Showing posts with label race. Show all posts
Showing posts with label race. Show all posts

Thursday, July 17, 2008

'Obama is my slave'

Boy oh boy, this is going to be a very interesting presidential election. Everywhere from Georgia to Utah, we're seeing some of the most racist caricatures since the 1920s being veiled as 'presidential criticism'.

Joining the club of rednecks is an unlikely candidate, an Israeli-born New York fashion designer named Apollo Braun, who is considered the new Andy Warhol according to one documentary film on YouTube.

One of Braun's customers, a 25-year-old NYC gradudate student, bought a $69 t-shirt that reads, 'Obama is my slave'. Well she got her ass kicked by four black teenage girls, who shoved her and spit in her face for wearing it. She then threatened to sue Braun.

From Livesteez:

The woman bought a $69 shirt from Apollo Braun's Manhattan boutique that bore the words, "Obama is my slave." When she wore the shirt on Tuesday, four teenage girls accosted her - shoving her, pulling out her earphones, and spitting in her face, according to the New York edition of Metro News.

The unnamed woman is reportedly seeking solace by suing Braun - born Doron Braunshtein - for "all he's got," the designer claims. He, of course, is shirking any responsibility for the incident and says that the shirt reflects the views of "ordinary WASPs."

"For a lot of people, when they see Obama, they see a slave. People think America is not ready for a black president,” the Israeli-born designer said.

"I can’t stand Obama," Braun says.

Braun says he hates Barack, thinks he's a Muslim and "He reminds me of Adolf Hitler." Strong words, which probably explains why he's decided to sell a line of anti-Obama t-shirts in NYC that include, 'Jews Against Obama,', 'Obama = Hitler' and 'Who Killed Obama?'.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Blitt's cover eclipses Lizza's story

Barack is a Muslim terrorist, Michele is a Black Panther, bin Laden's their hero and old Glory is burning -- scared enough, America?

Maybe the readership of The New Yorker is so sophisticated that Barry Blitt's illustration, called 'The Politics of Fear', is understood as satire. The troubling thing about satire is this: if it ain't funny you're screwed. And it appears the rest of the country didn't get it. Go here, here and here.

Now New Yorker editor David Remnick is moonwalking, arguing that no one should truly believe that The New Yorker (a stereotype itself of liberal elitism) would deliberately put gasoline on the flames of these ugly rumors and stereotypes.

Unfortunately the controversial cover eclipses Ryan Lizza's article, 'Making It', which is one of the best written pieces about B-Rock's Chicago past. We know about the interracial odyssey of Barry's childhood and the rise of Mr. Hope after his election to the U.S. Senate, but who exactly was that community activist in Windy? Lizza puts the puzzle together by capturing the history of Chicago politics with my new neighborhood, Hyde Park, as the centerpiece.

One of my favorite touchstones deals with exactly why Barack joined Trinity. We all know why these suit and tie black professionals join these mega-churches . It ain't got nothing to do with theology. It has less than nothing to do with the charismatic clergy. It's called status.

From The New Yorker:

On issue after issue, [alderwoman Toni] Preckwinkle presented Obama as someone who thrived in the world of Chicago politics. She suggested that Obama joined Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ for political reasons. “It’s a church that would provide you with lots of social connections and prominent parishioners,” she said. “It’s a good place for a politician to be a member.”

Where else can an ambitious newcomer meet a network of Negroes other than a church? Maybe the barbershop (too leisure) or the club (too unorganized).

Let the secular truth say, Amen!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The inadequate and unprepared black man named Barack

Was Louisville Metro Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh's comments on WHAS-11, yesterday, wrong? The debate was all the rage locally @ The 'Ville Voice and PageOne. It even broke national coverage on DailyKos. Maybe it was a bit of a pile by the bloggers due to a bad paraphrase chosen by reporter Joe Arnold.

You be the judge.

From WHAS-11:

Metro Council member Tina Ward-Pugh says she’s not convinced that Obama has what it takes to be president…Ward-Pugh says she wonders what the nine weeks between now and the convention will reveal about Obama.

