Wednesday, September 05, 2007

all good things must come to an end...

Well if you haven't figured it out, I'm not Black at Michigan anymore. I will probably not post much over here, but will leave it as an archive or monument to one of my feats of graduate school procrastination. I'm continuing my blog thing over at DumiSays. Click there to see my latest.

Thanks for the love Glove.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My new favorite video...

As you can tell, I'm kinda in a visual mode these days. I wanted to share this video because it's my favorite since NYOIL's - Ya'll should all get lynched. By the way, cop Hood Treason, its a good album.

I got forwarded this video.

Read A Book

I couldn't agree more. While listening and watching this video I was reminded of the ways in which nigga can still be used in critical discourse. I say this because recently in a move to make themselves even less relevant to the average Black American the NAACP buried the N word. I really intended on making the funeral, especially since I missed the N word's christianing. Aight, enough jokes, I do think it is a big symbolic gesture, I'll be watching for the next steps taken.

And while we're talking about stuff getting buried... I'm wondering what BET's hot ghetto mess is going to look like. It's already losing advertisers. I'm of two minds on this one, either it's great and ignant advertisers won't want it on or it's god awful and even folks who advertise on BET can't stomach it. I guess time will tell.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Maybe I shouldn't be eating at Wendy's anymore...

but wait there's more...

Verdict: Wendy's you are not Hip-Hop.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Because the more things change...

the more they stay the same. If you can, take some time to reflect upon the progress and loses we've had over this past year. Think about what freedom has been, is, and could be.

What to the slave is the Fourth of July? by Frederick Douglass 1852

FELLOW CITIZENS, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and natural justice, embodies in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? And am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation’s sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the "lame man leap as an hart."

But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me.

This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?

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FELLOW CITIZENS, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions!--whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, today, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, "may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!" To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world.

My subject, then, fellow citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave’s point of view. Standing there, identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July!

Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the Constitution and Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery--the great sin and shame of America!

"I will not equivocate; I will not excuse"; I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgement is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just.

But I fancy I hear some of my audience say, it is just in this circumstance that you and your brother abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Would you argue more, and denounce less, would you persuade more, and rebuke less, your cause would be much more likely to succeed.

But, I submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. What point in the anti-slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man? That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it. The slaveholders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government. They acknowledge it when they punish disobedience on the part of the slave. There are 72 crimes in the state of Virginia, which, if committed by a black man (no matter how ignorant he be), subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of the same crimes will subject a white man to the like punishment.

What is this but the acknowledgment that the slave is a moral, intellectual and responsible being? The manhood of the slave is conceded. It is admitted in the fact that Southern statute books are covered with enactments forbidding, under severe fines and penalties, the teaching of the slave to read or to write.

When you can point to any such laws, in reference to the beasts of the field, then I may consent to argue the manhood of the slave. When the dogs in your streets, when the fowls of the air, when the cattle on your hills, when the fish of the sea, and the reptiles that crawl, shall be unable to distinguish the slave from a brute, then will I argue with you that the slave is a man!

For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not astonishing that, while we are plowing, planting, and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver and gold; that, while we are reading, writing and ciphering, acting as clerks, merchants and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators and teachers; that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and cattle on the hillside, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives and children, and, above all, confessing and worshipping the Christian’s God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men!

Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? That he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery?…To do so, would be to make myself ridiculous, and to offer an insult to your understanding. There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven who does not know that slavery is wrong for him.

What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employments for my time and strength than such arguments would imply.

What, then, remains to be argued? Is it that slavery is not divine; that God did not establish it; that our doctors of divinity are mistaken? There is blasphemy in the thought. That which is inhuman cannot be divine! Who can reason on such a proposition? They that can, may; I cannot. The time for such argument is passed.

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. Oh! Had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would today pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.

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WHAT TO the American slave is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy--a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.

Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.

