic or otherwise as sacred to the point of demanding that the US and its Allies be held responsible for its holocaust against Palestinians because of the holocaust in Germany. What the West pejoratively refers to as “Arab spring” was further ignited by a Christian making a straight-to-Youtube movie handling the image of Prophet Muhammad in a less than sacred manner. US White media will protect every one of its young men who kill en masse under the auspice of “bullied”, “troubled youth”, and the like, but if one Black man is even thought to have behaved in a minuscule fraction of that, he is labeled as a “domestic terrorist” and hunted by man and predator drones.

But why should Blacks– who love to announce just how much of a monolithic people they are not while every other group of nationalized peoples on Earth is loyal to a common heritage and represents a diverse yet unified conglomeration– care? Why should US Blacks be so alarmed, now? Where was this collective angst when Tarantino called you “niggers”, when Ted Danson showed up at a date with Whoopi Goldberg in blackface, when the killers of Amadou Diallo where given promotions, when…wait…when the hell have you all ever really protected your sacred spaces?

So, why are you so damn alarmed that one of your celebrated did what the world showed him he could?

Thoughts On Hip Hop And US President Barack Obama(first set)

“Fundamentally, both crack and rap are conceived of similarly — as ways to create spaces of non-humiliating work in the face of severe social disruption.” – pg. 38

As I was trolling through my Twitter timeline, I came across an announcement by @BlackGod917 that Grammy award winning and Duke instructor 9th Wonder had remixed United States of America Democratic Presidential Campaign Contributor Jay-Z 2007 “American Gangster” album. As an aficionado of 9th Wonder’s production, I immediately sought out a link, and after receiving it, I proceeded to nodding away. While listening to the music, I considered Sean Carter’s initial statements regarding his inspiration for writing the scores found on the piece.Relating that after watching Denzel Washington’s performance that immortalized New York City herion dealer Frank Lucas that was not suppose to immortalize Frank Lucas, the Brooklyn Nets investor decided to pen the lyrics that appear on the tracks that I was listening to.

Being the Black media analyst and critic that I am, I began wondering which lines about drug dealing were metaphor, hyperbole, or unaffected. I also allowed my mind to drift to an age when I thought crak dealing was a means to buy the things the children I went to school with that mocked me had. Of course, I also thought about the feeling of having of those things, the nights sleeping in homes owned by adults but designated and operated by teenaged youths as narcotic storefronts. I allowed my ruminations to drift with the hypnotic beats to the memory of my peers who had become incarcerated, addicted, homeless, professional criminals, and slash or murdered. And then I thought about the United States President’s vehement position on gun violence while being financed by a guy that reminds me of the most violent times of my childhood. Possibly not much different than those dying in the streets of urban Chicago alongside the suburban upscale neighborhood of Hyde Park where United States President Barack Obama resided peacefully with his family not far from Nation of Islam National Representative, Minister Louis Farrakhan.

Although I am not a fan of Abraham Maslow’s heirarchy of needs, like most popular psychology conceptual frameworks, it has its meritable ideas. One of those ideas is the need for financial security as a foundation for self-respect. The development of a socialized capability to harness such a foundation often cannot be found in the classrooms where much of urban Black USA finds itself. According to a report compiled by research conducted by The Council of the Great City Schools in October 2010, 30% of Black males are attending schools in urban areas. Interestingly enough, the report contains evidence that supports a growing notion that Blacks in urban areas are doing better than Blacks being schooled in other areas.

I often wonder when I am debating the impact of media and media influence why people think that Parents and Teachers that are forced as authorities in this country should have more influence than those adults that children and teenagers choose to listen to. Maybe I am asking too much from the critical thinking facilities of those that voted for a man without considering his voting record, but influence happens. And what one adult considers an overly embezzled “story”, a young impressionable mind may consider a long term goal.