Overall Ward-Pugh's comments sound and look like that of a sore loser. Hillary's farewell lettermakes Ward-Pugh look stubbornly bitter. Maybe Hillary supporters are on different schedules or time zones. In the end, Ward-Pugh's comments are mild compared to truculent Hillary supporters like Harriet Christian, who said that Barack's nomination represented the Democrats choosing an "inadequate black male" -- whatever that means

Hillary supporters angry over Barack clinching the nomination are a mixed bag, some legitimately disappointed that their candidate lost and others unwilling to respect, fathom or acknowledge that a black person won. Yes, even among progressive white limousine liberals there's resistance to admitting a black person is at the head of the table in the Democratic Party.

I predicted sour grapes. It was bound to happen in a historic race between the two biggest identity politics movements in American history. No matter who won, the prospect of either the first black or first female president was going to end.

For the second time in American history white women have been passed by with black men going first. Before you applaud, hold on, ladies. When black men were given the right to vote by the 15th Amendment in 1870, we had a few barriers between us and the ballot box such as the literacy test, grandfather clause, poll tax, Jim Crow and Klu Klux Klan to name a few. Don't say we got the right to vote before you as an accomplishment or proof that sexism is worse than racism when up until 1965, all black people couldn't vote without the fear of American terrorism visiting their doorstep the next day. Do not leave out the context of history.

I do wonder, however, when white women bemoan Barack's victory as somehow borrowing from the power of sexism, do black women figure in their equation at all? For whatever reason I never see, hear or read their point of view on the matter.

The best debate on the subject is still from a January broadcast on Democracy Now! between Melissa Harris-Lacewell and Gloria Steinem. Check it out here.

America's Blazing Saddle

Between writing for LEO and finding an apartment in Chicago, I heard America actually let the black guy win. Ever notice how America always has a surge of racial progress after a period of divisive, national devastation. After the Civil War, slavery ended. After George W. Bush, a black guy named Barack (Hussein) Obama is running for President.

There are plenty of editorials trumpeting the historic significance of Barack Obama winning the Democratic nomination. In both directions we hear exaggerated claims that racism is over or racism is everlasting. Whatever. Klantucky proved the former is a lie; Barack's nomination proves the latter cannot be wholly true.

We know intimately, America's racist foundations and continuations. However, we have committed acts of patriotic treason through the years knowing as much but still able to fight for American ideals even when actively rebelling against the American government and its agents of intolerance. We, the people of this flawed union have waged a beautiful struggle to make it more perfect. It's a better cause than fixing the same busted car engine or reconciling with the same cheating spouse or mowing the same tacky lawn.

Maybe the country isn't worth saving. Utopia has been a favorite for the American mind, seeking freedom dreams in foreign lands, ready to quit America often after one plush tourist visit. Few are willing to admit that those places too are filled with troublesome leaders, backward traditions, state-sponsored brutality and social tyranny. Canada, Sweden, Ghana, Venezuela or Cuba -- conflict is abound.

Quickly, let me undress the messianic dark side of the Obama campaign. I'll say this. Barack Obama is an imperfect, flawed politician for an imperfect and flawed nation. Presently, he represents our better half that occasionally illumines why this democratic order is worth saving. Eventually, however, he'll do or say or represent something ugly. Here's hoping it is later rather than sooner.

Rant over.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Blackface on Facebook

Browsing on Facebook, a friend of mine found this casually displayed in his News Feed. Not surprisingly, there is a phenomenon on the website of people dressing up as minstrels to the point that some even call it blackfacebook.

The guy in blackface went all out, he even painted his chest and hands. Brought the malt liquor too. I wonder who he's suppose to be dressed as anyway? Ironically he's being embraced by a guy dressed as Uncle Sam.

More and more I'm seeing minstrelsy reappearing. Many are saying that because we're past Jim Crow, this is longer offensive. Yeah. Right. I guarantee a lot of these frat boys dressing in blackface will update the "I'm not racist, I have a black friend" defense and start saying, "I'm not racist, I voted for Obama."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hillary wins Klantucky -- Louisville needs to secede

UPDATE: Halfway across the globe Al Jazeerah reported on how race played a factor in the Democratic presidential primary. Pay attention to the first woman.

Watch, she almost says it.
"I just don't want to vote for a--"

It's a bit disheartening watching Hillary Clinton declare her Klantucky victory in Louisville considering she lost the Derby City to Barack, 52% to 44% by 12,000 votes. Growing up in Louisville, you get a lopsided perception of the Bluegrass. We forget that outside our metro oasis outlined by the Watterson Expressway is an entirely different world. A world where minstrel black-face figurines still adorn kitchen cabinets.

