A discussion of race, politics, media and the like… What I see is what you get.

Posts tagged “African American

Drug Bust

Great article from Charles Blow of the New York Times. I couldn’t agree more. To me this just shows how policies wrapped up in racially coded language and executed in a racist manner, where politicians only weigh what is politic rather than what is right leads us to where we are now. Say nothing about the prison-industrial complex and the prison lobby that manages to privatize prisons for profit and pay to influence legislatures.

I guess you get what you pay for…

And no group has been more targeted and suffered more damage than the black community. As the A.C.L.U. pointed out last week, “The racial disparities are staggering: despite the fact that whites engage in drug offenses at a higher rate than African-Americans, African-Americans are incarcerated for drug offenses at a rate that is 10 times greater than that of whites.”An effort meant to save us from a form of moral decay became its own insidious brand of moral perversion — turning people who should have been patients into prisoners, criminalizing victimless behavior, targeting those whose first offense was entering the world wrapped in the wrong skin. It feeds our achingly contradictory tendency toward prudery and our overwhelming thirst for punishment. – Charles Blow

via Drug Bust – NYTimes.com.


Princeton Professor Dr. Cornel West (interviewed by Tavis Smiley)

His critique is and has always been…legitimate. You cannot argue with his point of view…


Princeton professor Dr. Cornel West | Tavis Smiley | PBS.

Center for American Progress | Nothing Personal

Reminds me of Cornel West’s latest policy critique of the President… I concur.

Nothing Personal.

Obama and Black Americans: the Paradox of Hope

I support the President. I believe in Hope and Change we can believe in. I campaigned and walked city streets in 2008. And I will vote for him again in 2012. Let’s be clear… I’m not a registered Republican hiding in the cloak of conservatism or acting like I’m an independent. I support the President and my critique doesn’t come from the mindset of nullification or reflexive disagreement for any and everything the President does. They are haters… I am not. Critique does not equal haterade.
Too much of the heat coming from the Chris Hedges piece is focused on the personal rift between West and Obama and not enough on the policy critique that actually is more of a focus of the piece. This Gary Younge post discusses a point of view that is not getting the media attention that is emanating from the discussion of Cornel West’s critique of the President… Let’s talk about it…

“…the post–civil rights era concept of corporate diversity, which many black people have embraced, is central to his symbolism. Racial advancement is increasingly understood not as a process of social change but of individual promotion—the elevation of black faces to high places. Instead of equal opportunities, we have photo opportunities. “We have more black people in more visible and powerful positions,” Angela Davis told me before Obama’s nomination. “But then we have far more black people who have been pushed down to the bottom of the ladder….There’s a model of diversity as the difference that makes no difference, the change that brings about no change.” – Gary Younge

Obama and Black Americans: the Paradox of Hope | The Nation.

Attacks on Cornel West Highlight Class Divide Among African Americans

I found this interview between Sam Seder and Professor Eddie Glaude so fascinating. If you don’t do anything else please listen to this interview and note the points that Glaude makes about the difference in Cornel West’s personal feelings of deception and his very valid policy critiques of the Obama administration. I also found it worth noting that Sedar makes the case that West’s critiques mirror those of former Treasury Secretary Robert Reich but Reich doesnt get the label of “hater” and how on the right The Tea Party has the room, politically, to hold Republicans accountable to what I would consider harmful policies, but they are allowed to hold their politicians accountable and it seems that type of room is not permitted on the Left by progressives and the poor. Please hear this interview… Click the link below:

The Majority Report (Sam Seder interviews Professor Eddie Glaude)

This is a very touchy area, one I’ve discussed recently as a guest of Mark Thompson on “Make It Plain,” a progressive radio show on Sirius XM. African-American callers responded by talking about their personal pain over Obama’s economic policies and wanting to push him, yet feeling compelled to defend him as America’s first black president — and not quite knowing how to do both. Every caller made clear that this is a real, visceral problem.

It’s also notable that, as always, class is still the dividing line. The most heated defense of Obama in the black online community seems to come from high-status professionals (or students studying for high-status jobs), people who see him as a peer. The people who called into Mark’s show? They’re living from paycheck to paycheck. That perspective makes a difference.

Sam Seder discussed this today with Eddie Glaude, chair of the the Center for African-American Studies and the William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African-American Studies at Princeton University, and they address West’s statements. (Seder points out several times that West’s remarks sound identical to those made by Robert Reich.)