I wanted to examine the idea of the Metaphoric drug dealer further. I am not always sure what the age is for the understanding of a person that says they are selling crack as a metaphor for selling albums or just working hard begins for a person that has exposure and access to the lifestyle of the drugs. For myself, it is essential to question whether Rick Ross was shot at 20 times by someone that actually wanted to kill or hurt him, or was it a means to add credibility to an image most agree he has concocted. At want point does the 12 to 15 year old urban market that Jay-Z refers to in his Oprah’s Master Class interview as the “white hot” demographic? At what point do we become appalled by the fact that a man in his 40s considers 15 year olds his target audience for music depicting the US Black urban underground market and lifestyle as sport? As well, what does it say about Barack Obama and the national numbness of the violence US Black children are met with daily when none of Obama’s tears are able to cause his conscience to look past the money Jay-Z contributes to his campaigns that Jay-Z claims is rooted in the same drug money that causes so much violence in the neighborhoods of urban Chicago alongside the suburban upscale neighborhood of Hyde Park where United States President Barack Obama resided peacefully with his family not far from Nation of Islam National Representative, Minister Louis Farrakhan?

Obama The Coward Or Just The Magically Detached Negro?

There can be an exceptionally pleasing state of mind that prevents the intolerable from damaging our better judgment and reacting by cracking the skull of a person limited in their ability to remain silent in whatever form in regards to their dislike of you. It can be a joy to admit that the only thing keeping me in this cerebral utopia is my lack of access to said person’s skull, but I probably should be using this space to write more ecumenical thoughts, yes?

Sure, whatever.

 

 

So, I thought about the lack of response from the Obama administration respecting the “black face” images of one of the Israeli military’s most visible spokesman, Sacha Dratwa. Now, it is extremely difficult for me to believe that a guy leading one of the world’s most protected nation’s social media campaigns does not at least posses a cursory understanding of the racist nature of his acts. The portrayal of White men in caricature from the days when Thomas “Daddy” Rice donned charcoal paste and burnt cork on his face while singing “Jump Jim Crow” to Ted Danson plastering his pale skin with whatever that substance was he used while dating Whoopi Goldberg, the message of racist propaganda and the legacy of brutality associated with USA’s treatment of Blacks has never been funny or appropriate. This is beyond distasteful. It is offensive in the same manner that comments regarding United States President Barack Husein Obama from former head of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General McCrystal, were deemed intolerable and insubordinate, resulting in Obama’s public termination of one the most powerful general’s of the US Army.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is interesting that on the strength of a Rolling Stones’ article, Obama responded within days, which is not quite as fast as he responded to George W. Bush’s initial “Bank Bailout” bill not being passed, but much faster than the month it took him to respond to the murder of Trayvon Martin, but who is counting right? Discretionary politics of the first guy to be elected to the most visible position in the land whose mother had jungle fever, it does begin to sit uncomfortably that this guy may never be more than a symbol of a shell of Blackness. I am not one of those that clamored their Twitter stream with complaints about O-beezy’s more patient strategist side(see Obama’s reaction before being pressed to appear angered by the BP oil spill) nor his more academic approach(see Obama during first debate with Mitt Romney). However, there is something that reeks of cowardice beyond posturing when Obama cannot respond to the most racial of overtones, a Belgian turned Israeli Military leader painted with a mud face and proclaiming he is doing it “Obama style” for the international social media community. I do not expect Barry to get on the horn with Joe Biden hopping out of Air Force One on Israeli soil with his foamposites laced up to go fisticuffs with the young Drawta, but I do expect him to at the least address the ramifications of such behavior.

I anticipate the new age banter of Obama being “above” such activity, but he was not above the immediate termination of a worker groomed in a culture of aggressive locker room talk within days of an article released. He was not above holding national press conferences announcing his administration’s support of a nation bombing what amounts to a small city(the Gaza Strip is about twice the size of Washington, DC), basically an army attacking the citizens that happen to be surrounding a gang upset that their land has gone from a state to a strip. Does Mr. President and those that will defend him, understand that yes, people died for Blacks to vote, they also died fighting stereotypical representations of their people. Why is it that the only “Black” aspect of Barack are superficial cultural aspects? Is the second first Black president’s only claim to the US Black his ability to dribble a ball, his Ipod playlist, and possibly his marriage to Michelle? Hell, that makes him less Black than the last Black president that came out of the womb of a White woman!