Especially if you're from the neighborhoods within West Louisville, which is the most densely black populated area in the entire state, you tend to forget you're in Kentucky. We're reminded about that face when the contrasts between Louisville & Kentucky are drawn after elections where exit polls illustrate a lucid difference. Using a rubric of education, age and race means that overall Kentucky is uneducated, old and white. By themselves those demographics are harmless, but combined it's a lethal equation (Barack got wiped out by 35%.)

When African-American Kentuckians travel they often hear, "They got black people in Kentucky?!?" Watching Hillary's victory speech on MSNBC and analyzing the results, I see why.

As Howard Fineman noted on MSNBC:

"There's a huge resentment between Louisville and the rest of the state and Obama became the downtown Louisville candidate"

Ironically, Hillary declared victory at the new Marriott in downtown Louisville. As my former editor at The Cardinal, Dylan Lightfoot commented:

"Just proves what we all know: The Ville is a nucleus of progressivism surrounded by a protoplasmic ooze of assbackwardsness."

After today's results where 21% of Kentucky voters openly said they voted based on race we cannot deny the writing on the wall.

I want to make something abundantly clear to outsiders. I'm from Louisville, home of Muhammad Ali and Hunter S. Thompson, and damn proud of it. The basketball team I cheer for is U of L (NOT UK). My congressman is John Yarmuth.

I love my city, but Louisville needs to secede.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Jealous, new NAACP Pres.

Introducing Benjamin T. Jealous, 35, the new and youngest President of the NAACP.

I doubt Jealous will be dubbed the 'hip-hop NAACP Pres.' as
when Kwame won Detroit.-- he doesn't have the 'swagger' of Kilpatrick. Carrying the 'youth activist' description to the NAACP helm will have everyone giving Jealous a second look.

Another 'young, gifted and black' leader emerging from the Hip-Hop generation is noteworthy for the 99-year-old organization, which is historically controlled exclusively by elders in the community. One of the reasons the national organization makes so many decisions that seem out of touch.

What I notice is the Barack effect, a movement of younger, Ivy League educated blacks with a pinch of social justice taking these
seats of influence and power. Whether in public office, private business, or political advocacy it's happening (slowly but surely).

Will it change anything?

From L.A. Times:

Benjamin Todd Jealous, a graduate of Columbia University and a Rhodes scholar, will become the youngest leader in the 99-year history of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People.

"I'm excited to take the helm of the NAACP," he said. "I believe in the urgent need for strong civil rights institutions and strong black institutions in general."

The NAACP's 64-member board, however, was not united in its selection of Jealous. The vote, taken after an arduous eight-hour closed-door meeting that ended close to 3 a.m., came as some members complained that they were being shut out of the selection process.

Jealous received key support from NAACP board Chairman Julian Bond.

Besides his wealth of accomplishments, what caught my eye about Jealous was not his age. It was the fact that he was once a key player in African-American media as the former executive director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association/ Black Press of America (NNPA). The NNPA is
the largest association of publishers of black-oriented newspapers in the country with over 200-black owned papers under its umbrella.

It will be interesting to see if the NAACP will take a new position on issues from the substantive (felon voting rights) to the silly (burying the N-word) because of Jealous' generation perspective. Highly doubtful considering the organization is still controlled by its board, rank and file memberships and individual chapters.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ga. redneck selling Obama/Curious George t-shirts

Mike Norman, owner of Mulligan’s Bar and Grill in Cobb County, Ga., is selling t-shirts with a picture of Curious George peeling a banana with "Obama ‘08" underneath. So much for post-racial America.

My favorite line:

"We're not living in the (19)40's," he said. "Look at him . . . the hairline, the ears -- he looks just like Curious George."

According to this shit eating redneck, because we're in post-Civil Rights era, it is permissible to use old, ugly racial stereotypes. Get over it darkies!

Go here to read the article.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

LEO Elects...

After reporting on the Louisville appearances of both Hilary and Barack, Stephen George nails it with his observation for LEO's cover story.

By the way, LEO endorsed Barack, with a noted dissenting opinion from Sara Havens supporting Hilary.

