“It’s so amazing to me that so many of us speak of unity, yet we are to assume we know what is meant by unity and unification. The word is never clearly defined by the user. In the between time, there is a mean spirited tone to the discussion that should be avoided if we are truly in process of unifying. This is based on my own definition of the word.” Bro. Amenta
This is part of a comment by my Bro. Amenta on a previous post. He and I agree on the fallacy of black unity that is preached by the majority of Black people. At the very least, it’s a slogan of bygone days (during the activist stage of their life) or at the very most, it’s an intellectual talking point. Regardless, there is no real substance nor commitment to making this ideal a reality.
Furthermore, what does black unity really mean? I acknowledge it means different things to various people. For myself, there are some Black people I have no desire to “unite” with. In the words of Public Enemy: “a brothah ain’t a brothah just because of collah”… (I would add “sistah” too). The reason I have no desire to unite with certain Black people has nothing to do with their political ideology, or religion, or sexual orientation, or gender, or nationality, or “add in whatever”. It has everything to do with their character, sincerity of purpose and having the same goal (maybe different strategies) to empower people of African descent. I would much rather work to find common ground in an effort to unite with a Black conservative than with a White progressive. Working to unite with only Black people who believe as you do, whether politically, culturally or religiously, is neither work nor unity.
With all this in mind, I was not surprised by all the disparaging and demonizing comments leveled against the Black Republican speakers Arthur Davis and Mia Love, by some in the African-American community. I understand it’s all apart of the “Plantation” politics that the majority of African-Americans, who identify with the Democratic Party Plantation, are engaged in. However what I found troubling was some of the “mean spirited tone” of the attacks against Mia Love.
These two posts are examples of what I found utterly distasteful: “Women of color in a strange place” and “The questionable racial and ideological authenticity of Mia Love“.
Both articles stress the fact that Ms. Love parents were Haitian immigrants and one even falsely makes the point that she “represents the typical immigrant who came to America looking for a better life with her family”. The fact is that Mia Love was born and raised in the United States. However, by highlighting the nationality of her parents and by extension her heritage, both authors went on to use this fact to question her understanding, relating and empathizing with the so-called African-American experience. One went so far as to question her “racial authenticity”. Really!? This smacks of the “birther” arguments leveled against President Obama by the Republicans who question his American citizenship.
Both articles further makes the point that due to her Haitian heritage, Ms. Love has no understanding of the history of slavery that was faced by Blacks in America, and that the Black immigrant experience in America is so much different that the African-American experience:
“Ms. Love, in her mind, isn’t burdened by America’s sad history when it comes the blacks who were brought here under quite different conditions. So sadly she doesn’t even view herself as one of those American blacks.”
“The fact of the matter is that she is the only one of her generation in her family born and raised in these United States. As such, she doesn’t have a personal historical background as do the many black people living here descended from the slaves set free (on paper at least) by Abraham Lincolns’ Emancipation Proclamation a hundred and fifty years ago.”
The actual fact of the matter is whether you were born in Haiti, Jamaica or America and are of African descent, then we have this in common: we are all descendants of African slaves or servants of European colonialism. The actual fact of the matter is whether you fought for your freedom, granted your freedom or your freedom was proclaimed, today those of us of African descent worldwide have this in common, we are all under assault from White supremacy based capitalism and/or imperialism.
The actual fact of the matter is just because your parents were immigrants and you have a different political affiliation that most African-Americans, doesn’t make you any less “Black”.
Let me briefly discuss an aspect of the Black immigrant experience in the North America, whether in Amerikka or Kkkanada. Her politics aside, I can relate to Ms. Love in this respect. My parents came to Canada from Jamaica via England. I was born in England, spent some of my formative years in Jamaica, but I was primarily raised in Canada. My parents instilled these values in my sisters and I: take advantage of all opportunities available to you, but never depend on them to succeed. Regardless of whatever benefits government programs may provide or whatever obstacles society may put in your path, failure is not an option. Our success is dependent on the grace of God and on hard work.
Immigrants from the so-called “third world” have experienced that whatever programs their government provides to benefit the masses, they can be easily taken away by the next U.S. backed government or U.S. controlled international organizations such as the United Nations, World Bank and IMF. Therefore they are sckeptical of what they see as “government handouts”. They have also experienced that social capital, such as education and affordable health care, are not regarded as a “right” by the government in the country of their birth. You have to pay out of pocket to be well and for your children to get even the basic elementay education and most cannot afford either. Therefore, good health and education, especially having the opportunity to attend secondary school or college is the domain of the rich, the children of government officials… not the poor and certainly not the intelligent.