It should be noted here that the Jewish nation of Israel is the product of western imperial muscle and dishonest wordplay(we’ve seen these guys do this elsewhere…), and manipulation. As a nation formed for the Jewish peoples who were tortured and murdered in Germany, one can guarantee that the Jews would not put up with the head of a US social media group(let alone the damn military) portraying a Black man with a beard cut in the style of Hitler or some other insensitive depiction. The United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Elizabeth Rice is now being crucified by Republicans for her part in the obviously opportunistic media spin by the Obama administration of the events that led up to the attack of US diplomatic post in Benghazi by a group who were claimed to have been incensed over a movie portrayal of Prophet Muhammad. Regardless of actual events, it was not difficult to believe that many Muslims could or would be upset by that movie. Most people will respond to racial, ethnic, or religious attacks of such nature…no matter how “above” many are willing to lie to them Selves in an attempt to justify their moral cowardice.

It is quite obvious from the Half-Kenyan United States’ President’s response to Chicago violence that he is disattached from the Blacks who have given him the most consistent support. It is also difficult to overlook his inability to respond in a timely manner to things that most Blacks would have already spoken on. I only pray that one day Blacks of the US will not have to suffer the assault of sensibilities from White people and one day we have more courageous leaders.

Thoughts On ‘Innocence Of Muslims’ And Freedom Of Speech

“The Innocence of Muslims” is a low budget recording by reported amateur filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula that pokes fun at the roots and history of founders of the Islamic faith. Some may not have actually seen the movie, and thus may react that the film, and its trailer uploaded to Google owned YouTube, is incediary. True. In that the term ‘incediary’ refers more to the reactions of others as opposed to actual content. The film is parody. And as a writer that often may be framed as a contrarian, and a damn witty one, I can’t condone murder in the name defending a prophet and a religion when I question god, state, mothers, sisters, uncles, family members and their affiliate gangs, and every other aspect of my own family, culture, or personal life hourly. I cannot defend the ideas used to construct the humor used by the 55-year-old Nakoula — a Coptic Christian identified as the pieces only writer, director and financier of the film — but I also would hate to have to live in a world were any piece that sparks febrile reactions amongst a group of people that justifiably could have used any virulent display of the Islamic faith, and more importantly, any works that stimulate a Western posture. Let’s face it, there is a heavy anti-USA sentiment in the Middle East.

YouTube has reportedly blocked the movie from being veiwed in Egypt and Libya in response to the torching of the US Consulate in Libya that culminated in the deaths of four US diplomats. The deaths of US ambassador Chris Stevens, former Navy SEAL commandos Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, and information management officer Sean Smith in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi were memorialized by US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State, Hilary Rodham Clinton. Both, Clinton and Obama, addressed the nature of the film as well as response to the film. The Afghan government has asked YouTube to remove the video as they block Google services(source). In Malaysia, Information Minister Rais Yatim says the influential of Malaysia have asked that the clips be removed from YouTube citing “explosive commotions and repercussions at hand” as their reasoning(source).

Maya Angelou spoke today about not speaking out against those that use perjoratives and that those who are assailed against in one area will one day be your Self. I watched her in all her venerable glory speak towards the concerns as well as her diagnosis for the brave new world we now persist in. In her wisdom, on Melissa Harris-Perry’s eponymously title show, she labeled courage as the number one virtue because it allows us to speak out when people make incendiary or disrespectful statements about others.

I’m not quite sure I can agree with that. I understand her statements and sentiments regarding ‘courage’. I don’t think the problem we face in this world is one of ‘cowardliness’ in as much as I believe it is one of greed. Global greed causes a recognition that lines have been drawn in the sand that divides those of the West from those of the East as those of the West invade, destroy, usurp, and force th East to assimilate with Western mores. How can one of good conscience — or at least rational fairness — address those on the ground in these places being attacked and invaded by Western influence that calls their way of life violent and reckless while Western drones kill children as a mission statement? How can you expect the leaders(the Imams, the Sheiks, and the Muftis) not use any device at their disposal to rally their cause against an aggressive perpetrator that obviously has more hegemonic reasons for their presence than moral indignation? That I get.

