A few months ago I spoke out in support of Black high school students that read an announcement about the Black Panthers during Black History Month. A group of misinformed parents have objected to the reading of the announcement, and I pointed out some of the falsehoods and inconsistencies in their position. For example, many of these detractors claim that the Black Panthers were racist or anti-White.
The Black Panthers were not racist, and in fact, they looked for numerous opportunities to build cross-racial solidarity (h/t Walidah Imarisha). Here are the Black Panthers collaborating with the Young Patriots, a Southern White working class group known to sport Confederate Flags, in a meeting facilitated by Black Panther and future U.S. Congressman Bobby Rush.
At one point in the video, Rush says, “The thing we got to deal with is the concept of poverty. We gotta erase the color thing.”
I said I would write a follow-up post to my initial article, so Django Unchained being released on DVD next week gave me an opportunity to return to the topic.
First, the word nigger is the least interesting racial aspect of Django Unchained, so I’m not going to spend any time writing about that issue. As I said in an earlier post, Django has almost nothing to do with slavery. So, I want to focus on what this film tells us about race in contemporary America. Although there is a lot we can discuss, I specifically want to explore what the film tells us about White redemption, Black invisibility, and this culture’s peculiar obsession with Black penises.
The intern’s obscurity and uncertainty characterize a labor force that has grown more contingent, relying on part-time, unstable, and insecure work. Interns will work for months without pay, benefits, or basic workplace protection. It’s not unheard of for students with advanced degrees to take on internships, and, on the opposite end of the educational spectrum, for companies to characterize their workers as interns in order to not to compensate them. Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics maker, took on fourteen-year-old students as “interns” to build the iPhone 5. The explosion of internships, however, is not just a question of changing economic circumstance. In their submissiveness and tractability, their willingness to perform work for free, interns also illustrate the flexibility and obedience demanded by contingency.
Similar Post from the New Left Project in England, which shows that this type of work is a global trend.
5 Must-Read Articles (2/26): UK Still Profits from Slavery, Argo as Propoganda, Kendrick Lamar, Africom & More
The British government paid out £20m to compensate some 3,000 families that owned slaves for the loss of their “property” when slave-ownership was abolished in Britain’s colonies in 1833. This figure represented a staggering 40 per cent of the Treasury’s annual spending budget and, in today’s terms, calculated as wage values, equates to around £16.5bn…. As a result, there are now wealthy families all around the UK still indirectly enjoying the proceeds of slavery where it has been passed on to them. Dr Draper said: “There was a feeding frenzy around the compensation.” A John Austin, for instance, owned 415 slaves, and got compensation of £20,511, a sum worth nearly £17m today. And there were many who received far more.
As many know, Kimani Gray was murdered in Flatbush by plainclothes NYPD officers on March 9th 2013. With conflicting accounts and no video evidence at this point, the specific circumstances surrounding Kimani Gray’s murder may never be known.
Almost everything else about that night is shrouded in uncertainty, a sort of Brooklyn Rashomon of contesting accounts: The police shot Gray, after repeatedly telling him to freeze, as he pointed a gun at them—a mean-looking Rohm Industries .38-caliber revolver, later recovered with four bullets in it. That’s the police version, repeated as fact by the New York Post and New York Times. Or there’s the version of witnesses: There never was a gun; Gray was running for his life when he was shot in the back; he was backing up, with his hands down in an unthreatening gesture; the police never told him to freeze; shot and bleeding out on the sidewalk, he pleaded with the police not to kill him. “Everyone Wants a Piece of Kimani Gray”, Nick Pinto & Ryan Devereaux, The Village Voice
Personally, I’m proud of the homies that participated in the announcement, and I would like them to know that they are not alone and that their courage did not go unnoticed nor unappreciated. Thank you. After the recent controversy, I submitted a letter to the local newspaper and my Mother went to the school board meeting and entered it on the record. An edited version appeared in the Woodbury Bulletin, here it is in its entirety:
It’s Not Sports Culture, It’s Rape Culture: Comparing CNN’s Coverage of Tony Farmer and Steubenville
Tony Farmer was a star basketball player from Ohio. In 2012 he became famous for fainting in court as the judge read his prison sentence for beating and abusing his girlfriend (footage of attack here).
Farmer’s reaction to his sentence had a humanizing affect on the public’s perception of him. CNN’s coverage wanted to push back against public sentiment, so the anchor showed the video of the beating, and concluded by saying “Do you feel sorry for him now”.
Juxtapose CNN’s coverage during the Farmer case to the the network’s reaction to the Steubenville rape case where they very clearly sympathized with the rapists. Mia McKenzie of Black Girl Dangerous offers a good summary of CNN’s reaction (in addition to a brilliant deconstruction of the prison industrial complex).
5 Must-Read Articles of the Week: Jon Stewart Exposed, Kenya’s First-Ever Presidential Debate, “Education Reform” Debunked & More
A few of my friends have asked me to recommend the alternative news sources that I use to stay informed. So, each week I will compile a list of 5 critical articles that provide unique insight and go beyond the headlines.
1) The Joke’s on You, by Steve Almond
“Our lazy embrace of Stewart and Colbert is a testament to our own impoverished comic standards. We have come to accept coy mockery as genuine subversion and snarky mimesis as originality. It would be more accurate to describe our golden age of political comedy as the peak output of a lucrative corporate plantation whose chief export is a cheap and powerful opiate for progressive angst and rage.”
2) “Mr. President, Stop Throwing Black People Under the Bus”, by Brittney Cooper
Before I begin, I would like to say that the only difference between Christopher Dorner and the Beloved and Respected Comrade Barack Obama is that Obama has the government’s authority to kill according to his personal whims. Let’s set aside the violence, the police, and the spectacle in order to take a moment to consider what underlying truths that Dorner’s demise can tell us about marginalization in a so-called post-oppression United States.
Written by Sankofa
For years I’ve dreaded answering my mother’s calls because I feared that she would tell me that one of my brothers had been shot. My nightmare became reality twice in the past five months. First, my youngest brother was shot in one of his legs right around the corner from our apartment in a poverty riddled neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. As my brother limped his way to our apartment, he thought he had escaped his shooter. Little did he know, the gunman was already at our apartment complex. As my youngest brother came closer, the shooter emerged from the entrance of building, aimed his gun, and stood ready to shoot again. My mother heard the original gun shot and stuck her head out the window when she saw the shooter aiming his gun at my youngest brother. Pleading with the shooter, my mother said “Please baby, don’t do it. Don’t do it.” She never announced her relationship to my youngest brother out of fear that it might further aggravate the situation. After hearing her pleas, the shooter stepped away, and my brother lived. He’s only 17.