So most children of immigrants are shaped by this message: you better work hard, maximize your opportunities, depend on your own knowledge, skills, abilities, most importantly resourcefulness, to get and keep what you have. Don’t put your faith in anyone or anything other than your God. Focusing on blaming the “white man” for all our ills as a community or as an excuse for your personal failures will get us nowhere… just do it!
One of the authors referred to Ms. Love as the “top token negro” in the Republican Party at the present time… which may be true, just as Barack Obama was at one time seen as the “top token negro” of the Democratic Party during their 2004 convention. Just like the Republican convention last week, the Democrats during their convention this week will parade their plantation negroes to the nation and the world, to extol the glory of their party and their presidential candidate. They will however trump the Republican’s “top token negro” with their own: Bill Clinton… and then by their close second… Barack Obama.
When you get involved in politics, align yourself with a political party and put your views, policies and platform out there as to be assessed and voted on, then they’re fair game to be discussed, debated, criticized and even attacked vigorously. Plantation politics aside, these types of attacks on Mia Love, by other members of the African-American community is neither constructive nor do they move us as a people towards real unity. What they are… in the words of one of the authors… “it’s serious House Negro behavior.”
Op-ed submission by Project 21
Just a year ago, Americans were so eloquently sold on hope and change that came from a shiny, new black sedan of a limousine liberal. It turns out what they really wanted was something that came from the likes of Scott Brown’s old Chevy truck.
Once dazzled by the illusion of Barack Obama’s hope and change sloganeering, it took Americans a year to the day to make it clear they are through with liberal shenanigans and are taking matters into their own hands.
Republican Brown’s election in Massachusetts to the U.S. Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy for almost 50 years is a definitive rejection of the Obama agenda.
Yet there are liberals still defiantly invested in the folly of Obama’s now-tarnished vision of hope and change. If Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi stubbornly continue to push the President’s unpopular bill of goods despite the new math in Washington, they risk unleashing the full wrath of the American voter upon themselves and their colleagues this November.
Scott Brown’s victory is less about opponent Martha Coakley’s poor campaigning than an awakening to conservative values in the bluest of blue states. It’s a major step toward enacting true hope and change over the politicians’ desires. It’s something all parties and persuasions should take to heart.
Brown’s win in Massachusetts exhibits the mood of the rest of America. Unlike our global neighbors, Americans are no longer under the spell of bouffant speeches and bankrupt promises.
The jig is up for the Democrats, and Republicans would be wise to take note of conservative momentum of now.
For fear of appearing unrefined, racist or out of touch (or all of these things, if you watch MSNBC), Republicans have been resistant to embrace true conservative voices in their ranks: the southerner “hicks” so offensive and uncouth to the Georgetown elite; abortion opponents who fight for the right to life over the self-serving wisdom of Washington aristocrats; NRA members who know the last defense against tyranny is self-defense and those who may or may not believe in climate change but know cap-and-trade will devastate our economy.
Now is not the time to shy away from the pro-lifers. With confident compassion and humility, one can articulate that being against abortion is not about limiting a woman’s choice or ruining her life, but rather choosing love and the beauty of a woman’s ability to give it.
Now is the time to speak proudly about clinging to guns and religion, for both are critical in keeping our nation at peace and in freedom.
Now is the time to call a terrorist a terrorist, lest we all become faceless potential hijackers.
Spoken in earnest and with conviction, conservative values are the values most Americans trust.
For Republicans, Scott Brown’s victory should not make them overconfident. It is not enough to simply rest on the discontent and distrust for the current Washington culture. There is still much work to be done. While Brown is no Jesse Helms, any return to a platform that is diffuse and weak ramblings of conciliation will mean renewed defeat.
Brown’s win undoubtedly caught the Democrats’ attention. While a leopard cannot change its spots, expect at least some Democrats to try to alter their message to broaden their appeal. That’s what Bill Clinton did after his 1994, and it worked.