I understand why any group of thinkers with a body of active objective agents of change would use this as a reason to attack. It is a sign that even the charms of Chi-town Barrack cannot assuage the pain fomented by US foreign policy and Western greed. Yet, I consider this what it is, a geo-political reaction. Whether I agree with it has no bearing on my stance for the freedom to speak, write, and mold art as I feel, no matter how offensive others might deem it.

Thoughts on Fear of a Black President

Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote what I found to be the best encapsulation of the tension that has come with being a Black president. Coates captured it all from the hope and sense of ownership to the disgust and frustration within our community as well as the reception of President Obama and what his blackness means outside of our community.

 

What gripped me most was the theme regarding what do we mean and what should we expect when we say we have a Black President (or really a Black anything, for that matter). As Coates noted in his article, we love President Obama’s employing cultural signals and behaviors, but we also long for that “speak- truth-to-power” defiance. We want that avatar of our anger and rage just as much as the effortless portrayal of who we are culturally by our own in high places. What real good is understanding the finer points of giving dap, a command of Al Greens lyrics, or a child touching his hair in the light of death of young Black men and women in Chicago, extra judicial murders of Black folk in general, and predator drones? For many, especially those of us with immediate survival needs: Federalism, the nature of political process, reelections and the calculus of race ring very hollow as explanations in the face of such an environment.

 

While Obama still has to bear that criticism, I find that I also have to weigh the potency of racism in this country that demands as Coates says,” twice as good and half as black”. A lot of times we discuss authenticity in terms of hair and one’s adherence to different models and I think Coates engagement of this theme injects the nuance of a given person’s situation into the understanding of what authenticity means. It is easier and far sexier for us to view authenticity as this unbending adherence to a particular set of rules rather than sort of struggle to embody what we believe. A journey that is often beset with challenges, experiences, and situations where we stray, modify, or confirm those principles. The philosophies and principles we live by are born of human experience and not the other way around. As such, these philosophies and principles cannot hope to cover every single situation we face. Our lived experience is too complex to be pinned in like that. So what happens when in a situation where you have every intention to do good but must compromise and risk your ability to use your position positively in the future? What happens when such a decision is a matter of survival or ability to provide for one’s family? As Coates discusses, such a calculation is as relevant to the President in his position as it is to us in our day to day lives.

 

In short, intent counts.

Are We Prepared If George Zimmerman Never Gets Arrested?

I remember the apathy after many of us realized that Oscar Grant’s murderer Johannes Mehserle was not going to be tried for murder. I remember the sense of loss many shared when his slap on the wrist came down from the judge. I can still feel the streaming tears as the video tape of Aiyana Jones was never released. Often Afkan(Afrikan Amerikkkans) are forced to swallow bitter realities. Realities such as Trayvon Martin’s killer possibly never being arrested.

 

We are now picking up on the message from The New Black Liberation Militia to seek a citizen’s arrest of George Zimmerman. This could possibly be a costly measure given Zimmerman’s penchant for hurling fragments of burning metal into Afkan bodies and calling the police on him Self in defense from grand juries. Yet, I realize that there isn’t much else in the matter of Ma’at(human enforced justice for human enforced injustice) that anyone is volunteering. My Asylum salutes their efforts.

 

Afkan peoples of an above and beyond the blindness of naivete sort of upbringing and/or adulthood may ask why such measures would be applauded and supported here. Well, frankly, something has to be done. Many of us have called into the Sanford Sheriff’s office to be redirected to the State’s Attorney’s office, only to be told of limited resources in the matter of arresting George Zimmerman. In fact, it could be weeks before a charge is given. Trayvon was killed February 26 of this year. The date of this writing is March 19. You figure out how upset you should or shouldn’t be.

