Monday, January 31, 2011

Over 20 Sheriff's Units Respond To Violent Black Brawl; AT CHURCH

A holy brawl breaks out during church - CBS 42 Birmingham, AL News ...

The Garbage we Call Urban Media and radio

My uncle once told me “sometimes what we don’t do is just as important as what we do.” I have taken this axiom to heart for most of my adolescent and adult life. I take it to mean that opportunity is a two-sided street of either seizing the moment versus being blinded by myopia and ignorance.

I am reminded of this often. As I read the Turkish daily News, the New York Times, the the Jerusalem Post and even the Atlanta Journal Constitution, information of a worldly nature is flowing. Writers write in tune with the global nature of both our world and being. But when I scan the topics provided by urban media and radio, I do not see such and only seem to scroll through mundane subject matter that can only be manifested w a concern with celebrity and entertainment.

I say this because it is day 7 of the protest occurring in Egypt against the autocratic regime of Hosni Mubarak and if one reads the Urban Grind, Bossip, Concret Loop, or watch BET or listen to any radio station with the mantra of “hot”, you will be lucky to see one article or hear one news brief on this historical event. Not one single article or discussion on what is occurring right now in North Africa, or insight concerning its relations to past revolt in Africa or what impact or meaning it has for African Americans. This is a completely different urban media than in the past. Now it is more interested in promoting the snake oil and chicanery of gossip and celebrity idolization – go figure.

Although urban by definition comes from the Latin word urbanus referring to cities, it has been reduced to a catch all for minority inhabited areas – mainly African American. And those that claim the mantel of being urban media outlets proclaim the delusive semblance of representing and well-being of said communities actually do not and impose more harm than good.

The sad reality is that these organizations have other interest as their priority and have mutated to something caustic, failing the standards of information outlets of past that lived and promoted social responsibility with passion and duty.

True, I write for a living and times have changed but the same struggle and needs of the past still remain. Unfortunately, many of my peers see avarice, greed and denseness as what is paramount and important more so than self determination and or collective social accountability. Supposedly astute in letters, most likely they could not delineate Henry Dumas for Alexander Dumas, Samori Toure from Sekou Toure, and Euclid’s theory from Maxwell’s theory (electromagnetism), a future from an option or a debt from a deficit.

This is just an example for topics as what is occurring in Egypt, or anything worldly is considered “outside” of their demographic. They do however, write incessantly on topics ranging from how many times Gucci Mane has been arrested, Basketball wives and how many baby momma’s Lil Wayne has but nothing on Mumia Abu Jamal in contrast or what China/US talks mean for African Americans. But what is to be expected reading E.Lynn Harris has been replaced with reading Richard Wright or a Letter from a Birmingham jail. I guess it should be anticipated. Today, many of us have never lived outside the US, let alone Africa or speak multiple languages.

Yes, I know, why read Condoleezza Rice’s latest book when we can attend to gossip, celebrity, fame and watching BET is more important. BET, that’s another story, claiming to be a television station but doesn’t have a morning or evening news program – they say such is not their demographic. People who desire to be informed are not in their demographic. I cannot answer my question but I can say that such is garbage when you think of that in comparison the proportion of Africa Americans living in poverty, infants dying before the age of one, incarceration rates, school dropout rates and illiteracy, unemployment figures or rates of HIV/AIDS among us.

Today unlike the past, nonsense is given predicate over value. Again, I guess it is to be expected. The inaction of urban media and radio gives definition to Harriet Tubman’s statement. “I freed thousands of slaves. I could have freed thousands more if they had known they were slaves.”

For me it means I (Information) before E) Entertainment except after C (consciousness.)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Obama’s Arabian Dreams (Nightmares)

I heard it mentioned during his state of the union address, how Obama alluded to Tunisia and Egypt in a backhanded way - saying we support democracy everywhere people call for such This is safe and as some would say “all good” but do we really? Specifically the Obama administration or is it just rhetoric promulgated in the kvetching of votes for an upcoming election?