Fellow citizens, the murderous traffic [the slave trade] is today in active operation in this boasted republic. In the solitude of my spirit, I see clouds of dust raised on the highways of the South; I see the bleeding footsteps; I hear the doleful wail of fettered humanity, on the way to the slave markets, where the victims are to be sold like horses, sheep, and swine, knocked off to the highest bidder. There I see the tenderest ties ruthlessly broken, to gratify the lust, caprice and rapacity of the buyers and sellers of men. My soul sickens at the sight.

Fellow citizens! The existence of slavery in this country brands your republicanism as a sham, your humanity as a base pretence, and your Christianity as a lie. It destroys your moral power abroad; it corrupts your politicians at home. It saps the foundation of religion; it makes your name a hissing, and a byword to a mocking earth. It is the antagonistic force in your government, the only thing that seriously disturbs and endangers your Union. It fetters your progress; it is the enemy of improvement, the deadly foe of education; it fosters pride; it breeds insolence; it promotes vice; it shelters crime; it is a curse to the earth that supports it; and yet, you cling to it, as if it were the sheet anchor of all your hopes.

Oh be warned! Be warned! A horrible reptile is coiled up in your nation’s bosom; the venomous creature is nursing at the tender breast of your youthful republic; for the love of God, tear away, and fling from you the hideous monster, and let the weight of twenty millions crush and destroy it forever!

Friday, June 22, 2007

It's always better when it's free

So for the past couple of weeks I've really been thinking about my music consumption and how I seldom buy albums these days. I'll be real, I tend to "come up" on major industry stuff and just buy the underground or local stuff. Well today I thought I'd share with you a free, that's right, no cost, no emails from the RIAA, no bit-torrent necessary, mixtape so you have something to ride with this weekend. Follow the link for a tasty audio treat, enjoy!
Facechanger Mixtape

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Let me ask you...

1) Am I the only one who gets offended when you here someone say Akon or Swizz Beatz is a rapper?

2) How come the more people who become interested in running for president, the less interested I become in the race?

3) Why are the people who know the least about religion/spirituality the first to proselytize?

4) Why does my defense date keep getting pushed back further than Montel Williams' hairline?

5) What would you do if your daughter acted like one of those little girls on My Super Sweet 16?

6) When was the last time you heard "be still" and listened?

7) Who told KRS he was the only one who determined the truth about Hip-Hop?

8) When was the last time you did something out of the kindness of your heart?

9) What if you went to prison for consensual oral sex?

Please take the time today to write, call, fax, and mail (do all of these!) your protests to Attorney General Baker’s and DA McDade’s offices. Make it clear that we will not sit idly as an injustice continues!

Thurbert E. Baker
Attorney General
Phone: 404-656-3300
FAX: 404-657-8733

David McDade
8700 Hospital Drive
Main Floor, Douglas County Courthouse
Douglasville, Georgia 30134
Fax: 770-920-7123

10) It's a week later, you still haven't written or called, why?

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Last N***a Left

About 2 months ago I was babbling on the phone about baseball to my boy and he said, "You know what, you have got to be the last black man left who cares about baseball." He made this comment in jest, really just to shut me up from inconsquential spewing about the Mets, but his point was pretty profound. As the MLB celebrates Jackie Robinson's breaking in, we're watching the role of African-Americans, pardon the pun, fade to Black. I've seen a couple of stories about this run on ESPN, I remember one particular segment on HBCUs and baseball that caught me off guard, since the team was predominantly Latino, rather than African-American. At the core of this transition are really the boundaries of race and ethnicity. For most folks in the United States, in common terms, there is Black and there is Latino. While we can acknowledge there are Black or Afro Latinos, seldom do we fully grapple with that dualness and what it means for race and race relations. This debate recently got resparked by the Tigers Gary Sheffield.
In the June GQ he said... well, I'll just excerpt from the article,
The percentage of African-American players in Major League Baseball has declined percipitously over the past three decades, from 27 percent in 1975 to 8.4 percent last year. Over the same period, the proportion of Latin Americans in the game has increased from 11 percent to 24 percent. "I called it years ago," says Sheffield. "What I called is that you're going to see more black faces, but there ain't no English going to be coming out."
Sheffield then unspools a curious theory about the trend in the game. It's about "being able to tell [Latin players] what to do," he says. "Being able to control them. Where I'm from, you can't control us. You mugh tget a guy to do it that way for a while because he wants to benefit, but in the end he is going to go back to being who he is. And that's a person that your'e going to talk to with respect, you're going to talk to him like a man. These are things my race demands. So if you're equally good as this Latin Player, guess who's going to get sent home? I know a lot of players that are home now can outplay a lot of these guys.