 

I am pleased to see so many media outlets investing energy into reporting of young Trayvon’s murder. I recall the lack of support from most in information dissemination after a Detroit Police Officer sent a slug screaming through the cranium of Aiyana Jone’s sleeping head and out through the base of her chin. Unfortunately, the Afkan community can join together and help Obama corner a bloc of voters unified enough to push him past the Democratic primaries, but his vocal thoughts on the murders of Aiyana, Oscar, and now Trayvon remain disloyally silent. Tonight, a message from Obama’s administration that they wouldn’t “wade” into a human rights travesty that demands international attention on the grounds that it was a local law-enforcement matter. The violation of the Afkan community’s trust in Obama can’t be fully gathered in vibrations bouncing around pupils to form symbols of expression. The surface of my disappointment’s now breathing body is tempered only by the foreknowledge of the regret his family will face knowing Barry was the father that dropped the ball, time and time again. To enter the office as the Black president, and to leave as the half-Caucasian one that could be compared to an overseer of some grand plantation should hurt. And yet, that sweltering prophecy in my emotive heart will not replace the deep seated notion that every Afkan child around me must be reminded that we can’t trust anyone in this war for our removal from this place, this Earth.

 

As I read through countless digitally captured thoughts in the social web, I notice the emergence of self-hate revealing it Self like a tumor of Afkan psychic pulses. Afkan men are blamed for Trayvon being killed while walking down a pathway. Children ask their teachers how could Trayvon have prevented a failed lawman from slaughtering him. Those that seek to rally to bring attention to the event are labeled as misguided; those that seek blood writ are labeled as foolish. Instead of everyone involved and concern doing their part and allowing others to play their position, the whole movement for Justice for Trayvon is imploding.

 

So, as I sit and ponder how a two time felon who has just been saved from homelessness can assist the best he can in raising awareness and training of young Afkan males, my lovely Lifeline asked me,”are we prepared if George Zimmerman never gets arrested?” And all I could do for an answer was ask you…

 

Are you ready to accept what you’ve known within your most original and Eastern mind? That a half-blood prince can’t save your children from Herod’s wrath on your boys. Are you prepared? Are you prepared to accept that George Zimmerman- not Crips or Bloods, or drug dealers, or aliens that look like lizards underneath their manufactured skin- killed Trayvon Martin. Are we ready to understand that Afkan on Afkan violence is only a subset of the power structure created as White on Afkan violence crystallized into a system of society. Can we accept that a killer will be walking the streets of Florida with the confidence of a lion after feeding that he has privilege enough to murder when he chooses?

 

On the bus ride from the urban war zones to the rural concentration camps, there is an understanding shared from the veterans to the rookies,”if you ain’t ready, get ready. And once ready, stay on the ready…”

That “Nigga” Gene…

Interesting enough is the particular identification with the “ghetto”, or “hood”. This internalizing of poverty as an expression of “survivor”, you know(won’t go away without effort, I swear)? There is this sense of achievement of just saying you lived in a particular neighborhood, even if the person is still living there. Many have this need to blame the environment, and yet are determined to hold on to it. Define themselves by it.

There is a major sense of pride that comes with that. In the same way that soldiers or people who have been in the military during occupations and wars might point to a medal, or mention the particular operations they were a part of. We even hear it, “I’m a ghetto vet”. Now, would that be a domestic occupation? And for some, being a “thug” is an occupation! And although I’m being slightly facetious, there is something in A) the reality for some that there is a war occurring on US soil, and B) the overall comodification of the urban male/female image.

To be certain, it would be wise of us to realize that the image isn’t a new one. Nor is it for the most part an organic one as opposed to a manufactured one. The same sorts of behavior projected through time that were once used to make the American Black seem animal like, or less civilized, have been used to criminalize them. What would once be considered highly offensive, propagandistic, and in many ways inhumane, is now widely accepted as the way it is. It is just “keeping it real”. In many ways it is a pattern of how some might even want it. For some, it is just a joke, depending on who is telling it of course.

Granted, the notion that stereotypes are exaggerations of possible truths may have some validity. The roles that we choose to adopt to express native ability, or even gender, are often given to us by those who have an interest in promoting a particular image. There is market for a Queen Latifah to be a cover girl, or even for women to adopt the ideal of “Barbie”. There is something telling when we see a personality such as Monique exerting herself, comically or otherwise, to replicate the movements of Beyonce. As if to say yes, it is “F— skinny b—-es, but we still can dance like you.”