Am I the only one who cringed at the cover art? Anyway, you should really pick up this week's issue. Especially to learn more about the most important election on May 20th, which is the Democratic primary race for U.S. Senate between Bruce Lunsford and Greg Fischer. Yes, it's a big Zzzzzz to most but is a preview to who'll face 'Son of a Mitch' in the general election. Oh, and I covered the 2nd and 6th district Metro Council races too.

From LEO:

Despite the Obama destiny, too many Democrats believe that Clinton still has some path to victory — other than, of course, this one: Enough superdelegates decide to go against the popular vote, the pledged-delegate count and, now, the pledged superdelegates, and nominate her. That is not math. That is a machine. It will reek of the 2000 election, of the politics of George W. Bush, and it will destroy the Democratic Party. - Stephen George

Face it Hilary supporters, the uppity colored boy from Kansas won. Burn your bras, but if your candidate attempts to overthrow or undermine Barack's nomination -- kiss the black and youth vote goodbye. Trust me, this new generation is aware of her Dixiecrat tactics. We'll stay home or vote for Cynthia McKinney.

It's sad really. For a generation black voters and white female voters have been the bedrock of the Democratic Party. I wish these two historic candidacies didn't occur simultaneously. I wish the two most important American social justice movements hadn't gotten into such a public political wreck. In the end, however, someone had to win. Might as well be Barack.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Hillary's white appeal

The black blogosphere is livid about Hilary Clinton's USA Today interview.

Even though Barack is leading in pledged delegates, popular votes, states won and -- according to ABC News -- superdelegates, his appeal isn't broad enough.

"Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me." - Sen. Hilary Clinton

As dnA from Jack&JillPolitics said, I guess the rest of us are sitting on the porch eating watermelon and plucking banjos.

Hilary's latest yardstick is no subtle dog whistle like her husbands, "Jesse Jackson won South Carolina" comment. This is a giant race-baiting bullhorn. Mike Barnicle got it right, Race Is All The Clintons Have Left.

From The Huffington Post:

Now, faced with a mathematical mountain climb that even Stephen Hawking could not ascend, the Clintons -- and it is indeed both of them -- are just about to paste a bumper sticker on the rear of the collapsing vehicle that carries her campaign. It reads: VOTE WHITE.
I'm not surprised. The history of the Black Freedom Struggle is never aligned permanently with any political party no matter how long voting trends last. Democrats return to their Dixiecrat roots when it fits their electoral needs. Here's the problem, Sen. Clinton (supporters).

From Steve M:

According to CNN's 1996 exit poll, Bill Clinton lost the white vote (Dole 46%, Clinton 43%, Perot 9%). He lost the white male vote by an even larger margin (Dole 49%, Clinton 38%, Perot 11%). And he lost gun owners badly (Dole 51%, Clinton 38%, Perot 10%). However, Clinton won the popular vote overall

In 2000 -- when Al Gore won the popular vote by half a million votes -- he lost white males to Bush by a whopping 60%-36%, according to CNN's exit poll. He lost men overall 53%-42%. He lost whites overall 54%-42%.

For the past forty years it has been common knowledge in American politics that Democrats cannot win the presidency without the black vote. Hilary's numbers have been Reaganesque. She's alienated that vote further. For a new generation of black voters with no agenda ties to the Democratic Party or the Clinton years, this is damning.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

What Use is a Black President?

Though Barack Obama's electoral support among black voters is cosseted between 85-90%, legitimate criticisms of him in the black public sphere is more common than one might think.

These opinions are muted for a variety of reasons. The avalanche of Obamania among black supporters -- which I participate in at times -- is a leading cause. It may have buried Tavis Smiley. Being the single greatest "positive" black male role model in U.S. history has been the black bourgeoisie's dream on how to crash the political glass ceiling. Watching Barack Obama can warm the heart of even the most racially paranoid black cynic.

Still, we rarely if ever hear critiques of Barack mainly because of the limited space afforded to only a handful of black thinkers. With fewer participants being solicited outside the usual punditry, views become easily sliced. If you criticize Barack, you must either support Hillary Clinton, John McCain or be a Barack hater. Those offering meaningful observations about the pitfalls of an Obama Presidency are generally unknown to the public.