While liberals sulkily chalk Martha Coakley’s loss to bad campaigning, PMS bloat or some other null excuse to justify their continued push for this administration’s ill-fated agenda, conservatives must be ready to lead. Brown’s campaigning for reason on taxes, terrorism and health care is what the people in Massachusetts – and the rest of America – favors.
Lisa Fritsch is a member of the national advisory council for the Project 21 black leadership network and a writer and radio talk show host in Austin, Texas.
Yesterday was indeed a historic day. The first man of African descent to become the president of today’s most powerful nation on earth! Although I don’t live in America, even I was walking around the office today with my chest a little further out than normal, jeering my white collegues that it’s a “new day” and “go get me a coffee whitey!” lol! I noticed this morning as I watched the news, that my 14 month old son would stop and become mesmorised by clips of Obama during his victory speech. I can only hope that in years to come when he becomes politically and socially aware, the significance of this moment will be truly historical in that Obama was the first… and not the first and only Black president of the United States of America!
I spent time surfing the Afrosphere and read a number of commentaries on what others felt/thought of Obama’s victory. Let me share these articles from different perspectives which I found of interest:
- Two articles from the African Executive: Obama Presidency: What Africa Should Do and Why America Needs Barack Obama
- From Booker Rising: My Conservative Aunt: “Obama Has Bastardized Dr. King’s Dream”
- A letter from my sister Sonskystar: A Letter to Black Barack Obama Supporters
- Regular Brotha throws down with: Random thoughts on a Historic Moment!
- Serious satire and thought-provoking reality from Black Agenda Report with: Morning in Obamerica: Change, Chane Change? and The Obama ’08 Phenomenon: What Have We Learned?
I have found that most of the commentary on the pregnancy of Bristol Palin, the 17 year old, unmarried daughter of Republican V.P. nominee Sarah Palin to be… well in a word… “despicable”. Not only from their political opponents but also from their supporters. Using this issue to further political advantage, from both sides, shows that there are no boundaries sacred or respected in the quest of unbridled ambition… which is no surprise really. I give much props to Barack Obama and Joe Biden for quickly and clearly stating that as far as they are concerned family, and this issue in particular, is off-limits in their political campaign.
However in saying all this, the reactions on a cultural, religious and “racial” level, does reveal a certain dynamic which I do find enlightening… (but also not surprising). I want to share this excellent article from theROOT which I believe very succinctly lays out the issue from this perspective: “For the Bible Tells Me So…”
Five members of the Uhuru Movement disrupted a town hall meeting by Barack Obama in Petersburg, Florida on Friday. They held up a banner which read: “What about the Black community, Obama?”. As they chanted “What about the Black community?!”, Obama supporters chanted in response “Yes we can!” to drown them out. After some time order was restored and Obama carried on with his speech. During the question and answer period, one of the protesters was allowed to ask the Democratic presidential candidate about his lack of addressing issues important to the survival of the African-American community.
I had never heard of the Uhuru Movement before and as I watched the news footage, I noticed on their banner a web address (click here). I visited it and watched some of their videos on Barack Obama. I must admit I didn’t like that they uploaded a video of the protest on Friday and the question that was posed to Obama by one of their members, but not his answer. Nevertheless, I found the other videos thought-provoking in their analysis of the Barack Obama candidacy.
One of the main comment Obama, McCain and their respective supporters make to those who question or oppose their candidacy, is to state that you can vote or support someone else… meaning “the other” establishment candidate. They imply that you have only one of two choices: the devil you know or the devil you don’t know! However there are other choices. Two of the more well known ones, who have gotten little or no media coverage, are former Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, an African-American woman, who is the Green Party presidential candidate and independent Ralph Nader. I am sure there are other presidential candidates, who are running, either as independents or for a “fringe” political party, who also get no media time. Nevertheless, whether candidates are well known or not, or get a lot or no media attention, it is each voters responsibility to research and expand their field of options so they can make the best, informed choice of whom to support for President.
Sat-ire: (noun). Synonyms: Caricature, Parody, Irony.
- the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc;
- a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision or ridicule;
- a branch of literature consisting such works.