So, it would seem as though, if the stereotype doesn’t apply, or if the role presented by the image is difficult to maintain, a certain insecurity is developed. In that insecurity it seems that overcompensation occurs. Or humiliation, whichever comes first. Even in a Kanye West, a black male rap icon that admits to dressing like a homosexual there is a need to reflect the images of what might be the stereotypical rapper. Although, Kanye is in a league of distinguished gentlemen, we find him posing with his hands on his girlfriend’s butt holding a bottle Hennessey. Later in the same night, after possibly enjoy the said bottle cognac, he upstages, as part of his normal award show routine, Taylor Swift while giving her acceptance speech.

For black males in the urban community there is no Marlboro man to consider. But there is the “real nigga”. Not only is there the difficulty of simply being a man, and whatever standards come with that, there is the need to push beyond “real” man, into a role that society has been taught to fear. The athletic professional must not only be skilled in the techniques of their sport, but highly aggressive, demeaning, and often wrought with a lifestyle that mimics rappers mimicking what is perceived as the drug lord’s lifestyle. Which can get confusing these days, as many drug lords are mimicking rappers and athletes.

The need to not only possess that traits commonly held as masculine, there seems to be the desire to adopt the projected roles. You can’t just be highly talented basketball player, you’ve got have guns, and be seen with an entourage of “friends” from the dreaded “hood”. You can’t just be a brilliant scholar, a political phenom, a gifted orator, you’ve also got to have Ludacris on your ipod, play basketball, walk with a limp, and eat at the local grease pit. You can’t just hold a phd in theology or philosophy, and boast of intelligent works, you’ve got to be able to recite Nas’ discography.

Even as the black man with the most respect and fear in the world, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t fit the description. You’ve got to have that nigga gene…

The Black Caste Condition

There is a lot to be said more about the black intellectual experience in the US. What a lot of American Blacks don’t understand is the class system being built around education. In so many ways, Brown v. Topeka(1954) has been rendered null and void. Although, the 1954 Brown v. The Board of Education ruling overturned segregation, in a de jure sense, in practice, its sway and influence began to decline after 1970. During the 1990s, school districts that had chosen voluntary desegregation programs were attacked with litigation by schools that sought to remain segregated such as the case Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina. The impact of white flight from districts with predominantly black neighborhoods has lowered racial intermixing on a social level (mumford1.dyndns.org).

The highest rate of segregation appears to occur in large Northern metropolitan areas that are surrounded by white suburban areas. The findings of the 1974 Milliken Supreme court decision stands, a finding that forbids desegregation plans that cross school district lines. This creates a condition where densely populated areas of Blacks are unable to benefit from interacting with their white counter parts if the suburbs and the city are in differing districts. (colorlines.com)

So, in effect, you have a situaton where three-hundred and plus years of murder if you read, plus another hundred and plus years of schools that received low funding if at all by the government, and now a slight hundred years after that we have the same sort of thing. With the culture of anti-intellectualism being a customary for most cultures(the Khazarians killed their intellectual children), many in the American Black community have begun to define Black in manners that imply lack of intelligence, reason, or informed civility. The term “savage”, and phrases like “zero understanding” reflect this internalizing of the plight that American Blacks have had to face in gaining proper tools to become educated in a systematic manner outside of religious dogma and traditional American Black culture. Given that only 30% of the total population is degreed, and around 52% are high school educated, even with “street smarts”, the advantages of those who are able to obtain a foothold in this treacherous playing field of cultural capital hide and go seek are indeed great.

The same effects as what we might see in India with the “untouchables” begins to occur. Even at a possibly worse pitch due to the nature of inculcation. WHen a group of people that are as insular as the American Black population, with an extremely limited ability to influence and direct self-determination, begin to treat education in the same manner as the marginally-attached, then no matter how few accept this mentality, it will extend beyond those few “talented” ones. Class capitalism is as much about customs and culture as it is about wealth. With the legal system in the hands of the white wealthy, it is difficult to foretell if the American Black will be able to use criminal means to create a foothold as have the original British, French, and Spanish settlers, and all other European entities after them. Although there is an understandable degree of fear shared among the working and professional class of Blacks for those found in the urban setting, it would be more plausible for that group to build libraries and develop a leisure class outside of dependence on white american consumer marketing.