I can’t answer that but it is my perception that America does not and what we see occurring in the Arab world places new definition to the biblical statement of “a measure of wheat for a penny” and how this single sentiment in addition to the US position in the region can topple a government. Sure we saw turmoil in Turkey, Ireland, Brittan and France but these homogenous democratic governments saw disruption based on falling economic systems. In North Africa and the Arab world what we are observing is a function of food and despotism, totalitarian rule and the simple desire to provide for one’s family and live as a free thinking individual. This is completely different from what we observed in Europe.

In fact it could be argued that we, America has created this monster and it may reflect bad about how we go about democracy building around the world. We take the approach of overthrowing an established government and then installing our own and call it nation building. The problem is that true nation building can only occur from the citizenry. WE have created a monster, all these years, we have stood by and support tyrants who never supported democratic rule for our own purpose of a so-called peace with Israel or our war on the emotion terror.

Zine el Abidine Ben Ali had ruled for 23 years before he had to flee Tunisia. Hosni Mubarak has ruled Egypt for three decades. Hypothetically if a take-over occurs, it will prevent Mubarak from handing power down to his son. I figure the US believes the hype regarding the Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) that they possibility they may fill the leadership void. After all, we all know Hamas is the Palestinian wing of the Muslim brotherhood.

Again, we have created this problem and the unfortunate thing is that Obama via consequences will have to deal with new threats to stabilization in the region. If Egypt falls then there will be no peace in Israel. More dangerous is what will happen if Yemen falls. In Sana, at least 10,000 protesters led by gathered at Sana University and thousands more in other parts of the small Arab nation. And more gathered elsewhere, participants, lawmakers and activists reached by telephone said. Many carried pink banners and wore pink headbands. The situation in Yemen is a lot more dangerous than in any other Arab country. If it becomes unstable, being the new foundation for al Qaeda, it may become another Somali. And just yesterday, we saw massive protest in Amman, Jordan.

All in all America politics is seeing the outcome of its mis-directed approach to foreign policy and it is a shame that it has to manifest during the watch of Obama. For years US foreign policy in the Middle East and Arabian Peninsula has pushed, unwittingly in our special rakish way, what we say we do not desire – Arab radicalization. And we did this by ignoring our own values and democratic principles. We ignored the Palestinian problem, supported for years unconditionally the oppression of citizens by autocratic rulers via our interest in a war on terror and an artificial peace for Israel. Now we have what we created, folks that hate us even more since all these places are run for now by Western supported leaders.

DISTURBING: Chemical Test in Gulf show residents Bleeding from Ears via contaminated seafood

Monday, January 24, 2011

I Remember a King - do You?

The African American community has changed significantly since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and not for the better.

Segregation has ended, and we can live in predominantly white communities if we choose to and our children can attend integrated schools, but systemically our situation is worse.

There are more single head of household families now than in King's era, and education, which used to be observed as a revolutionary act, is no longer sacred or seen as essential or momentous. Our self-centered worlds are what we are concerned about, and consequently, we perceived them as being of more value than community. We talk about community responsibility as having axiological pre-eminence, but do not walk the walk.

Currently, what we own, who we know, where we live and other aspects of materialism are more paramount than what we know or how we treat others. We even roll up and compact into our little shells as turtles do when others we know as our intellectual superiors inform or take us to task on how we live our lives or our behavior. Lewdness and shallowness are exalted while education and illumination are frowned upon.

Yes, times have changed. Celebrity and fame are held in high regard and young people tend to be rappers, actors and athletes when once they were Martin Luther King Jr., H. Rap Brown, Malcolm X or the Black Panthers. Now, fewer African American men are completing high school than during the time of MLK or segregation. There were even more black-owned businesses then than there are now.

But who am I to speak? I remember the day MLK was murdered in my hometown of Memphis, Tenn., and the night before meeting him as a child at my friend’s father’s church. I also recall seeing National Guard jeeps on my street in front of my home and being told I couldn’t play outside. I remember my mom calling home saying Dr, King was dead and that he had been driven to her hospital in a Colonial Bread truck to protect his body from angry white folks. I remember; the problem is that most who will read this do not. This is the problem and why we do more harm in our selfish ways than good, and will continue to do so.

