Monday, July 26, 2010

Neo-Nazis and Aryans Taking Over Where Tea Baggers Leave Off?

In this climate of the resurgence of hate and racism, America may be returning to its post-Civil War roots. The impetus is namely the excuse that America has its first president of African descent. There was a white pride march this past spring in downtown Jackson, Mich., whose goal was to “fight for the rights of whites.”

Although we have seen the rallies fostered by the Tea Baggers, there are even more substantially dreaded events scheduled to occur in the coming months. The Georgi-based League of the South has scheduled its 2010 national conference for the 8th and 9th of October at the Atlanta Airport Hilton. Founded in 1994, the League of the South is a neo-Confederate group that advocates for a second Southern secession and a society dominated by “European Americans.”

This Saturday, there will be an Aryan Nations rally at Gettysburg National Military Park. At this event, the members will be allowed to carry firearms on park grounds, under a new federal law that took effect in February. Gordon Young, who leads the Maryland chapter of the organization, has said the group intends to bring two rifles to "protect" the group's national director Paul Mullet. Young, the former head of the World Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, was recently arrested on a statutory rape charge.

In addition, just this week in Arizona, members of the Neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement led by J. T. Ready and Harry Hughes have started patrolling the Pinal County and Mexican border armed with assault rifles. Ready, who has a criminal record, was also court-martialed twice and kicked out of the U.S. Marine Corps.

This is a troubling period in America. While the fringe hate groups and political extremists in white America continue to spew vitriol, many African Americans remain unconcerned and uninformed of the threat that we actually may be facing. We have elected the first African American president in U.S. history, but it seems that after the inauguration, many of us have left Obama out to dry with our reduced activism and support after he was in office. Will we recognize these threats and become more involved beyond voting and maintain our political vigor, or will we define this historical outcome with our inactivity?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Quasi-Intellectuals That Happen to Be Black But Work for Whites

In theory, an intellectual is one whose devotion is directed toward the exercise of intellectual pursuits. Intellectual, a word that stems from the Latin, means one who studies, reflects or speculates.

African American culture is replete with a history of scholars and intellectuals. These include the self-taught astronomer and mathematician Benjamin Banneker, Frederick Douglass, George Washington Carver, Carter G. Woodson, Paul Robeson and W.E.B. Du Bois. Recent history includes many from the ranks of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, Benjamin E. Mays, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Ivan Van Sertima and Cheikh Anta Diop.

Since the latter group, there has been a major drop off. As a scientist and professor at Emory University, it was rare that I would see others that indulged in academia to the extent of conducting research that focused specifically on African Americans, especially in my area of behavioral epidemiology and disease. However, the few that do exist often go unnoticed in the eyes of the masses.

Today there are many African Americans who claim to be intellectuals, but they are really pseudo intellectuals who think of themselves as better than the people in the communities from which they come. They promote themselves more than the needs of others. Harold Cruse first noted this in his 1967 treatise "The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual."

His premise is that most African American intellectuals are from the middle-class, which often functions to separate it from its historical mission — helping African Americans as a collective rather than individuals. Since Africans in America have had limited control over their political and economic lives, we should develop our own intellectual standards. However, this has not been the case with individuals such as Tavis Smiley, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Shelby Steele, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Niger Innis, Jeff Johnson and many others.

These individuals represent a small corpus of media and self-proclaimed "experts" and "specialists" on African American culture and consequently Representatives of the people. They proclaim via rhetorical and pedantic proclamations to understand every issue regarding race and culture, even if it has to be manipulated to match the audience they are addressing.

In many instances, the key of discussion is premised on issues associated with racial injustice under the guise of social, political and economic equality. I guess this is why they are paraded on the media so frequently since most such oral dissertations are polemic and aggressive refutation of the opinions of another and not rooted on causation.

The African American intellectual is a dying breed and what is often passed off as representatives of this group are merely polemics that claim to advance the philosophies engendered during the Civil Rights Movement, while their singular goal differs extremely from the views of Martin L. King Jr. or Malcolm X. Unlike these and the aforementioned men, they are disingenuous centrists who favor individual vanity, fame and success over the well-being of the larger corpus of African Americans who bear the brunt of all forms of injustice in the United States today.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Afraid to Live But Not Afraid to Die: The Autobiography of Young Black Men

I often wonder what has changed to make folks, especially African American men, less concerned, apathetic and even irresponsible about their lives. The behaviors we display are not productive, and the things we do — from fighting, to not knowing how to use a belt, to making it rain in strip clubs, to gang culture makes me ask: Are black men afraid to live more than they are afraid to die? Biggie, now deceased, said it best with his Ready to Die album.

I ask this in all sincerity in an age where it appears that a large corpus of young black males would rather take the easy way out, denigrate the importance of education and think of all outcomes in terms of money, yet not show any penchant to work for what they want. I do not know if it a sign of the times, or the veneration of a culture that reveals drug dealing and making music about sordid topics more than the sustainable values of family and self-determination.

From ghetto street fights on Youtube to videos that display women as being nothing more than meat, many of us promote this under the guise of "keeping it real." We have more knowledge about the mundane than that which may assist our personal growth and development. We can make time to know about Lil Wayne but nothing else of substance.

Why? I cannot answer that question. Maybe it is easy to look at that which affects us the most or least in the form of media and parental influences. From clubbing to our concern for designer clothes and Air Force Ones, young males value a host of "things" more than intellectual development in an environment of an excessively sexually degenerate culture. Ours is a problematic state of being, for we lack knowledge of self, which is what causes us to participate in our own self-destruction. Maybe that is why we sing and have the bling-bling but no books.

Yes, I may be wrong in my terse examination of the state of young African American males, but I will state what I think is an objective reality. Gone it appears are the days of children wanting to be professionals and valuing education. This is the autobiography of young black men today, many are afraid to live but even more are not afraid of dying.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

African American-Owned Businesses Affected by Oil Spill in Gulf

The massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico is finally reaching the shores of the Gulf Coast, in what many have called the worst environmental disaster since the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska. Not only does it have the potential to threaten hundreds of species of fish, birds and other wildlife in the area, but more importantly the livelihood of many who make a living fishing in the nation's richest seafood region.

More than 200,000 gallons of oil a day have been spewing into the ocean since British Petroleum's Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank off the Louisiana coast last week. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stated that BP, is "the responsible party" according to U.S. law and is "required to fund the cost of cleanup operations." In fact, in a letter sent last year to the Department of the Interior, the oil giant objected to what it described as "extensive, prescriptive regulations" proposed for more rigorous safety standards stating. "We believe [the] industry's current safety and environmental statistics demonstrate that the voluntary programs … continue to be very successful."

Last year, BP made more than 40 billion in profits yet paid no taxes in the United States.

This oil spil could not have come at a more significant time given that just a few weeks ago President Obama asked Congress
to lift a drilling ban in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, 125 miles from Florida beaches and called for new offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean from Delaware to central Florida.

President Barack Obama has pledged "every single available resource" to deal with the situation and called the leak a "spill of national significance,"

The real threat is to thousands of independent African American and small businesses in the region that make a living via fishing and tourism. If there is a significant reduction in the oyster, shrimp and fish populations, which has been in decline anyway over the past decade, it may signal an end to the livlihoods of many.

In Louisiana for example, 12 percent of all businesses are owned by African Americans with coastal cities like Baton Rouge having 17 percent black-owned business, most in the fishing and tourism industries. The same can be said of Mobile, Ala., where 14.8 percent of business are black-owned compared to 9 percent for the state of Alabama. If this problem is not under control soon, many family owned and small African American businesses in the Gulf region may not survive.