One of my favorite Obama critics is political scientist Michael C. Dawson, author of the integral book, Black Visions: The Roots of Contemporary Political Ideologies. Dawson has written several stinging pieces on Barack and the black vote (see: He's Black and We're Proud), but his most recent article for The Root, End Games: How he black pawns got pushed off the board, should raise as many questions as it does eyebrows.

From The Root:

"Sen. Obama is playing his own brand of risky politics. As he works to maintain white support, he is forgetting his black base. Just a week ago he urged voters to "respect" a New York judge's racist verdict allowing the police killers of Sean Bell to walk. His message was not unlike Booker T. Washington's admonishment to black Atlantans a century ago to respect the law in the face of a deadly pogrom. Black rights were sacrificed in the name of electoral expediency. And Obama is resorting to the same expediency now...

Obama did not find it necessary to condemn a justice system that ­still
does not punish agents of the state who kill black men and women whose only crime is being black. (In Chicago we have had black women shot down in the same manner as Sean Bell.) I will not respect a verdict that once again demonstrates, all too clearly, the continued lack of full citizenship rights for black people in this country.

Like Booker T. Washington a century earlier, Obama chose to emphasize the need to be "calm" over expressing outrage at yet another deadly taking of black life. He, too, has taken the electorally "safe" road."

I've defended Barack when he's faced this type of criticism. No, I don't posit he's a radical in hiding (i.e. The Spook Who Sat by the Door). I recognize he's running for U.S. President, not Black Panther Party Chairman. We want him to deliver some militant quote because so much of black politics and leadership is based upon crucifying someone on a cross of rhetorical martyrdom. Whomever plays the dozens with white America the best is awarded with fond memories, usually posthumously.

Think about all the people who cheered Malcolm X during his auditorium speeches but never joined or volunteered to help his group, the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU). As The Last Poets rhymed, "they loved to hear Malcolm rap but they didn't love Malcolm."

It is paramount that Barack is pushed on urban policy issues more forcefully by black voters and scholars. Constituencies are obligated to do more than simply vote in the 90 percentile for a candidate, believing his or her office seat will equal liberation.

A review of the rise of black mayors showed us the pitfalls of relying on politicians to single-handedly fix collective, systemic, and behavioral problems. After hurricane Katrina, Jerry G. Watts wrote an open letter, "What Use Are Black Mayors?" that highlighted those false hopes.

From The Black Commentator:

"First and foremost, we need to bring under scrutiny all of those analytical paradigms that presume that blacks (always imagined as a collective horde) collectively gain political inclusion or incorporation when black elites enter the ranks of a city’s governing elite...

Part of the problem is that too many black political scientists continue to treat black elected officials as if they are part of an insurgent political formation. This is nonsense. Regardless of their rhetoric, black elected officials are, in varying degrees, part of the political establishment."

This is not about hating on Barack. It is about raising awareness to the importance of maneuvering pieces in the chess game known as American politics. I'm supporting Barack because he's a valuable piece on the board. No piece is worth losing the whole game. And as Dawson suggests, "The criticism of Senator Obama must continue when he takes positions that are detrimental to progressive causes and the black community."

Either play or get played.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The real Afri-Am connection to the KY Derby

Jimmy Winkfield atop Alan-A-Dale in the 1902 KY Derby victory

On Derby Eve, like everything else in America, we've forgotten the African-American origins of this 130 plus year racing tradition. Blame it on decades of racial discrimination that eventually excluded blacks from a sport in which they were commonplace. Call it a lazy reading of history by us all. For whatever reason, black folks have seemingly relinquished what goes on at Churchill Downs as a de facto "whites only" affair.

Not so!

Visit the KY Derby website here to learn more. Or read 'The Great Black Jockeys' by Edward Hotaling. Or order the KET episode, 'Black Jockeys: A Forgotten Legacy'.

My rant from LEO's "Run From the Roses: The Perfect Derby Issue":

"Being a child of the 1980s, born and raised in West Louisville, you might expect that my sole memories of the Kentucky Derby come from cruising on Broadway. And it’s true; I can’t recall anything noteworthy about the Chow Wagon or Churchill Downs.