I can’t remember ever buying a copy of The New Yorker magazine. In the past, I believe I may have read an article or two in a bookstore. Last week during the frenzy surrounding this week’s cover featuring Barack and Michelle… after I had a good laugh… I decided to wait until the magazine came out and go through it myself before making any comment. I read and heard a lot of opinions against the cover before the magazine hit the stands. An opinion is good. An informed opinion is better. (Interestingly enough, I heard and read very little in support of what the artist of the cover, Barry Blitt… and the editors of the magazine were actually depicting: “the grotesque pack of lies about the Obamas”).
So yesterday I headed to Chapters bookstore and perused a copy. I went through it from cover to cover… twice… and decided I didn’t need to buy it. The only article in it which interested me I had already read online: “Making It: How Chicago Shaped Obama”. This somewhat scathing in-depth report by Ryan Lizza, documents Obama’s political maturation via the harsh political landscape of Chicago. It is more certainly damaging to his messianic image than the cover. I now understand how calculating of a chameleon… sorry, I mean magician… sorry, I mean politician he really is. I would bet my house that 99.9% of the people who were up in arms about the cover, who regurgitated some opinion on it… a satirical caricature of the false information and fantastical lies the so-called “right-wing” forces in America are spreading about Barack and Michelle… I would bet that they have not taken the time to look at a copy of this week’s magazine, much less read this article.
I read somewhere that the North American media: print, electronic and visual, are produced at a level to cater to those with a grade nine education. Now I don’t know if this is true or not, but most of the opinions that I read and heard in regards to The New Yorker cover, were juvenile to say the least. What I found interesting was that the commenters… all of whom would be considered intelligent men and women… certainly had more than a grade nine education. I would even venture to say much more. However, it seemed that their intelligence was conditioned to regress to a grade nine level, when it came to understanding the point the cover was making… through satire!
“Yeah Asa, but what about those rednecks or those who are not so sophisticated to understand the satire of this elitist magazine… who will get a glimpse of the cover and believe that Barack and Michelle are flag burning, fist bumping radicals?”
I say that I understand why in American society, this appears to be a legitimate concern. In a culture of ignorance, image is everything. In a culture of ignorance, impact supersedes intent. In a culture of ignorance, the working principle is “just tell me… better yet, show me… what I need to believe”. In a culture of ignorance, there is no time to delve deeper. In a culture of ignorance, there is no desire to analyze subtleties. In a culture of ignorance, there is no benefit in questioning what one is told to see as reality.
I say that someone has to be pretty ignorant to be influenced by a satirical image on a magazine cover to believe (or confirm) that Barack is an America-hating, Osama bin Ladin loving, Al Qaeda supporting Muslim… and Michelle is also an American hating, Angela Davis afro wearing, 60’s type Black Panther revolutionary. I also say that someone has to be just as ignorant to believe that the magazine was trying to use this satirical image to subconsciously plant in the American publics mind that Barack is an America-hating, Osama bin Ladin loving, Al Qaeda supporting Muslim… and Michelle is also an American-hating, Angela Davis afro wearing, 60’s type Black Panther revolutionary.
The real issue is that Obama has become a demi-god among his supporters and a large section of the media. It is to be understood that he is untouchable. The unwritten rule is that he is not to be the subject of negative, or what is perceived to be potentially negative, scrutiny, portrayals nor jokes! He has come to embody what we have come to associate with the stereotypical, tyrannical African (Black) leader with a cult-like personality. He has become Mugabe-esque. Those who oppose him are attacked by his militias of intelligentsia… who are not armed with machetes, clubs and bricks… but utilize their pens… (I guess “keyboards” would be a more appropriate depiction)… and other media images, to agitate the lowest denominator of their constituency’s intelligence, to deem that any opposition is based on racists and right-wing reactionary agendas. If you are Black, then you are demonized and refered to as one or a combination of the following: a CIA trained operative/agitator, a Republican, an Uncle Tom, an Aunt Jemima, a House Negro or Negress, a traitor to the race with a “crab in a barrel mentality”. The tactics of the so-called “progressive” left to stifle any opposition appear to be very similar to the tactics employed by the so-called “reactionary” right. Melvin Bray has written an interesting piece, highlighting that democracy is well served by the freedom to satirize it’s leaders: “Another Look at The New Yorker’s Obama Cartoon”.
The overall result of this controversy has been to Obama’s advantage. The majority of people, particularly his supporters and potential supporters, will boycott the magazine and will therefore miss the enlightening article by Ryan Lizza. The illusion of Obama’s image, as an agent of “change” politics, will remain intact. (Interestingly, Mr. Lizza was banned from the press corps accompanying Obama on his current tour of the Middle East).