Land is land. Buildings are buildings. People make communities. The danger of any community is not in poorly built structures, that is to say outside of natural disasters of course. The danger is in the lack of respect for life. However, we have seen this lack of respect for life in everything that is human. Murdering one’s on kin is not the monopoly of the American BLack. The very term Anglo-Saxon is a reflection of gang/tribal warfare. Yet, without a balance of notions of what one can accomplish, without a discipline of thought, without an understanding of the power being weilded by outsiders via consumer marketing, the next generation of American Blacks might as all be murdered at seven by the police. They will either be dead, or serve the market in prison, or serve the market in stratafied housing zones and job placements. Those who succeed to rise above their brothers and sisters will be no different than the slave who slept in the attic of the master’s home one the plantation. They will be forced to drink beers and smile with the true power holders no matter the position of the member of the power holding race.

Machiavelli in the Modern Age

Nicolo Machiavelli, the world has not forgotten his name, mainly because they have yet to stop adhering to his principles of power management by those who head states. His works resonant with single purpose: power. Although we are all very enamored with the success of Barack Obama, I would like to use this paper as a means to show how he has and is demonstrating Machiavellian principles in this day and age.
One of the key elements of the Machiavellian body of thought is the use of whatever means at the leaders disposal to maintain order and reign. During the campaign, Obama made blatant statements that he would be removing from us the infamous and nefarious legacy left by his immediate predecessor, George W. Bush. Under George Bush, the NSA and various other information and intelligence gathering departments used wire taps to listen in on the thoughts and plans of the American citizens. Obama, when given the opportunity to write away this wrong when not bringing up charges against the Bush administration, and allow the wire tapping to go unpunished, setting the executive office in a position higher than the principles he espoused during his campaign. This is a direct power play that is in line with Machiavelli’s teaching. A line out of the book “Prince” would serve us well here,”…he (the leader) must stick to the good so long as he can, but, being compelled by necessity, he must be ready to take the way of evil.”(pg. 63).
It is within Obama’s ability to be good as he sees fit with the closing of Guantamo Bay, at least in writing, he may be doing what appears good to the people, which was another tactic offered by our great political philosopher. However, we know that he did not enforce his will against a measure that would allow him to be good in deed, in action, but rather choose to act with evil, in the course of necessity, which allows belies his overall character portrayal that man is good. If by allowing the state to continue practicing wire tapping there is a thought that given the opportunity to do evil, man will, and must be watched with a close scrutiny, not only those who have a vested interest in avoiding wire taps, but the whole of the American people must be held under close surveillance. Another key element in the Machiavellian doctrine, by any means necessary, as he puts it,”…In the actions of men, when there is no court of appeal one judges by the results.”
Obama also uses the religion of his childhood to further his mission in the political realm as an instrument of power. We see him in the church after his inaugural ball, all in the high class pomp of our modern society. Why would an intellectual such as Obama, a man who leans heavily on his own speech writing abilities, who supports the expansion of government into the affairs of business, be so adamant about being seen in a church? Is he also using the Machiavellian principle of religion as a tool for power?
Furthermore, what makes a non-incumbent president, who has no prior experience of this degree want to go to basketball games during an economic crisis? He is making sure that his method and fortune are in harmony. He is casting himself in the best possible light, as one of the common people. By bestowing this bit of charm on himself, he works to assuage any doubt in the minds of his citizens that he is amoral. He has not the time or the chance to deal with an issue so far out of his control at the moment such as the economic crisis. In fact, he takes this even further and admits to not having said power over an insured loan company such as AIG, although he sought to punish them quickly, while at the same time doling out small portions of the budget to the citizens. Who said this, “Injuries should be performed all at once: so resentment does not develop, favors (deals, entertaining, advertising, grants, charitable works) should be bestowed little by little…”
I am not a republican or anywhere near the American right in thought, deed, or other, however, it is very critical that we understand the measures that our leaders take in order to issue out their respective offices. Not that I totally disagree with the practices spelled out in “The Prince”, I just make sure to keep a vigilant eye out one someone who is operating out of a vested interest to maintain their power, I’m sure as Machiavelli would write, those powers are doing the same to me.