Sadly, cruising — that now-defunct accumulation of spruced-up cars, family oriented vendors and wandering pedestrians that once filled Broadway — has voided an entire generation’s historical viewpoint of the Kentucky Derby’s relationship to African-Americans. Before black jockeys became a symbol of dehumanizing minstrelsy for the front lawn of many sophisticated rednecks, they were the premiere athletes of the late 19th century.

Shamefully, Oliver Lewis, who rode Aristides to victory in the inaugural Derby in 1875, is all but forgotten. Fewer still know about the 15-year-old phenomenon Alonzo “Lonnie” Clayton, who rode Azra to victory in 1892 — the youngest jockey to win a Kentucky Derby. If you’re lucky, Isaac Murphy, the greatest jockey of all time, who won three straight Derbys, makes the pop culture lexicon. Give credit to historians and the Kentucky Derby Museum for keeping them alive for posterity.

Fast forward more than 100 years.

Most of my peers’ anecdotes about this annual equine sprint are anchored to the good, bad and ugly happenings of cruising years past. Broadway is our Derby history archive.

Today, Lonnie Clayton is a 13-year-old kid dancing suggestively with a woman twice his age atop a car, her clothing suggesting she is an exotic dancer. His Aristides is a lime green candy-painted Impala.

I’m not particularly upset that cruising was aborted. Frankly, the arguments against it were better than the ones for keeping it. What I am bitter about is unimaginative city leaders and pigheaded hip-hoppers who have zero understanding of how the Kentucky Derby is related to the African-American community. That history is deep, rich and worth more than the embarrassing image of West Broadway abandoned on days designed to overflow the city with people."

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Wright Answer

Now that the Barack Obama/Jeremiah Wright relationship has become the new version of Malcolm & Martin (well, not exactly) we can look at the HNIC Syndrome of 2008 with new eyes.

From The Root:

"For a while at the National Press Club, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright was going along fine. But there was a point—and you can see it with the sound muted—where he started to answer questions and flew off the rails. I know a lot of Old Black Folks doing that Wright Thing: spouting off in public hoping that someone will hear and acknowledge their righteous outrage. He's that uncle at the church picnic who's telling it ALL. About everyone. Right or wrong. Loudly.

NOTE TO WRIGHT: Wrong picnic.

This is the problem with him and other Civil Rights Era Old School illuminati: they think it's all about them and their close-up, their message, consequences be damned. The Wright Thing of trying to jack the national stage is a recurring motif. Jeremiah Wright's most recent comments reveal that he thinks every lectern is a pulpit, every audience is a church congregation, and every sound-bite is a teaching moment."

Monday, April 14, 2008

Rep. Geoff Davis (R, KY-4): Obama a "boy"

Congratulations, Kentucky, one of the first stories to go national with the Bluegrass and 2008 presidential campaign headlined together is one of our U.S. Representatives using a racial codeword to describe Barack Obama.

At a Republican dinner, the Northern Kentucky’s Lincoln Day Dinner this past Saturday, Rep. Geoff Davis, whose district encompasses fringes of Louisville to the Cincinnati suburbs to the Kentucky-West Virginia border, raised a hypothetical scenario of a potential nuclear strike.

According to the 49-year-old Davis, the 46-year-old Barack is a "boy". The national blogs are all over this. KY's Page One has already weighed in saying, "Regardless of what Davis meant by his strange choice of words, “boy” is a racist code word."


"I'm going to tell you something: That boy's finger does not need to be on the button," Davis said. "He could not make a decision in that simulation that related to a nuclear threat to this country."

An aide to Davis, Jeremy Hughes, declined to comment on the remark, and didn't dispute the accuracy of the quote."
Note: Rep. Davis (b. Oct. 1958) is just three years older than Sen. Obama (b. Aug. 1961). What a difference three years make, boy!


That didn't take long.

Davis apologizes to Obama:

Congressman Geoff Davis has issued an apology for calling Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama a "boy" during a speech Saturday night in Boone County...

"I offer my sincere apology to you and ask for your forgiveness," Davis said. "Though we may disagree on many issues ... my comment has detracted from the dialogue we should all be having on legitimate policy differences and in no way reflects the personal and professional respect I have for you."

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What's Wrong With Obamamania?

On Louisville Live, my mentor, Dr. Ricky L. Jones appeared as a guest to talk about his new book, "What's Wrong With Obama-mania?: Black America, Black Leadership and the Death of Political Imagination". As always his analysis cuts through the fog of even the BarackSTAR movement.