An intelligent response to the controversy by Hendrik Hertzberg, senior editor of the New Yorker: “Take Cover”.
It’s interesting that I have been reading various commentaries and heard a number of commentators on television state that although they are fed up with the American political system, the hypocrisy of the “Rethuglicans” and the “Dumbocrats”, they will vote for Barack Obama because among the establishment candidates, he is the best choice. They cannot vote for McCain because he has become too close to Bush lately and seems to have adopted a number of his policies. They cannot vote for Hillary because, although she is a woman, she represents the presumed privilege and entitlement of the “old guard”… plus she has been playing on the fear associated with the “race” issue, in her effort to secure the Democratic presidential nomination.
While Obama, although he is more style than substance, more rhetoric than depth, and has unashamedly made the political choice to keep his association with the Black community at arms length and has bent over backwards to project “white” American values, he is however seen as a “fresh” face… a change that America needs! Plus for many, both Black and “white”, his election to the Presidency of the United States… the first “Black” president… would be historical… and they all want consciously or subconsciously… to be a part of this historical event!
It is not surprising to me why “white” liberals America loves this guy… but for those who really want a change, or at least throw their support behind the potential for a real change from the norm… especially among the Black community… I would have thought that former Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, an African-American woman, would at least be given some consideration. In December 2007 she announced that she was seeking the presidential nomination for the Green Party of the United States. She has brought this message to the electorate:
“For far too long Black America has been at the mercy of political pimps and usurpers, particularly of the Democratic Party. It is now the year 2008, and we in Black America, in conjunction with our Brown, Red, Yellow, and White sisters and brothers have a genuine and serious choice in order to build a true people’s movement for real systemic change through the “Power to the People” campaign….”
Mckinney has been a constant thorn in the political establishments’ side since being first elected to the Congress in 1992… to the point where it is believed that the Democratic Party itself worked against her 2006 primary re-election. Interestingly when asked about her views on Obama she stated: “We have to be careful with the black people who are put before us by the media.”
It is understandable why the establishment controlled mainstream media has ignored her candidacy. It is understandable why she has received no support from the “white” liberal establishment. And yes, it is also understandable why she has garnered no support from the Black community! I have not seen, heard or read anything in support for her from the African-American community, especially from the so-called Black progressive blogging community. All the buzz, all the focus, has been on Obama and Clinton! Why is that? Why do I say it’s understandable that McKinney has received no support or consideration from her own community?
Last Sunday I was watching Meet The Press and during a discussion on the Obama and Clinton campaign, it was re-iterated that the majority of Black people only started supporting Obama once he won the Iowa caucus on January 3rd, 2008. Analyzing Obama’s blowout win in South Carolina, they showed that polls in July 2007 had Clinton with 53% of the African-American support to Obama’s 33% in South Carolina. After Iowa, he carried the Black vote 78% to her 19% for his win in the South Carolina primary! His support among the African-American community surged once it became evident that enough “white” liberals and “white” independents were willing to vote for him… and he therefore had a chance to win (at least) the Democratic presidential nomination. Once again… politically… Black America was taking it’s cue from the “white” liberal establishment! In a previous post I made this comment: “There is one thing that the Democratic establishment knows they can depend on: the reaction of African-American community… they know their “negroes”… they have been studied, researched and most importantly conditioned by the Party.”
So there are certainly other choices and candidates for President, that those who are really searching for a “change” can support. No… they are not the establishment candidates and therefore are not likely to win. Another candidate for serious consideration should be Ralph Nader. McKinney (and Nader) do sincerely have the interests of ordinary people, including the Black community, at their core… more so than McCain, Clinton and certainly Obama. They do represent platforms for “real” change and not the “business as usual” mantra. So if the African-American community (at the very least) supported enmass Cynthia McKinney for President… an African-American woman running for a Party other than the two establishment Parties, this would be a true historic event… regardless if she wins or not!
Nevertheless, taking the initiative to research and expand your field of options so you can make the best, informed choice of whom to support for President is important. Voting according to your principles, instead of limiting yourself to the establishment candidates or just “jumping on the Obama bandwagon” in the hopes of having a “black” face in the White House, should be the primary objective to making sure one’s vote count for something.