But see, white people don’t have the same type of emotional connection with a black president as black folks, and on this issue, I come from a place of privilege. I’m disgusted by the right wing racism and call it when I see it, but as a white progressive, I also feel perfectly entitled (key word “entitled”) to criticize Obama’s policies. Obviously, many black Americans don’t, and Professor Glaude pointed out that they should do the same thing we did under George Bush: Organize and push the policy to the left.

Scholar Cornel West’s scathing critique of President Obama’s liberal bona fides in a series of recent interviews has ignited a furious debate among African American bloggers and commentators.

The well-known Princeton professor and author, who has released rap albums and starred in Hollywood films, supported Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign but now calls the president a “black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats.”

“I was thinking maybe he has at least some progressive populist instincts that could become more manifest after the cautious policies of being a senator,” West told Chris Hedges in an interview for the liberal political blog Truthdig.

Focusing on Obama and race, West said: “I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men . . . It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white. He is just as human as I am, but that is his cultural formation.”

White House officials declined to respond to West’s remarks, which have sparked a hot conversation this week. And Obama aides have have been content to allow others to take up the president’s defense.

Several commentaries from African American scholars and bloggers have particularly disputed West’s take on Obama and race.

Melissa Harris-Perry, a Princeton professor of African American studies and politics, wrote a column for the Nation calling West’s comment “utter hilarity coming from Cornel West who has spent the bulk of his adulthood living in those deeply rooted, culturally rich, historically important black communities of Cambridge, MA and Princeton, NJ. . . . Harvard and Princeton are not places that are particularly noted for their liberating history for black men.”

Imani Perry (no relation), also a professor at the Princeton Center for African American Studies and a former professor of law at Rutgers, defended West on Twitter this week:

Cornel West opened the space. Period. And in my tradition we respect elders, period. Disagreement can be consistent w/that. And I can’t stand “piling on” attacks. Debate, dialogue, don’t mob!

As a student, Cornel West modeled 4 me, commitments 2 the poor and marginal AND scholarly excellence. Amazing footsteps. Required courage.

West has an impressive body of rigorous brilliant scholarly work that even many academics aren’t aware of. But he always has kept connections with regular folks outside of camera view. That’s really rare.

So…It saddens me that many ppl who attack him (or silently cosign) are the explicit beneficiaries of his advocacy and kindness. He has done so much for so many that folks don’t know about. And never asks anything in return. so, agree, disagree, whatever, but respect. – Susie Madrak

Attacks on Cornel West Highlight Class Divide Among African Americans | Crooks and Liars.

Marian Wright Edelman: Voting Rights Under Attack

At the signing of the historic Voting Rights Act on August 6, 1965 striking down the discriminatory practices many states had put in place to prohibit Blacks from exercising their right to vote, President Lyndon B. Johnson said, “Today is a triumph for freedom as huge as any victory that has ever been won on any battlefield.” Many Americans think of the fight for voting rights as a struggle that was settled once and for all during the Civil Rights Movement in that celebrated “triumph for freedom,” and is now a piece of history. But that’s a dangerous assumption. While the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting laws prohibit discrimination based on race, sex, language, ethnicity, religion and age, there is still no law that affirmatively guarantees citizens the right to vote. Just as we are experiencing a quiet but systematic rise in school segregation across the country, many people don’t realize that there is once again a quiet but systematic movement that would deny many African Americans and other American citizens the ability to vote with 21st century versions of old exclusionary practices. – Marian Wright Edelman

Marian Wright Edelman: Voting Rights Under Attack.

What America Means When It Asks For Your Papers

Racism, as seen in 2011. No N-word necessary. Racism was never soley about a slur.
Racism = Prejudice + Power…

A MUST READ article.

Jonathan Blanks reflects on the history of black disenfranchisement, coining his “new nigger rule” inspired by comedian Paul Mooney:

A NNR is a legal or administrative procedure which is enforced with benign pretense, yet has the demonstrable effect of abetting racism, prejudice, or otherwise just screwing the black guy. Historical examples include, but are not limited to, the Grandfather Clause, poll taxes, and literacy/constitutional knowledge tests to vote. -Adam Serwer

I would love to hear your comments on this one…

What America Means When It Asks For Your Papers.