Although I disagree with certain assessments -- such as the suggestion that the black electorate is voting for Barack mainly on the basis of race -- I will not reject or denounce him!

However, Dr. Jones is right about one thing. Most American voters know little about their candidates voting record (i.e. Hillary voted for the War in Iraq!) or campaign contributors. A bit of political maturity is necessary in democracy. So don't dumb it down, smarten it up.

The book drops June 15th, 2008. Pre-order your copy here. Maybe he'll let us preview an excerpt on the ol' SOULution.

Watch Dr. Jones on Louisville Live at the bottom.

But first, from The 'Ville Voice:

"[Dr.] Jones, who writes a column on race for LEO, believes African-Americans jumping on the bandwagon for Obama may be harboring unrealistic expectations — that many aren’t even looking at his policies and are voting for him just because he’s black. They’re buying into the charisma, he says, rather than public policy.

And he says that Obama’s campaign is viewed by some as evidence that racial problems are being wiped out in America, which is far from the truth.

“They’re getting better, but some people are saying that race problems are over with,” he told me. “That’s a dangerous idea.”

Don’t get the idea, from the book’s title, than Jones in any way opposes Obama’s candidacy. He says he’ll support the Democratic candidate, no matter who it is. But he warns that Obama is “not what a lot of people think he is. Change isn’t going to happen just because of him.”

Jones said he started working on the book last summer, expecting that Obama might be out of the race by February. Now that it looks like the race will go down to the wire, he’s hopeful the book will be a big seller. It will be distributed nationally and is published by SUNY Press..."

Monday, March 31, 2008

King James or King Kong?

We're a week late on the controversy over NBA phenomenon LeBron James being the first black man on the cover of Vogue with a supermodel Gisele Bundchen, but it' worth posting.

Is this legit or another example of racial paranoia? Perhaps a little bit of both.

Here's the thing. Many will highlight that fifty years ago this cover would have never happened in America. True enough. The question, however, remains, is this our vision of racial progress?

We have the first black man on the cover of Vogue and he's literally roaring at you like a Gorilla while clutching a white woman in his arms. My problem isn't with the interracial coupling, which some on both sides won't admit is what they're really bothered by.

However, one cannot deny that LeBron's photo is more beastial than other male athletes who've appeared before him on Vogue's cover. His savagery contrasted with her white femininity on its usual pedestal goes to directly to King Kong (2005).

I found its basic premise was a flick about a giant black guy in love or lust with a porcelain white woman. The scene where Kong is wrapped in chains on stage in New York City made up my mind. Jack Black's character says, "He was a king in his own land but here he is a captive." What demographic besides black men does that line fit historically?

From Black Voices:

In the cover shot, King James is posing with supermodel Gisele Bundchen clutching her waist and giving a scowl to the camera, baring his teeth. Some folks aren't happy about the cover, including columnist Jemele Hill who said the cover looks too stereotypical.

From, columnist Jemele Hill:

Vogue's quest to highlight the differences between superstar athletes and supermodels only successfully reinforces the animalistic stereotypes frequently associated with black athletes.

A black athlete being reduced to a savage is, sadly, nothing new. But this cover gave you the double-bonus of having LeBron and Gisele strike poses that others in the blogosphere have noted draw a striking resemblance to the racially charged image of King Kong enveloping his very fair-skinned lady love interest.

LeBron is just the third male ever to appear on Vogue's cover, but it's hard to believe Vogue would have made Brett Favre, Steve Nash or even David Beckham strike his best beast pose. And even if Vogue had, it wouldn't carry the same racial undertones as having a fear-inducing black man paired with a dainty damsel.

Too often, black athletes are presented as angry, overly aggressive and overly sexual. Or sometimes, they're just plain emasculated.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Message to the People on Obamania

We haven't blogged on Barack in awhile. Sorry.

So to catch up let's offer a perspective from one of Louisville's few public intellectuals. In this week's LEO, U of L professor and Pan-African Studies chair, Dr. Ricky L. Jones dropped his monthly column, 'Message to the People' addressing Barack's speech and the inevitable relationship to race in this historic campaign:

"Barack Obama’s March 18 speech in Philadelphia on race was inevitable. Try as he might, there was no way he could complete his presidential bid without facing the beast at some point. After video of controversial comments by his longtime Chicago pastor, Jeremiah Wright, were repeated ad nauseam by almost every major media outlet, Obama was forced into an almost impossible damage control balancing act.