So when I read this in the magazine, I found it an interesting quote and kept reading. Didn't shake me to the core, didn't cause me to run to to post (let's be honest few things cause me to run and post these days, but you know what I mean). I actually said to myself, "interesting." This is far from the reaction that others have had. ESPN decided to get some opinions from Latinos, I wonder how they picked who they interviewed. Lester Spence gives a really good analysis that talks about Black folks and sporting preferences (though Lord knows I loathe the word preferences, probably from all this affirmative action talk over the years)and the number of Black baseball players. But for me, the thing that is serious here is the color-line and particularly as it is interpretted in a post-colonial global sense. Translation: Who is Black, and where are they from?
Recently, I had a conversation with a dear friend who has been spending some time in Miami. She said to me, about a Cuban man she met, "If you were walking down the street, you would have thought he was Black. You know, not Cuban." I paused and responded, "You mean, you would have thought he was African-American, you mean, right?" As I finished my comment/question she said, "Yeah, I guess." It was at that moment that I was reminded again, even the most well-read and educated and arguably open folks, have trouble rectifying who is Black and what the boundaries between race and ethncity are.
Whether it's Debra Dickerson making assanine comments about Obama not being Black or my friends telling me Black folks from Latin America are "not really Black." We see Black all too often acts as a synonym for African-American. To some this is a symantic distinction, but I think it is really important. Now my point in bringing this up is not to create a "race-war" (mind you there can't be a race war over this, we're not talking about race) but to just make you think about who consitutes authentically Black folks?
Now for a long time I've subscribed to the "cousins theory" of the African/Black diaspora. This is my colloquial name for the theory that basically goes, "Well, we're all cousins, the boat (slave ship) just dropped us off in different places." Usually this gets some chuckles, but it makes sense. The global struggle of people of African descent in the Carribean and other locales is, in many ways, akin to that of people of African decent in the United States. Now we can catalog the differences in slavery and colonial subjecthood, but that's a much larger project with little meaning to my argument... oh that's right, I should be making an argument.
Sheffield basically brought the point front and center that in America, folks who look like you, may not be you. For him, and many others, the social spaces that are occupied by AfroLatinos today may have been occupied by African-Americans before. For me, I realize that I may not be like a lot of my friends who cringe at such a transition. Come to think of it, it may have been in part because of my socialization into Black Latino folks via growing up in New Haven or watching so much baseball. I'll never forget seeing a "George Bell" card from Topps that said "Jorge Bell" I immediately grabbed it thinking it was an "error card", it was an error, but the error was my own. I'll be honest, it's only recently that I started to realize how many Black athletes that I'd pronounced in the most Anglosized ways were AfroLatinos, not African-Americans. Sheffield's comments really crystallized this phenomenon and others have commented very well on the colonial relationship between MLB and Latin America, so I won't take that on. But Sheff's comments should serve to facilitate another level of discussion around culture, identity, and representation in the global Black community. For many, these tensions become talked about in a zero-sum manner. Translation: If you (Afrolatinos) get something, we (African-Americans) lose something. But that is way too simplistic. For some, this is a question of coalition building. Translation: Can't we all just get along. That too is too simplistic. The real question is: Am I the last African-American male who still watches baseball? ;)