Friday, January 21, 2011

What China-US Talks Mean for African Americans

If you ask the average African American about China, they will probably say very little with the exception of the query, why do they own the neighborhood soul food restaurant. If you asked what impact does US-China relations have on them, you may draw a quixotic stare, as I did recently.

This week, China’s President Hu JinTao was in the United States for the first time since 2006 to meet with President Barack Obama. The goal I suspect based on the needs of the United states, the Economic tension with China and other concerns is to both reframe and redefine the relationship between the US and China. So far so good, Already Obama has encouraged the President to acknowledge that China has a long way to go with respect to human rights as well as secured $45 billion in investments from the nation. Add to that, the announcement affirming energy deals that will engender partnerships with US and Chinese energy companies to develop clean energy.

But what of importance for me is to discern how these efforts will impact the African American community and what does it mean for us? What I can surmise thus far is that if we are to benefit equally from interaction between these two nations, we must get our stuff in order. First, it means that we will have to become financially literate. Most of us do not know anything about the Yuan, let alone exchange rates and currency markets periods as it relates to the dollars in our pocket or our economic bottom line personally.

It also asserts that we need to become innovative as a community to take advantage of any opportunities that may engender due to stronger US-China economic interaction. This mean making our children learn Mandarin, study harder, and focus on the sciences and math as opposed to sports or music. Otherwise we will not be in a position to take advantage of the skills required to go after the marginal dollars in available in these areas around the world.

Looking at it logistically, the only other option for us will be to join the military if we don’t, for unlike China, that’s where a large corpus of US spending is directed. The Chinese spend billions around the world on natural Resources to expand and sustain their manufacturing base while we spend the same amount on funding two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Education and immigration issues will be of major importance for the Obama administration and African Americans need to push for changes that will enhance both. Mathematically, we need to be able to sell things and services and skills if we are to move forward on an equal economic footing. We are a nation of 300 million compared to 1.3 billion in china – we need to be involved in this market. Thus, the importance of education specifically for African Americans and all Americans for that matter cannot be overlooked. The deal with energy companies mentioned earlier mainly deals with developing carbon capturing technologies and clean coal technology. And frankly, we will miss the boat if we do not engage in these areas and understand what is at stake for us.

Plain and simple, many of us write off the importance of understanding the china-US relationship yet wonder why we maintain the same economic status as a community decade after decade. If we truly desire to reap the benefits of an African American President, then we need to study policy and make it work for us and stop kvetching about things that are not really that important.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dear Mr. Neal Boortz

Last week I read the opinion of Mr. Neal Boortz regarding ‘three-fifths’ in your Saturday Jan. 8, 2011 edition. Boortz is both right and wrong when he states “there was no mention of race and no suggestion that anyone counted as three-fifths of a human being” in the constitution. But given his pedantic nature and reference to the Philadelphia Convention of 1787, one anticipates only a self-litigious churl would not have read or discussed the letters of the participants citing race and the slave trade in their positions.

Monday July 9, 1787 for example, New Jersey Attorney General William Patterson protested the rule of wealth and property since slaves were property fearing that this proposal by southern states would further encourage the slave trade giving the south more power. The slave trade was not in Europe but in Africa – a fact Mr. Boortz ignores. James Madison of Virginia blunted Patterson position and wrote in his letters specifically the phrases “white and black inhabitants.” Not to mention that Alexander Hamilton wrote specifically of the role “blacks” should play in representation.

It was thus written July 12, 1987 when a convention majority voted to sanction southern states noting “a black slave” as being both property and three-fifths of a “free white person.”

I also read the Times opinion article he referenced titled “the United States Consti…tion” Mr. Boortz I take it only reads the portions he likes.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hip Hop and Snake Oil

Once upon a time there was an expressive and grass roots form of music that emerged from the streets of urban areas across America. This music was called hip-hop and its culture was centered on the lyrical mastery of emcees. Now, hip-hop has become a body of phony individuals — mostly male — that prefer to indulge in make believe rhetoric that is fostered by ignorance and a poor understanding of history. One example is the incessant reference to the "Illuminati," a secret and historical organization that many artists have no understanding of or ever read about.