He had to distance himself from Wright’s words without “rejecting and denouncing” his minister, as he did Louis Farrakhan in Ohio weeks earlier. He couldn’t completely and unapologetically pull Wright to his bosom, because many in white America wouldn’t accept it. Neither could he simply throw his pastor and mentor under the bus, because highly religious black America would then label him a political opportunist and turncoat."

For the rest, go here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Blackface Already? But It's Not Even Halloween Yet!

Spike Lee must be pissed!

From Soulbounce:

I give anyone reading this post 3 guesses as to which Black actor this is before proceeding onto the next line. A young Ben Vereen? No. An angry Will Smith? No. Lighter-skinned Don Cheadle? Umm...definitely not. Brace yourselves, y'all. This is none other than Academy Award winning actor and former multiple drug-abusing Robert Downey, Jr.

Apparently, Tropic Thunder, a new movie featuring Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey, Jr., is slated as an "epic action comedy" whose trailer will debut in theaters March 17th...and so close to St. Patrick's Day at that! Downey's character in the movie is not surprisingly an Oscar-winning actor who is cast in a Vietnam War-era movie within this movie in a role originally written specifically for a Black actor. But thanks to the wonders of makeup and current wig technology, Downey transforms into...Poof! A Black Man! And according to Ben Stiller, test audiences seemed to "really embrace it."

I don't even know where to begin with this one, folks. I mean, I thought the ridiculousness of C. Thomas Howell in Soul Man was well behind us and just a bad 80's flashback, but apparently some people still find mockery of Black culture an expense they are willing to bear.
I keep telling folks we're this close to having a Bamboozled television show.

The movie is called Tropic Thunder, an action-comedy about three actors filming a movie about the Vietnam War. Co-star Ben Stiller said Robert Downey, Jr's blackface character is satirizing over-the-top actors, not African-Americans.

Okay, Ben. We shall see.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

More blacks in KY prisons -- who knew?

"Honey, I thought Obama's candidacy ended racism?!?"

The C-J ran a piece of the racial disparities in Kentucky prisons. Look at the numbers in Jefferson County (Metro Louisville), where black folk make up 57% of the people sent to the state prisons but only only 20 percent of the counties population. Other counties like Kenton and Daviess have a much worse ratios.

"Marc Mauer, executive director of the Washington-based National Sentencing Project...said that while both whites and blacks use illegal substances, blacks are arrested and incarcerated more frequently, as law enforcement tends to focus more resources on the low-income, minority community."

The good news? Mauer said the Bluegrass is below the national average. Here blacks are only 5x times more likely to be incarcerated than whites. The national average is 5.6x -- hooray for .6%, keep hope alive!

The Bill Cosby/O'Reilly crowd will cite parenting, personal responsibility and ghetto values as the culprit. And undoubtedly that's at play. Not every imprisoned black person is Mumia.

I happen to agree with Michael Eric Dyson, however, who says though they're not all political prisoners their incarceration is certainly politicized. Especially in KY where felon's voting rights are constitutionally denied unless restoration is signed by the governor.

So much for rehabilitation.

Alas, progressives use a lot academic buzzwords like socioeconomic status, institutional racism and prison industrial complex. They just don't have the same rallying affects as Cosby's ignorant rants of black stereotypes.

Until then...listen to Lupe

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Yeah he's frustrated. But at least he's not going to cry

Hat tip to Jack & Jill Politics for their "Making Obama The Angry Black Man" entry. The aftermath of the pissing contest at the last Democratic debate on CNN is clear, the new strategy from Clinton & Clinton is to poke Obama and then call him "frustrated" (i.e. angry) for responding.

From TPM Election Central:

"I think what we saw last night is that he's very frustrated," Hillary said at a press conference this morning in Washington. "The events of the last ten or so days, particularly the outcomes in New Hampshire and Nevada, have apparently convinced him to adopt a different strategy." She then added that Obama came to the debate "looking for a fight."

I told everyone last year that the subtext of Obama's candidacy was eventually going to turn him into the next Emmitt Till.