Historically, the word is of Greek origin and was a reference to all who submitted to Christian baptism. Those who were baptized were called "illuminati" or "enlightened ones.” The Alumbrados, a mystical 16th-century Spanish sect, were among the societies that subsequently adopted the name illuminati. Finally, it was employed to represent a secret society founded by Adam Weishaupt who desired to replace religion with rational thought.

In concert with groups like the Council of Rome, the Bilderburgers, and the Trilateral Commission, the illuminati’s single aim was to acquire wealth, power and influence, while developing a "New World” order free of religion. The easiest way to accomplish this goal was via the United States, its Constitution, world wars and world governmental organizations, in order to have total control of global monetary systems.

The query remains how does this concept relate to modern hip-hop music and the artists that proclaim their affiliation with this society? For starters, artists from Waka Flocka to Jay-Z do not understand what illuminati was about. Their knowledge appears to be in the form of metaphorical symbolism. Are these artists atheists socialists, or fascists as the organizations founder, Dr. Weishaupt? Are they working behind the scenes to take over the world secretly, or connected to the Knights Templar?

I suggest they are not. For these artists the term is just a tool to make money. Artists such as Jay-z, Lil Wayne and Nas are merely puppets used by the illuminati. Moreover, the rappers use the Illuminati as a form of snake oil, just to sell more records. The fact is that if you ask any one of them about the history behind the illuminati, they would not be able to tell you jack — maybe with the exception of Tupac Shakur.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Autocratic Hustler's of His-Story

In this age of political correctness, something is wrong and I think it is me. Or maybe, just maybe it is not me but rather jongleurs like Gary Black, a Georgia Republican who serves as agricultural commissioner and Alan Gribben, a professor of English at Auburn University Montgomery.

Strange it seems that as me, they are men born and bred in the deep and dirty south. Although we claim as home the same region of this great nation, I remain proud while the aforementioned churls appear to have a similar collective unconscious, to use a phrase coined by Jung to suggest embarrassment and cowardice. Yes my ancestors were the descendants of slaves and the original people who populated these shores prior to illegal aliens from Europe arrival to our nation, murdering them and providing them with blankets infected with small pox courtesy of General Amherst.

Obvious Black and Gribben have a katzenjammer and are ashamed and rightly so of their collective historical reality, and like a child, they want to hide it as if they were placing their hands over their eyes in a false effort not to be seen. Black, a former agribusiness lobbyist and good ole boy pal to Gov. Sonny Perdue and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagal, wants to remove murals of slaves harvesting sugarcane on a Georgia Plantation and picking cotton removed from the state building where his office is located. Why, because he doesn’t like them. I guess in his myopia slaves were never in Georgia let alone used to pick cotton in his home of Commerce, Georgia. I find this strange since Black openly voiced support for the stars and bars to remain of the Georgia state flag and protested vehemently against Martin Luther King’s Holiday just as loud as Nathan Deal and former Governor Roy Barnes.

Gribben likewise, seems to be of the same fabric, since he has unilaterally decided to reword or better yet re-write historical fiction by replacing the n-word, half breed and injun Joe with slave, half blood and Indian Joe in mark Twain’s historical Masterpiece Huck Finn. This to me hides the historical truths of the 1840’s Mississippi Valley reality of Missouri. Why not native American Joe? American slavery was based on race and slave singularly doesn’t show the actual perceptions of the time period.

But who am I as a writer and scholar to question these men? I would say a proud American, who would question Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour when he said the civil rights era was not that bad and that the White Citizens Council did good – when it was formed ex post facto Brown Versus Board of Topeka for its segregation ruling.

I have seen pictures of lynchings and burnings of black men in front of crowds of whites, it is history and essential. Unfortunately, if autocratic hustlers of History the likes of Barbour, Black and Gribben had their way, we would have know knowledge of such for wuss-like sensationalism is more important than fact or truth. Orwell was correct when he wrote “in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”